The Bonhoeffer Phenomenon/Bonhoeffer as Martyr

How should we refer to Dietrich Bonhoeffer? As a saint? A martyr? Protestant churches lack any official apparatus for designating one person “saintly” as opposed to the entire body of believers. Paul calls everyone in his churches “saints,” and Protestants dare speak no differently. As for martyrdom, Bonhoeffer was not executed for any overt religious reason. He was hanged for high treason, having taken part in the plot to assassinate Hitler. So the two titles have twin obstacles for us: we have no means to weigh someone’s merits or demerits, and even if we did, Bonhoeffer would likely fall short.

 

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