What would Dietrich do?

What would Dietrich do? October 22, 2016

Yesterday I shared with you the dilemma which InterVarsity Press (IVP) now finds itself in.  The world’s biggest gathering of religion scholars (SBL, linked to the AAR) is threatening to ban IVP from its 2017 meeting because IVP publishes books that support historic Christian views of marriage.

I asked Paul House, author of Bonhoeffer’s Seminary Visionwhat he thinks Bonhoeffer would advise in this situation.

Here is his response:

“First, he would not be afraid to leave the organization for principle’s sake.  The Confessing Church determined it had to take a stand.  Though the Confessing Church was a movement for most people, Bonhoeffer never saw it that way.  He saw it as the church acting on the basis of confession and discipline.  He would not hesitate to step away from SBL if he thought they oppressed his people.

“Second, Bonhoeffer learned that the Confessing Church should have stood up for Jews before they (and he) did.  I suspect he would want to find a way to stand with oppressed persons whether or not they were part of his church.  Thus, I think he would want to see if it were possible to stand up for IVP, conservative Jews, conservative Catholics, conservative Muslims at SBL, as well as standing against squelching gay people at SBL.  Then the church could not be accused of only trying to help out its own people while claiming to stand for truth.  I think he thought our stands for the truth have more integrity when they are anchored in active love.  At least people who disagree with us know we do not hate them, or should know that.

“He was willing to exclude German Christians from the church, but did not wish them jailed or coerced in some manner.  He wanted space for confession.  So I suspect he would oppose kicking people out of a professional society setting in the name of diversity.  He might also tell us that we just think we have difficult situations!”

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