Lessons on Tyranny from a Valkyrie Conspirator


Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor who refused to go along with the Nazi program during the WW2 era. He led a group of like-minded ministers in forming an alliance known as the Confessing Church movement, which was dedicated to standing in defiance and separation from the national churches of Germany. Those churches had capitulated and compromised with Hitler’s agenda. He was also later involved in the famous Valkyrie plot to assassinate Hitler. Of course, this attempt failed. Bonhoeffer was eventually hanged for his part in the scheme.

Let me recommend a new biography to you. It has been a tremendous source of challenge, affirmation, and encouragement to me as I’ve wrestled with what it means to be an under-shepherd in service to the flock of God, in the face of increasing tyranny and despotism from our own government. The book is Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. (Paperback version here and Kindle version here.)

In addition to being a fine biography of a great man of faith, it is also an eye-opening first-hand account (through Bonhoeffer’s own writings at the time) of the German history of the period, and the rise of Hitler and his Naziism. I won’t spoil it for you, but the parallels between what was going on then and what is happening day by day in our own country are chilling.

What I want to focus on here is a simple three-part outline that Bonhoeffer came up with, concerning our duties as Christian patriots in the face of government-gone-mad. Imagine the government of the United States as an ancient war chariot, being furiously driven across our land. Here are Bonhoeffer’s three rights and duties of Christians in the face of that chariot.

First, Christians have the right and the duty to question the chariot driver about the direction he’s taking and how he’s driving. Modern churchy folks sometimes talk about “speaking truth to power.” That’s kind of what he was getting at. The church as a whole, and Christians individually, have a right and a duty to stand in the face of overwhelming public opinion and supposed “authority,” and to raise their Bibles and say, “You are wrong. You need to repent, change your direction, turn around. The word of the Lord tells me so.”

Secondly, they have a duty to come to the aid of those innocents who are being crushed under the wheels of that lunatic chariot. In Bonhoeffer’s day, that meant the Jews and converted Jewish Christians who were being systematically kicked out of their jobs and professional associations. They would be physically hunted later. In our day, it surely must mean the multitudes of victims of abortion, as well as (under Obamacare) those like Hobby Lobby who are being treated to some legal thumb-screws on account of their religious convictions.

Bonhoeffer’s third right/duty of Christians is the one that got him in trouble.  He had the audacity to act on his beliefs. Imagine that. That is, he was convinced that if our mad chariot keeps destroying its own people, at some point it becomes the duty of Christian citizens to spike the wheels of that chariot. This is, of course, the concept that led to him taking his final breath at the end of a rope.

To many American evangelicals, that idea (spiking the chariot wheels) sounds radical, dangerous and even unchristian. In fact, a family drove an hour and a half last Sunday to visit our little church, and the reason was they had finally had it “up to here” with their own big-church pastor telling them that Scripture forbids them from even criticizing the current administration. They knew in their bones that couldn’t be right. They were thrilled to find a preacher of a different spirit nearby.

Centuries ago, one of the great minds of Christian history, Thomas Aquinas, wrote this:

“A tyrannical rule cannot in any reasonable construction be accounted lawful, and therefore the disturbance of such a government cannot be esteemed seditious, much less traitorous.”

But now we have hordes of pastors with soul patches and skinny jeans who resolutely refuse to go where men like Bonhoeffer and Aquinas ventured. I for one do not think that either Christianity or America is better off for those hipster hordes. They misuse Romans 13:1-7 to  justify themselves, and to baptize you into their own apathy toward liberty. And let me stress this: It is a gross misuse, a craven mishandling, and they will give an account for it.

Arm yourself against them. Arm your family and your friends and your church members against them. As an aid to your patriotic vigilance, check out the Kindle book, Resistance to Tyrants: Romans 13 and the Christian Duty to Oppose Wicked Rulers.

Let me end this with one of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's most challenging quotes. Modern Evanjellyfish need to take heed.

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

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  • hollygreen9

    Just remember people, it is your constitutional DUTY to do what is needed in these times of eroding freedom. This is why our country has the second amendment.

    • har82

      No - true - American patriot could believe otherwise .

