Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was a German pastor and theologian who opposed the state-controlled German Evangelical Church under Adolf Hitler. He and others founded the Confessing Church which became the center of German Protestant resistance to the Nazi regime. Bonhoeffer became linked to a group planning to assassinate Hitler and this led to his arrest, imprisonment and eventual death by hanging on April 9, 1945 only a few days before the end of the war. His best known book was The Cost of Discipleship, in which he not only attacked "cheap grace" as a cover for ethical laxity but also preached "costly grace".
Standing against the tide
During his time in prison Bonhoeffer grew increasingly aware of the failure of the church in Germany to stand against the evils of his day. It’s empty forms of worship and religious language had no authority or power; it had lost it’s prophetic voice. But, he wrote, a day would come when Christians would once again be called to proclaim the word of God so that the world will be transformed and renewed by it.
"It is not for us to predict the day - but the day will come - when people will once more be called to speak the word of God in such a way that the world is changed and renewed. It will be a new language, perhaps quite non-religious language, but liberating and redeeming—like Jesus’ language; so that people will be alarmed and yet overcome by its power - the language of a new righteousness and truth, a language proclaiming that God makes peace with humankind and that God’s kingdom is drawing near. Till then the Christian cause will be a silent and hidden affair, but there will be those who pray and do right and wait for God’s own time.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Thoughts on the Day of Baptism, Letters and papers from prison.