Metaxas explores how the 'church of Luther' had shockingly weakened so much that it had capitulated to Hitler by the 1930s. How did it get to such a state? The true gospel (summed up by Bonhoeffer as 'costly grace') had gradually been perverted and replaced by 'cheap grace'. This is that there is a kind, jolly God who just loves and forgives everyone, so it doesn't matter how one lives. Legalism also grew and meant that God loved you because you were disciplined and pulled yourself together, living a good life.
While just a boy of thirteen, Dietrich's brother Walter was killed fighting for Germany in WWI. It devastated the whole family, but it served to mold Dietrich into the man he would become. His mother was a capable woman deeply in love with her husband, her family, and her Savior. She frequently lead singing in their home. That last evening of the year, 1918-19, they sang Paul Gerhardt's New Year's Eve hymn "Now let us go singing and praying, and stand before our Lord, Who has given our life strength until now." His family and his times readied him to stand up to incredible evil with a passion for Truth and a commitment for justice on behalf of those who were targeted by this evil, the Jews.NetHymnal is a great site to obtain the history of thousands of hymns, ancient and recent, including Now Let Us Come Before Him which the Bonhoeffers sang that night... The link is http://nethymnal.org/htm/l/nlucbhim.htm You can immediately hear the melody and see the lyrics. It was put into English in 1867, but the Bonhoeffers would have sung it in the old German text of Gerhardt.
Now let us come before Him,
With song and prayer adore Him,
Who to our life hath given
All needed strength from Heaven.
The stream of years is flowing,
And we are onward going,
From old to new surviving
And by His mercy thriving.
In woe we often languish
And pass through times of anguish
Of wars and trepidation
Alarming every nation.
As mothers watch are keeping
O’er children who are sleeping,
Their fear and grief assuaging
When angry storms are waging.
So God His own is shielding
And help to them is yielding.
When need and woe distress them,
His loving arms caress them.
O Thou Who dost not slumber,
Remove what would encumber
Our work, which prospers never
Unless Thou bless it ever.
O God of mercy, hear us;
Our Father, be Thou near us;
Mid crosses and in sadness
Be Thou our Fount of gladness.
Supporting Scriptures: This video of Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing contains the entire 91st Psalm in text. (music only in a fantastic arrangement by Paul Cardall, pianist)
"Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." Psalm 121:4
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: