Absolution for Murder?

I recently finished watching a documentary on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  His was a life of spiritual struggle, particularly a struggle with the dilemma of how to respond to Hitler and the slaughter of the Jews.  One of the telling moments of his life was an unexpected question he posed to a group of his closest friends, each of whom was a pastor in the confessing church.  Out of the blue, Bonhoeffer awkwardly posed the query to these clergy: “Would you grant absolution to one who murders a tyrant?”

The pastors, at the time, thought the question was an ill-timed attempt at ethical debate, but it was much more; it was the revelation of a course his heart had determined to take.  Though he surrendered to this course and believed it was by faith that he had thus decided–Bonhoeffer seems never to have been settled on what the answer to his question would be.  Would he be absolved for killing Hitler?

What do you say?  Be sure to consider 1 John 3:15.

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