Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A book review of "Bonhoeffer:Pastor,Martyr,Prophet,Spy"
by Eric Metaxas
published by Thomas Nelson

This is the first book that I have reviewed that I would give 5 stars. Approaching a biography of over 500 pages seemed at first somewhat intimidating. But once I began it was the best biography I have read. Beginning with Bonhoeffers childhood you could see the things that would influence him in later becoming a pastor, theologian, spy during Hitlers reign of power.

Bonhoffer felt that the church in America was way to shallow and the racism bothered him tremendously.
He remarked, "In New York they preach about virtually everything, only one thing is not addressed...namely the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life."

I thoroughly enjoyed and the author made it clear how the church in Germany during WW11, succumbed to the influence and propaganda of Nazism. This was the best section of the book, with parallels and questions for our own time. How much should the church connect itself to the nation and culture it finds itself in?
The author did a good job of bringing in key people/influences of the church during the time without getting bogged down into to many details.

It was interesting to see that Bonhoffer’s participation in the conspiracy against Hitler was not driven because of culture, but because he felt this was what God was wanting him to do. For him it was a matter of obedience.

If you have looked for a biography on Bonhoffer or even if you are into WW2 history this book should not be missed.

A few quotes from Bonhoffer:
“Christianity conceals within itself a germ hostile to the church.”

“If you board the wrong train it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction.’

“The question is really, Christianity or Germanism? And the sooner the conflict is revealed in the clear light of day the better.”

Regarding marriage he said, “It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”

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