Bonhoeffer Transformational Leadership

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Introduction The progression of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer represents a true introspective paradox. As a leader in the ecumenical movement and the Confessing Church, his active involvement in the separation from the German Church (Reichskirche) and the resistance plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler is an intriguing study of inner conflict and leadership. Dietrich Bonhoeffer represents a prime example of transformational leadership, and he is considered to be one of the greatest influences on the church of his time and throughout history. He was a progressive leader, yet demonstrated humility and acceptance of his overall destiny that he believed to be defined through Bible scripture, communicated from God. Aligning his providence through …show more content…
Bonhoeffer was viewed as a progressive thinker within the ecumenical movement and the church. He believed in the separation of the church from the state, a principle source of conflict as the Nazi party began to align the German Church with the Third Reich. He questioned the traditional Lutheran Church and saw the role of the church as helping the “state be the state”, a form of checks and balances (Metaxas, 2010, p. 153). He took a prominent role in outlining the atrocities of the Third Reich, opposing the Aryan Paragraph that sub-humanized persons of Jewish descent an was a catalyst for the Barmen Declaration, which declared the German Church as non-Christian, forming the Confessing Church. Bonhoeffer spoke, wrote, and lectured from the forefront of these principles defining the German Church as a puppet of the Nazi Party. He crossed over into an active, subversive role in the resistance movement, serving within the Abwher (German Military Intelligence) to further the plot for Hitler’s assassination and reconciliation of Germany with the Allied …show more content…
His introspective analysis of “What is the Church?” was a key to his development and his teachings throughout life (Metaxas, 2010, pp. 53-57). The unification of Christianity and the church, as a separate entity from the state, was a progressive concept forming the basis of the ecumenical movement and a source of conflict with the Third Reich’s development of the state-unified German Church of paganism and idolatry. Bonhoeffer took multiple steps to draw a proverbial “line in the sand” to create a shared vision throughout his life. He called for a clergy strike in response to the Aryan Paragraph, developed the succession Barmen Declaration, and repeatedly opposed the oppression of the Jewish race with declarations such as, “only those who cry out for the Jews may sing Gregorian chants” (Metaxas, 2010, pp. 376-377). His inspiration of followers was reflective of this shared vision, rooted in submission and confession of faith in God, undoubtedly one of his greatest leadership assets. In his discipleship model, Bonhoeffer was able to lead with humility and viewed himself only as a conduit through which God’s true leadership flowed. Followers, and those with whom he came into contact, described Bonhoeffer as at peace with himself and the path of God, extremely personable, and

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