Monday, September 12, 2011

Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile Vs. the Third Reich by Eric Metaxas

Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile Vs. the Third Reich by Eric Metaxas surveys the life of 20th century German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Born in 1906, Bonhoeffer was raised in a family of German intellectuals where success was assumed.  Dietrich chose the nonintellectual pursuit of theological study, and flourished bringing his family’s tendency for scientific discovery combined with a sincere belief in the God of the Bible.   Bonhoeffer became one of the leading voices of the German Confessing Church in the 1930s challenging the state authorized and often anti-God church of the Third Reich.  Bonhoeffer’s resistance eventually led to his participation in a conspiracy to assassinate Adolph Hitler leading to the failed Stauffenberg plot of July 1944.  In the aftermath of this attempt of the Fuhrer’s life, Bonhoeffer and other conspirators were arrested with Bonhoeffer executed by Hitler’s spiteful orders in the last days of the war in April 1945. 
Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy is an excellent book.  Metaxas has written a comprehensive book of a complex character a man who was an academic, teacher, son, brother, friend, pastor and a man who lived his faith.  Throughout the book Metaxas shows how Bonhoeffer’s decisions were guided by his faith, a faith that he believed should be lived out in his daily life.  This did not mean that Bonhoeffer lead the life of a secluded monk, instead his life was full of friends, sport, parties, books and music.  Instead of separating himself from “real” life, Bonhoeffer dived into it inviting God into those activities.  Additionally, it was this faith that guided him to stand for the oppressed, especially the Jewish community, within Hitler’s Germany.  From discussions on theology to the biography of a fascinating character who stood against Third Reich in an active way this book offers the reader much to think about and tension for Bonhoeffer’s fate despite knowing his eventual end as a Martyr.     
Review Copy Provided by Thomas Nelson

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