By Wolfgang Gerlach
An eternally complicated query of the 20th century is how “decent” humans got here to permit, and infrequently even perform, the ultimate answer. worry evidently had its position, as did apathy. yet how does one clarify the silence of these those who have been devoted, energetic, and sometimes fearless competitors of the Nazi regime on different grounds—those who spoke out opposed to Nazi actions in lots of components but whose reaction to genocide ranged from tepid disquiet to avoidance? One such staff was once the Confessing Church, Protestants who frequently risked their very own protection to assist Christian sufferers of Nazi oppression yet whose reaction to pogroms opposed to Jews was once ambivalent.
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Additional info for And the witnesses were silent: the Confessing Church and the persecution of the Jews
But he did not believe that the church already stood at that point where action was required. ’’∞∂ In addition to sending his telegram to Geneva, Bonhoeffer worked with Martin Niemöller on a new declaration. After collecting other signatures, they sent the statement to Bodelschwingh for further distribution: 1. According to the confession of our church, the church’s teachers are bound only by the rules governing vocations. The Aryan paragraph of 32 Gutachten and Synodal Resolutions the new church civil service statute creates a law that contradicts this fundamental confessional principle.
To Bonhoeffer’s great regret, the Confessing Church would conﬁne its concern to the plight of the latter. Because of the salvation-historical and missionary aspects of Christian attitudes toward the Jews, Bonhoeffer believed this was a status confessionis: ‘‘The conversion of Israel: that is to be the end of the period of suffering for this people. From here the Christian church sees the history of the people of Israel with trembling as God’s own, free, fearful way with His people. The church knows that no nation in the world can be ﬁnished with this mysterious people, because God is not yet ﬁnished with it.
Karl Barth answered immediately by return post. To Bonhoeffer’s surprise, he too advised waiting. In principle, Barth did not rule out the necessity of leaving the church, but not yet! They could leave the sinking ship only as the ‘‘last ones . . that may only be ultima ratio for us. . Perhaps the unholy doctrine that now governs the church must unfold ﬁrst in other, even worse deviations and falsiﬁcations. . ’’∞∞ Karl Barth hardly lacked the courage to protest where it seemed necessary; but even he did not yet see the signiﬁcance of the Aryan paragraph for non-Aryan Christians, and thereby for the church, the Confessing Church and its great confessions that he helped formulate.