Humdingers

I’ve just finished reading Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  

I’ve been reluctant to embrace Bonhoeffer, probably because so many people make such a big deal about him.  The book was a gift from friends in the congregation, and three weeks of jury duty gave me ample time to rip through it.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Metaxas is a gifted writer!
I’ve been trying to put together a review of the book for my denominational young adult web site.  But I’m having trouble.  It’s not that the book isn’t good – it is.  But what I want to tackle is Bonhoeffer’s take on the nature of Christian obedience and faith.  To do that, I suspect I’m going to have to read the rest of Bonhoeffer’s polished as well as unpolished works.  
The conundrum is this:  Metaxas asserts that Bonhoeffer reached an understanding of the Christian life and faith that made it possible to think and act in extra-moral ways.  Not meaning additionally moral, but beyond morality as we commonly think of it.  In other words, did Bonhoeffer argue that for the deeply Christian person, little details like the Ten Commandments could be dispensed with for a deeper and more radical obedience to Jesus Christ?  Did he, in fact, argue that Thou Shalt Not Kill might not actually be a binding commandment?  Are there exceptions to the natural law for those who have entered into a radical understanding and commitment to Jesus Christ?
This is what I hear Metaxas saying.  I don’t know if Bonhoeffer says it, and the excerpts that Metaxas quotes from are not enough for me to really tell.
If it is, I want to reject it.  It smacks of that most ancient of Christian heresies, Gnosticism.  Secret knowledge enables salvation or exception from certain aspects of life, to put it another way.  If Bonhoeffer argues that the truly Christian person can – and should – violate the command against murder in favor of a deeper obedience to Jesus Christ, then it seems to provide a way for the natural law to unravel, and for every person (or every Christian, at least) to justify any and all violations of the Ten Commandments (which I see as a shorthand summation of natural law) by their special knowledge or faith.  
It seems like a no-brainer that this can’t be right.  But then there’s the problem of Ehud.  Millenia before Bonhoeffer was embroiled (passively or actively) in a plot to assassinate Hitler, we have the story of a very, very similar situation.  Read Judges 3:12-30.  
Nowhere in the text does it say specifically that God commanded Ehud to assassinate the king.  Yet it is clearly implied (vs.15-16).  Now, I’ve made my peace with the concept of holy war in the Old Testament and the fact that God could command his people to do things that we would find reprehensible today.  Is Ehud an example of this on a personal scale?  
I guess I have less of a problem with this in the Old Testament context.  God’s people clearly delineated as such and acting under the special provision and authorization of God himself.  While we say that this is the state of the Church today, it is fundamentally different as well.  We are not theocratic in any sort of political, actionable sense.  At least since the Reformation, a good chunk of the Church has rejected the notion that the Church can or should function in a political, worldly way (through military might, specifically).  
But could God the Holy Spirit direct an individual Christian to act on God’s behalf to execute worldly judgment on someone?  If so, would anyone else be able to know or understand that this was the case?  Would Christians be right to condemn such actions by an individual as contrary to the natural law and the Ten Commandments?
I’m sure I must be missing something basic here, but I don’t know what it is.  I think Bonhoeffer is wrong (if that is indeed his position).  But then how to make sense of Ehud properly?  Gaaarrrrrrgggggg!

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