  • av

    The problem with this article and it's intention is that the vast majority of America has no idea of the real and true history. The school system has systematically re-invented history and educated several generations with it. This is not by mistake. There is something wrong when a school history book has 20 pages on the fight for gay rights and one paragraph dedicated to Thomas Jefferson...

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Douglas-Parritt/100000660032813 Douglas Parritt

    could be time to start complaining to the propaganda machine every day until the get it, I talk with people daily who had no ideas because they are lulled into complacency by the propaganda message of the MSM.

    • har82

      Those who - have no idea - of the liberties they are losing , have already lost ,,, them.

  • http://fanon.clubpenguinwiki.info/ TurtleShroom

    Romans Thirteen in a nutshell is "Except if the government commands you by law or coercion to defy God, you are to submit to its rule and law unconditionally."

    The key is what the government makes us do to God. The current regime is forcing us to violate what the Bible says is good and right in God's eyes. They want us to fund abortificants and contraceptives and subsidiZe promiscuity like a brothel.

    Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar and unto God was is God.
    When Ceasar demands what is God's?", Romans Thirteen is supplanted by the actions of those like the Apostle Paul and the Disciple Peter.

    We are supposed to submit to all law and requirements of the state, UNLESS THE STATE FORCES US TO DEFY GOD.
    Is the curren lt regime demanding us to render to Ceasar what is God's?

    If so, you are winning if you aren't dissenting from the state's coercion into sin!

  • agbjr

    The showdown is coming between Obama and the Church ... my money is on the Church.

    "In the end it is between you and God."
    Blessed Mother Theresa

  • Jack

    I think in the last batman got one thing right .When the catwoman says "There is a storm coming".Now the thing they did is the main bad guy is going to our leader we just voted in.It will not be just a criminal that will attack us citizens .It will be our goverment that does .I do think this president is the anti-christ he is . I just hope when this civl war happens .It will be us the good people who love this country and have guns. The other side is our communist goverment , homeland security ad the arrogant rich bankers. I do think that god will come and help us out to win this fight. But it will be coming soon

  • Georgiagirl64

    Our churches could be a force for good in this country. Sadly, they are not. Political correctness and spinelessness are almost universal in our churches. I'm a religious person and a strong believer, but sadly, no longer a churchgoer. I miss it very much, but cannot sit and listen to anyone who will not stand up to government tyranny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.sanders.560 Aaron Sanders

    As to what the Bible says about Government, it is also our duty according to our Constitution to stand against tyranny, as a Christian and an American we are doubly duty bound to fight wrong doers whether in our own churches, governments or our enemies accross the seas.

    • av

      Amen........People of faith must realize that sometimes those that lead the flock are misguided and their words and actions make them co-conspirators with the coup d'etat that is currently being waged against our liberties. We are duty bound, for the posterity of our children, to fight such enemies regardless from where there attacks come from. As a counter-insurgent in this war the best weapon against such mis-interpetations is a persons wallet... If the leader of the flock agrees with the ideology of Obama - the flock simply needs to stop tithing. If enough do so - you watch how fast the Pastor espouses the analect's of Jefferson instead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LyneilA Lyneil Vandermolen

    Having worked in immigration reform for ten years, I have stacks of evidence about the damage, cost, crime, representational erosion and even death that the stampede of illegal aliens are causing Americans. Yet, government and most major churches embrace illegal aliens as oppressed innocents, while refusing to sympathize or speak for the real victims. Dr. George Woods, the head of the Assemblies of God, even posed with an open bible on his website to appeal for another mass legalization scheme as an affirmation of "human dignity."
    Whose dignity? The Americans who are forced to constantly accommodate mass lawbreaking? Our own minorities who have to compete with illegals who work for less? How about our blue collar citizens who are losing their jobs in warehouses, factories and construction because of illegal competition? How about citizens in general who have to pay for the enormous welfare state that illegal aliens require for the services they can't afford for themselves? What about murdered Americans? How much dignity are they left with?
    Chaos engineers on the left have brainwashed weak-willed and ignorant pastors to accuse us of racism if we resist being subjugated. The Prince of this World has thoroughly infiltrated mainstream church leadership.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Wilson-Kingsley/100000397000382 Ann Wilson Kingsley

    It is very hard for me to understand constantly blaming Obama as a Marxist when Evangelicals were content to vote for a Teddy Kennedy Socialist from Massachusetts and are still crying over the loss. Either Christians wise up, or our country will go the way of the 3rd. Reich. The move to freedom and the solution to Social Issues is through State's Rights. When Evangelicals regain control of the purse strings on the local and state levels, they will be able to defund all consequences of immorality, including abortion. But, this requires searching out a candidate who is sincerely for State's Rights.

