The Brink of the Void: Bonhoeffer, Tozer, and Lewis

Daniel Webster stated:

“Hold on … to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands … for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.

Webster ended his 1802 speech in Massachusetts:

“We live under the only government that ever existed which was framed by the unrestrained and deliberate consultations of the

people …Miracles do not cluster. That which has happened but once in six thousand years, cannot be expected to happen often …Such a government, once gone, might leave a void, to be filled, for ages, with revolution and tumult, riot and despotism.”

The Western Void

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian, a Lutheran pastor, and a spy who dissented from the Nazi regime and ultimately was hung April 19th, 1945 at Flossenbürg concentration camp, Germany, wrote in his work entitled Ethics of a void the western world is entering as a result of the loss of unity possessed in Jesus Christ:

“By the loss of the unity which is possessed through the form of Jesus Christ, the western world is brought to the void. The forces unleashed exhaust their fury in mutual destruction. Everything established is threatened with annihilation. This is not a crisis among other crises. It is the uniqueness of the moment at which it stands, and it throws itself into the arms of the void, while the Christians talk among themselves of the approach of the Day of Judgement. The void towards which the west is drifting is not the natural end, the dying away and decline of a once flourishing history of nations. It is, once again, a specifically western void, a rebellious and outrageous void, and one which is the enemy of both God and man. As an apostacy from all that is established it is the supreme manifestation of all the powers which are opposed to God. It is the void made god. No one knows its goal or its measure. Its dominion is absolute. It is a creative void, which blows its anti-gods breath into the nostrils of all that is established and awakens it to a false semblance of new life while sucking out from it its proper essence, until at last it falls in ruin as a lifeless husk and is cast away. The void engulfs life, history, family, nation, language, faith. The list can be prolonged indefinitely, for the void spares nothing” (p.106).

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. ‘Ethics’ Ethics and Formation p. 106 Touchstone, Simon and Schuster, INC. 1995 (Macmillan Publishing Co. INC. New York, 1955.)

Bonhoeffer was one of many watchmen on the wall who rightly understood the role of the true church in the face of the disintegrating apostacy of western civilization as it forsakes its historical inheritance for what it is. “The west is becoming hostile towards Christ.” Much of the so-called church hence has made void the law through faith.

“…The most astonishing observation we can make today is that in the face of the void one is prepared to sacrifice anything and everything: one’s own judgement, one’s human character, and one’s neighbor…” (p.108).

Psalm 119:126 “It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.”

The times when all the temporal things of life, the material physical things we consume our lives with. Even the good things the best things in the now seem to shrink into utter insignificance before the gulf widening between us and eternity. The question really is what eternity are we sowing in the present life that will be reaped in the life to come? Who am I now that will shape me then? It has been said, “you sow a thought, you reap an action, you sow an action you reap a habit, you sow a habit you reap a lifestyle, you sow a lifestyle you reap a Destiny.”

“The world has known Christ and has turned its back on Him, and it is to this world that the Church must now prove that Christ is the Living Lord. Even while she waits for the last day, the Church, as the bearer of a historical inheritance, is bound by an obligation to the historical future” (p.109).

We cannot lose our sense of responsibility in the ocean of Gods sovereignty. Psalm 94:5 “They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage.”

“I am not here thinking solely, perhaps not even chiefly, of those who are public enemies at the moment. The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The methods may (at first) differ in brutality. But many a mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany: ‘Traditional values are to be debunked’ and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in one lucky generation which has learned how to do it. The belief that we can invent ‘ideologies’ at pleasure, and the consequent treatment of mankind as mere specimens, preparations, begins to affect our very language. Once we killed bad men. Now we liquidate unsocial elements.”

— C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

The Battle For Our Minds

“In order to overcome the world and its influence, we must understand the dynamics of those attacks and the booby traps placed by our enemy, the devil. For one, I recommend that we carefully watch lest we fall into the snare of propagandism – the battle for our minds.”

“Our enemy believes in slavery. There are two kinds of slavery. There is a slavery of the body, which seeks to control conduct by physical force… But there was another kind of slavery that seems to me to be so much worse. It is a slavery of the mind that is achieved by means of insidious ideas that are supplied to the mind. Once these ideas get our focus our obedience is rendered willingly, and we are unaware that we have become slaves to the enemies propaganda. In fact, we are quite satisfied and have no desire to be free from the snare of this propaganda. Put chains on a man’s ankles and wrists, and he knows it. Look deep into his eyes and you will find there the sullen revolt of the free human spirit against the bonds of slavery. But conditioning the mind creates a slave who doesn’t know it. We are constantly being fed harmful ideas that we adopt and learn to believe in, thinking they are all right, and so we ignorantly follow. This is done without our knowing that a keen, sharp, unscrupulous mind is seeking to control us.”

