78 Years Ago Today

January 30, 1933, Adolph Hitler became the chancellor of Germany. Two days later a young German Theologian named Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave a radio address titled “The Younger Generation’s Altered Concept of Leadership.” Bonhoeffer, only 26 years old, noted that the younger generation, after the disastrous defeat of Germany in World War I, had “lost all confidence in the traditional authority of the kaiser and the church.” According to the young Theologian, a “profoundly misguided concept of leadership” emerged in their “search for meaning”, a concept focused on the idea that Germany could be restored to it’s greatness through the concept of ‘The Leader”. It was called the “Fuhrer” principle, a concept that Hitler rode to power and which led to “the horrors” of the Nazi death camps. a view that to Bonhoeffer was based on “fundmental philosophical errors.” To Bonhoeffer, “real leadership derived its authority from God, the source of all goodness.” “The authority of the Fuhrer, which Hitler insisted he be called, was submitted to nothing. It was self derived and autocratic, and therefore had a messianic aspect.”

America and America’s youth, observing our waning stature in the world, our military setbacks, sobering economic losses, foolish government policies, and a seemingly irrelevant Church, made the same mistake when they listened to the rhetoric and promises of Barack Obama in 2008. All authority is indeed derived from God and those who ignore that fact, inside the church and without, will invariably pay a price they now fail to comprehend.

David Crowe

Quotes from Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas