Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – A Righteous Gentile vs. The Third Reich (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010), 565 pages.

Dietrich Bonheoffer was a Lutheran pastor/scholar who opposed Hitler in Germany leading up to and during World War II. He was an influential leader in the Confessing Church that resisted the alliance between Nazism and Christianity, and was even involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler. Bonhoeffer was arrested for treason and executed in April 1945, only weeks before Germany surrendered to the allied forces. His published works include, The Cost of Discipleship, likely his most popular, and Life Together.

This new biography is written by Eric Metaxas, author of the biography on William Wilberforce, titled Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic campaign to End Slavery, which was the official companion book to the feature film by Michael Apted.

This new work from Metaxas is already receiving some acclaim and was recently announced as one of the finalists for the 2011 Christian Book Awards (Non-Fiction category) by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).

While I will not be doing a review of the book, I would like to share a few reflections on Bonhoeffer’s life as well as quotes from this book over the course of a few posts.

While being somewhat familiar with Bonhoeffer as a pastor, scholar and writer, I was surprised to find that he spent much time teaching Bible and theology to children, even as a young lad:

Bonhoeffer had an obvious gift for communicating with children. He was greatly taken with them and would work with children at three significant points in the near future… He became involved with the children beyond the classroom, devoting significant time and energy to them. He was so popular that children from other classes left to join his, causing some embarrassment. Bonhoeffer began to wonder whether he ought to pursue the life of pastor rather than that of an academic. His father and brothers thought that would be a waste of his great intellect, but he often said that if one couldn’t communicate the most profound ideas about God and the Bible to children, something was amiss. There was more to life than academia (Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 64, emphasis mine).

I thoroughly agree. 🙂


5 thoughts on “BONHOEFFER, part 1

  1. Even more complicated than communicating the Truth to children, communicating it to middle schoolers 🙂 But then it has it’s own rewards too.

  2. What a great reminder for us as parents, too: to boil down the truth into digestible bits without compromising an inch of the Gospel. Whether academics or snotty-nose-wiping-moms, Bonhoeffer’s life can speak to us all 😉

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