“The greatest war ever Fought is not in the history books. Those wars were wars of body against body, gun against gun, sword against sword, and battalion against battalion. The greatest war is still being waged today by every effective technique created to get us to stop thinking for ourselves. It is being waged by the media, and all its various forms, from hard news reporting to entertainment. If you could suddenly stand off objectively and look at your mind and see how much the media has fed into it and how you have come to be more or less a creature influenced by the media, you would be shocked and spend days and fasting and prayer to get free from it.”

“We are going to be what they make of us unless, of course, we stage a revolt, which I trust I may stir up. The strategy is to control our conduct by disseminating ideas and to gain acceptance for the counsel of the ungodly. The Bible talks about the counsel of the ungodly and pronounced as a blessing upon the man who walks not in it. We always must keep in mind that this is a fallen world, and whatever originates in the world is bound to be bad and godless. Whatever originates in organized society, with thoughts from fallen minds and fallen hearts, is godless.”

“The warfare is between the counsel of the ungodly and the counsel of God. Which shall control your mind? You are a pawn and a puppet caught in between, and if you are not awakened to it, you will learn the ways of Babylon and Egypt. You will pick up their notions and think the way they think and value what they value and love what they love and ignore what they ignore.”

– A.W.Tozer

A.W. Tozer The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, Regal from Gospel Light Ventura CA, 2012 James L. Snyder; Resisting the Worlds Propaganda p. 155-165 (originally published 1957)

The Abolition Of Man

C.S. Lewis in his Classic and probably at least by my estimation the least read of his works, The Abolition of Man, deals with man’s conquest over nature. This work addresses the attempt to break from traditional morality or the ‘Natural Law’ for the self-imposed ‘ideologies’ of a few over the many. To note, this work was written around the same time frame that Bonhoeffer was compiling his writings on Ethics, and that Tozer was writing and preaching and warning the American Church.

Excerpt from The Abolition of Man:

“…. What we call man’s power is, in reality, a power possessed by some men which they may, or may not, allow other men to profit by. Again, as regards the powers manifested in the aeroplane or the wireless, man is as much the patient or subject as the possessor, since he is the target both for bombs and for propaganda and as regards contraceptives, there is a paradoxical, negative sense in which all possible future generations are the patients or subjects of a power wielded by those already alive. By contraception simply, they are denied existence; by contraception used as a means of selective breeding, they are, without their concurring voice, made to be what one generation, for its own reasons, may choose to prefer. From this point of view, what we call man’s power over nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with nature as it’s instrument….”

“…I am considering what the thing called man’s power over nature must always and essentially be. No doubt, the picture could be modified by public ownership of raw materials and factories and public control of scientific research. But unless we have a world state this will still mean the power of one nation over others. And even within the world state or the nation it will mean in principle the power of majorities over minorities, and in the concrete of a government over the people….”

“…In order to understand fully what man’s power over nature, and therefore the power of some men over other men, really means, we must picture the race extended in time from the date if it’s emergence to that if it’s extinction. Each generation exercises power over its successors: and each, in so far as it modifies the environment bequeath to it and rebels against tradition, resists and limits the power of its predecessors. This modifies the picture which is sometimes painted of a progressive emancipation from tradition and a progressive control of natural processes resulting in a continual increase of human power. In reality, of course, if any one age really attains, by eugenics and scientific education, the power to Make its descendants what it pleases, all men who live after it are the patience of that power. They are weaker, not stronger: for though we may have put wonderful machines in their hands we have pre- ordained how they are to use them. And if, as is almost certain, the age which had thus attained maximum power over posterity were also the age most emancipated from tradition, it would be engaged in reducing the power of its predecessors almost as drastically as that of it’s successors….”

“…The last men, far from being the heirs of power, will be of all men most subject to the dead hand of the great planners and conditioners and will themselves exercise least power upon the future…”

“…Men’s conquest of nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men. There neither is nor can be any simple increase of power on man’s side. Each new power won by man is a power over man as well. Each advance leaves him weaker as well as stronger. And every victory, besides being the general who triumphs, he is also the prisoner who follows the triumphal car…”

“…. I am not yet considering whether the total result of such ambivalent victories is a good thing or a bad. I am only making clear what man’s conquest of nature really means and especially that final stage in the conquest, which, perhaps, is not far off. The final stages come when man by eugenics, by prenatal conditioning, and by an education and propaganda based on a perfect applied psychology, has obtained full control over himself. Human nature will be the last part of nature to surrender to man. The battle will then be one. We shall have ‘taken the thread of life out of the hand of Clothe’ And be henceforth free to make our species whatever we wish it to be. The battle will indeed be won. But who, precisely, will have won it…?”

