Saturday, April 2, 2011

In which I review Bonhoeffer

Well, that sounds rather pretentious, doesn't it?

No, I am not reviewing the life's work of one of the greatest and most inspiring Christians of the 20th century. 

I am however reviewing the recent biography, "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, A Righteous Gentile vs. The Third Reich" by Eric Metaxa of the man.

From the Publisher:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Amazing Grace, a groundbreaking biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the greatest heroes of the twentieth century, the man who stood up to Hitler. A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double-agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Fuhrer, and was hanged in Flossenberg concentration camp at age 39. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the 20th century. 
Bonhoeffer presents a profoundly orthodox Christian theologian whose faith led him to boldly confront the greatest evil of the 20th century, and uncovers never-before-revealed facts, including the story of his passionate romance.

I first read Bonhoeffer through his works "Life Together" and "The Cost of Discipleship" in adulthood. But since my faith background didn't include much Bonhoeffer, I remained relatively (and sadly) ignorant of his life and legacy.  This historical biography is amazingly readable and inspiring. His understanding of Jesus, the Gospel and discipleship (vs. conversion) has deep roots in his background, his family and his own journey. And then the unfolding of his commitment to others manifested in his defiance of Nazi Germany is nothing short of inspiring and brilliant.



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