“Dietrich Bonheoffer (1906-1945) a German Lutheran minister who joined Barth in resisting Hitler’s attempts to use the Lutheran Church, became a teacher in the seminary of the newly formed Confessing Church, tried to form a link between Germans opposed to Hitler and the British government, and was involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler. He was arrested and put in prison in 1943 and hanged just before the end of the Second World War in 1945. His Letters and Papers from Prison reflect an impressive and courageous witness under hardship; and they reflect on the growing secularization of man (Nietzsche’s ‘God is dead’ idea) and on the need to speak about God in a secular way, so that God is not reduced to a pseudo-religious magic force or so-called “God-of-the-gaps” but who on account of Jesus Christ’s redemptive act is present at the center of even secular and non-religious life” (Frederick Lawrence, Philosophers and Theologians, Boston College).
“Karl Barth (1886-1968) reacted against the liberal theological trend that started with Schleiermacher, because in reducing religion to feeling it also tended to reduce Christianity back into the meanings and values of the secular culture. He tried to bring theology back to the principles of the Reformation and the prophetic message of the Bible. Heavily influenced by Kierkegaard, he interpreted the Christian message to mean that God is so supremely transcendent and superior to all human aspirations that human reason and ‘natural theology’ (philosophy of God which does not accept the teachings of revelations) are worthless; and religion grounded in mere human experience (as in Schleiermacher) is impossible. His Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans rejected all merely historical interpretation of Scripture as incapable of doing justice to the text as the inspired Word of God. His ability to distinguish so sharply Christianity from human culture enabled Barth to resist Hitler’s attempts to enlist the German Lutheran State Church in the Nazi cause, saying, “We have no Fuehrer (leader) but Jesus Christ!” In the Humanity of God he still affirmed that God’s sole revelation is in Jesus Christ, who in becoming human, uttered the only really significant Yes! of the transcendent God to poor sinful humanity in need of redemption through grace” (Frederick Lawrence, Philosophers and Theologians, Boston College).