Thursday, 30 December 2010

Bonhoeffer- pastor,martyr ,prophet,spy

Bonhoeffer  by Eric Metaxas, is an excellent biography of an incredible and inspiring man. Here was someone  who, at huge personal risk stood up with cold and calculated courage against the Nazi state that  ruled  Germany in the 1930's and early 40's and in the end paid for his resistance with his life.

The great heroes of western evangelicals in the twentieth century were great preachers like Billy Graham and John Stott and Martyn Lloyd Jones.

Bonhoeffer was largely ignored by evangelicals, perhaps because they wrongly regarded him as unsound, perhaps because he was certainly involved in the plot to kill Adolph Hitler, perhaps because liberal Christians have claimed him as one of their own.
 However as Metaxas himself says Bonhoeffer “was as orthodox as Saint Paul or Isaiah, from his teen years all the way to his last day on earth."

I will not attempt a review of the book, but it does document chapter by chapter, both the  terrible evil which Hitler and the Nazis were capable of, and the courage, inspired by God, that Bonhoeffer demonstrated in the face of that evil and while being oppressed by it.

Things that struck me about Bonhoeffer were;
  • His deep devotional life based around prayer and meditating on God’s word, alone and with others.  That was where he got his strength from.
  • His courage to speak truth even if it was unpalatable.
  • His relationships with other Christians from many parts of the world, which undoubtedly informed his ministry, and gave him a much wider perspective on Christianity than many of his contemporaries.
  • His insistence that Christianity is not simply something to be conducted among consenting adults in private but something to be proclaimed in the public sphere, to everyone including the powers that be -Jesus is Lord!
  • His emphasis on discipleship.
  • His willingness to suffer for the sake of others.

Bonhoeffer was executed  in 1945,within weeks of the end of the war, but there are  lessons  the church  today can learn from him 

If you haven’t read it I commend the book to you it is well worth reading.Metaxas has done the church a service in reminding us of this great man.

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