Over the past three weeks, we have watched Vladimir Putin’s megalomaniacal attempt to expand his repressive empire by invading one of the world’s newest democracies, Ukraine. His victims are mostly unarmed, non-combatant civilians, including children and elderly people. We’re visited daily by terrified, separated, displaced, wounded, and murdered Ukrainians on our screens and newspapers, inviting us into their unspeakable agonies—all these relentless traumas inflicted by the hand of a tyrant who claims to be a Christian.
As if his massive crime against humanity were not horrendous enough, Putin finds himself encouraged and empowered by perpetrators wielding a different kind of power. Patriarch Kirill, a first among equals leading the Russian Orthodox Church, believes himself to be a servant of Jesus Christ who speaks for God and the Church. For Putin, Kirill’s presence provides more than support – it blesses it as a divine sanction. The Patriarch has pronounced Putin’s leadership as “a miracle of God” and has baptized Putin’s evil crusade of violence.
Kirill decries modern Ukraine as an instrument of decadent European secularism, calling Putin’s war a consequence of Ukraine’s embrace of “gay pride parades.” Furthermore, the subjugation of breakaway Ukrainian Orthodox believers and the country’s large population of Protestants, including many Evangelicals, reinforces Kirill’s notion that his church is mother to all Christians, and they owe him their allegiance. Putin’s war is Kirill’s war – a reprehensible campaign of oppression and destruction being waged across Ukraine.
TDBI President and Founder, Rev. Rob Schenck, has joined with a broad spectrum of global church leaders in calling for the expulsion of Kirill and the Moscow Patriarchate from the World Council of Churches. You can help in this effort by signing the Petition to Remove the Moscow Patriarchate from the WCC!
View the original source: Act Now to Remove the Moscow Patriarchate from the WCC!
Earlier, the Bonhoeffer Institute issued an official statement in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
For one of the first times in history, the world is watching, in real-time, an invasion of a free and peaceful country by a cruel, war-mongering despot. Thanks to the internet and cell phones, we are vicariously experiencing the suffering of Ukrainians with up-to-the-moment detail. Of course, Ukraine is not the only nation to suffer such a brutal assault in recent times, but it is by far the most observed by people across the world. The war of aggression waged by Russia’s Vladimir Putin against the people of Ukraine has a particular nexus with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s story – Ukraine is in Europe, Putin is a petty tyrant militantly advancing what he sees as a superior culture, threatening the whole of Europe, if not the world. The comparisons to Adolf Hitler’s machinations are obvious.
Another important dimension of the war in Ukraine is what it demands of us. Turning a blind eye, closing our ears, minimizing the scale of human suffering, and remaining silent in the face of crimes against humanity are not options for people of conscience. Bonhoeffer modeled courage in speaking – and speaking early – when it is still possible to do so. It is not too late for every person of conscience to denounce Putin’s barbarity and demand he be held accountable for it. Now is the time to speak out for the oppressed and to those empowered to help them.
For all of us who are focusing our attention on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, God is calling to pray, speak, and act on behalf of those who are suffering. Americans must use our freedom and safety to speak for those who must hide in terror.
View original source: A Bonhofferian Response to Russia’s Invasions
About Rev. Robert L. Schenck, D.Min.
In 2015, Rob became the subject of The Armor of Light, Abigail Disney’s Emmy-winning documentary examining Evangelicals and the gun culture, putting him in the crosshairs of controversy. As he recently noted, “The popular item on the market, exploding in sales, bought by Evangelicals is…guns.” Rob founded The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute in Washington, DC, to continue the work Bonhoeffer began in reforming the evangelical church. TDBI seeks to preserve and promote the legacy of this brave World War II-era Lutheran pastor, moral theologian, ethicist and Nazi resister, who was one of the first religious voices to speak out against Adolf Hitler and ultimately pay for it with his life.
View original source: REV. ROBERT L. SCHENCK, D.MIN.