    The GOP is facing one of the worst cons in our history. Values Voters are conned into voting for candidates playing the “Christian Card” to cover their flaws. Values Voters must display their values across the board. Honesty needs to be the first value Conservatives look at when determining which candidate to support. Republicans need to stop giving Democrats and Independents ammunition for calling Values Voters hypocrites on both fiscal and social issues.

    With the exception of Ron Paul and Rick Perry, all of the Republican candidates had major flaws, enumerated here as divorced, thrice-married, lying lobbyist, and lying “flip flopper”. When Republicans stop running RINO candidates who have bad character, they can win elections. Many voters are now on to the game of candidates playing the “Christian Card” to win elections. Candidates who loudly proclaim their Christianity have major flaws to overcome: Bush – alcoholism and criminal allegations, Santorum – lying lobbyist, Gingrich – thrice-married, Romney – lying flip flopper, Clinton – amoral. My granny always insisted, “Christian is a Christian does”. Republicans need to leave the bad character behind when they select their slate, if they want to celebrate the day after the elections instead of crying as so many report. Supporting candidates who start off with negatives to overcome doesn’t make sense.

    If Republicans want to win elections, we need to establish a base criteria and strategy for electing candidates that actually works. Every single issue that is a “Hot Button” for Republicans is solved by a return to State’s Rights, putting control of the finances and social issues back into our own backyards on the state level. He who controls the purse strings has the power. Voters can have much more impact on the state level than on the national level. Most Republicans do not understand this concept, and are staunchly refusing to take back their power. Republicans have an enormous education problem on their hands, if they want to win elections. The means to our goals is through State’s Rights and freedom, and so far Republicans are still pursuing failed policies.

    Screaming about and trying to legislate against social issues is a Communist inspired game designed to undermine the Christian Church and destroy our country. Pro-Lifers need to realize that the only way to solve their over 40 year dilemma is to slyly vote for a Libertarian-Republican of good character who carries a message of State's Rights and Constitutionalism, a candidate who will not allow the Federal Government to pay for the consequences of immorality.

    • har82

      Ummm, if I am not mistaken - Massachusetts - ,, is mainly Catholic. Not ,, actually Christians . As are 99% of illegal mexicans . :)

  • redrover

    PS: Many pastors and minsiters bring up ' separation of church and state' as the reason we shouldn't but we were founded on faith in God and the Bible required reading in schools for the children!! In less than 300 years; look where America is now?

  • redrover

    THIS IS SO TRUE...people of faith, if no one else will stand up; we must...WE MUST! And we must get others to stand with us...something has to give or we are headed for communism! More so than is already in our own government. Obama is a Marxist and is implimenting it one day at a time to trash America. If he gets a third term, our freedoms and right to faith in God will be toas,t according to his ways....hw ia evil!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jvanellen Jerri McCall

    Storm is brewing in the horizon!

    • har82

      Seems to me , the - horizon - just hit us all in the face on the 22nd of January, 2013

  • GranpaSeabee

    Pastor Runyon. Sadly my Pastor is one that espouses the misinterpretation of Romans 13:1-7. When I first heard him speak of it in a small group setting, it rang hollow in my spirit as I was raised to love and defend Liberty, even though for many years my dad was an atheist. I called him on it in front of the group calling that idea a cop out. He listened and did not challenge me in front of the others, but we later discussed it. I have read you book on this subject and I just want to say THANK YOU. I now have a solid scriptural basis on which to argue my belief. Another passage of scripture (and perhaps you mentioned it in your book and I missed it) is 1 Peter 2:13-17. Would you care briefly commenting on that? Thanks again my brother in Christ.

  • retiredmillwright

    Freedom is not free, it is the duty of every citizen no mater the religion too oppose wicked tyrants whom would rule unjustly over us.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jvanellen Jerri McCall

      Exactly!

    • howardwolf

      Amen!