“…For the power of man to make himself what he pleases means, as we have seen, the power of some men to make other man what they please. In all ages, no doubt, nurture and instruction have, in some sense, attempted to exercise this power. But the situation to which we must look forward will be novel in two respects. In the first place, the power will be enormously increased. Up until now the plans of educationalist have achieved very little of what they attempted and indeed, when we read them – how Plato would have every infant ‘a bastard nursed in a bureau,’ and Elyot would have the boys See no men before the age of seven and, after that, no women, and how Locke wants children I have leaky shoes and no turn for poetry – we may well thank the beneficent obstinacy of real mothers, real nurses, and above all real children for preserving the human race in such sanity as it still possesses. But the man molders of the New Age will be armed with the powers of an omnicompetent state and an irresistible scientific technique: we shall get at last a race of conditioners who really can cut out all posterity in what shape they please…”

“…The conditioners, then, are to choose what kind of Natural Law they will, for their own good reasons, produce in the Human race. They are the motivators, the creators of motives. But how are they going to be motivated themselves… It is not that they are bad men. They are not men at all. Stepping outside the Natural Law, they have stepped into the void. Nor are their subjects necessarily unhappy men they are not men at all: they are artefacts. Man’s final conquest has proved to be the abolition of man…”

C.S. Lewis, The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics, Harper One, C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. 2002, p. 718 (original copywrite 1944)

Where Are We

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern announced new rules for the 117th Congress, including “sweeping ethics reforms, increases accountability for the American people, and makes this House of Representatives the most inclusive in history” – including eliminating the words, “father, mother, son, and daughter,” from federal code…The proposed changes reflect “the views and values of the full range of our historically diverse House Democratic Majority,” Pelosi said in a joint statement with McGovern.

Mark 10:6 “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’”

John 19:26 “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he said unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!”

Notice their statement essentially said these changes reflect the ‘ideologies’ of the past House Democratic Majority. They are playing god. These are the man-molders C.S. Lewis was referring to. These are the conditioners, the lucky ones who at last found out how to reshape man or it after its own image.

The ancient whisper “hath God said” inevitably follows with “ye shall be as gods.” You cannot exchange truth for truth, there is only exchanging truth for a lie. The assertion that man is or can be god has consistently been debunked in the mortality of man. But at last, in a fit of idiocy the demi-gods of our age fancy themselves fit to erase mortality from the dictionary and revise the history of man’s futility and death with his evolution to godhood which the deluded believe, as all before them, that they are the sum.

If you think the People of Israel were futile in their thinking when Isaiah called a curse on them for exchanging ‘bitter for sweat or good for evil’ what is the futility that denies there is ‘good and evil, or bitter and sweet.’

Language is a medium by which truth rooted in objective observable realities is conveyed to the mind in order that one may know the truth and live accordingly. All words are derivative from the Word (logos). John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Proverbs 22:19-21

“That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?”

Jeremiah 6:18, 19

“Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.”

7:8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.

For those professing Christians out there who say ‘I will draw the line when they say I need to reject Jesus,’ my question is who is Jesus when there is no mother or father or sons or daughters? If ‘in the beginning was it, and it was with God, and it was God’ isn’t denying Christ I don’t know what is.

I’m with the great itinerant preacher Vance Havner who stated decades ago:

“I’m tired of the great hero’s of our past being smudged in this mirage of human progress, the flag being drug in the dirt, and patriotism being junked in favor of an internationalism that is a part of the system of anti-Christ.”

He stated further:

“I’ve met people all across this great nation who are sick and tired of what’s going on…. I see it in their eyes, and I feel it in their handshake. . . but many of them don’t speak out like they ought because they don’t want to be identified with some odd-ball group who happens to believe some of the same things they do.”

Nevertheless, we must not be silent in this day of evil.

Deuteronomy 30:19, 20

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”

“That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

1 thought on “The Brink of the Void: Bonhoeffer, Tozer, and Lewis”

  1. Thank you for pulling together voices from the past, who in similar circumstances as the crisis we face today, or who had the foresight to see the crisis from a distance, gave us fair warning of the spiritual violence gripping our nation right now. The Anti-Christ spirit is pressing hard for a total victory here. It is time for the men of God to stand up and say NO to the evil in our midst—Proverbs 25:26 “Like a trampled spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who yields to evil.”

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