Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bonhoeffer responds to the HHS mandate

From his essay "The Visible Community":

The limits and claims of the secular calling are fixed by our membership of the visible Church of Christ, and these limits are reached when the space which the body of Christ claims and occupies in the world for its worship, its offices and the civic life of its members clashes with the world's claim for space for its own activities. 

We shall at once know when the limit has been reached, for every member of the Church will then be obliged to make a public confession of Christ, and the world will be forced to react, either by calculated restraint or open violence. Now the Christian must suffer openly. Hitherto, since the day he had died with Christ in baptism, his suffering had been in secret. Now he is openly ejected from the secular calling and enters upon a visible participation in the passion of his Lord. Now he needs more than ever all the fellowship and brotherly help the Church can give. ... 
The older the world grows, the more heated becomes the conflict between Christ and Antichrist, and the more thorough the efforts of the world to get rid of the Christians. 

Until now the world had always granted them a lodging-place, by allowing them to work for their own food and clothing. But a world that has become 100% anti-Christian cannot allow them even this private sphere of work for their daily bread. The Christians are now forced to deny their Lord for every crumb of bread they need. Either they must flee from the world, or go to prison; there is no other alternative. 

When the Christian community has been deprived of its last bit of space on the earth, the end will be near.

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