“‘Let me hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace to his people, and to his faithful’ (Psalm 85:8). Between the twin crags of nationalism and internationalism, ecumenical Christendom calls upon its Lord and asks for guidance. Nationalism and internationalism have to do with political necessities and possibilities. The ecumenical church movement, however, does not concern itself with these things, but with the commandments of God, and regardless of consequences it transmits these commandments to the world … Peace on earth is not a problem, but a commandment given at Christ’s coming. There are two ways of reacting to this command from God: the unconditional, blind obedience of action, or the hypocritical question of the Serpent: ‘Did God say …?’ This question is the mortal enemy of obedience, and therefore the mortal enemy of all real peace … Has God not understood human nature well enough to know that wars must occur in the world, like laws of nature? Must God not have meant that we should talk about peace, to be sure, but that is not to be literally translated into action? Must God not really have said that we should work for peace, of course, but also make ready tanks and poison gas for security? And then perhaps the most serious question: Did God say you should not protect your own people? Did God say you should leave your own a prey to the enemy?
“No, God did not say all that. What God has said is that there shall be peace among all people - that we shall obey God without further question, that is what God means. Anyone who questions the commandment of God before obeying has already denied God …”
From a sermon preached at the Fano Ecumenical Conference, Denmark, on August 28th, 1934.
Cited in Ferdinand Schlingensiepen, Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945 (London / New York: T&T Clark, 2010), p. 171.