Bonhoeffer: A Review

I think the quote that hit me in gut the most was:

[Just before the execution] “I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer kneeling on the floor, praying fervently to God…so certain that God heard his prayer…I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”

This book reads like you’re talking to a friend. It seems nothing is left is out, and you close the pages of this book a good friend of Bonhoeffer. You see letters, interviews with friends and family, pulling from previous biographies and Bonhoeffer’s works.

I would not recommend this book to a person looking for the feel good story of the year. It does not offer a picture of what Westernized Christianity offers (cheap grace). Bonhoeffer lived a live of costly grace, and he suffered well until his very last breath.

Hard questions are asked with answers we may only get answered in heaven. Bonhoeffer stood for Truth and paid the ultimate price. He was not about to live a life of legalist rules, but a life of humility and devout worship of Christ that lead him to (one of those hard questions) a plot to assassinate Hitler. To pull from a follower reviewer:

“How Christianity and assassination plots can be reconciled is hard for many to fathom–especially those who have lived only in peace and safety. We must consider Bonhoeffer in the context of his life, his country, and the war that he had no choice but to be a part of. Ethics, once so clear, become unclear. Do we lie to the Nazis, or do we give them information that leads to the deaths of innocents? Do we obey our nation’s laws, or do we defy them by leading Jews into safety? Do we fight in Hitler’s army, or do we refuse, knowing that we will be beheaded and leave our family destitute? These are some of the questions Bonhoeffer faced.” (John A. Bird)

Metaxas artfully places us in cahoots with Bonhoeffer as we learn to sympathize with his cause and feel the rush of his illegal studies and the joys experienced with his close-knit family. We see a human so broken yet he doesn’t let that brokenness undo him when it comes to Christ.

Metaxas’s “Bonhoeffer” is one of the best books I’ve read. Trust me on this one; you won’t regret reading it. We see true Gospel living amidst a seemingly hopeless world. Through Metaxas, Bonhoeffer’s life gives us hope of a better world one day. Nothing is sugar coated; can certainly see ourselves in the life of Bonhoeffer. Or at least we can hope for just an ounce of the courage he had. In the end, you’ll close the book with a renewed sense of what it means to be a Christian. Aside from the Bible, I hope this book wrecks your world view and changes more than just your life.

More on the author:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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2 Responses to Bonhoeffer: A Review

  1. Noel says:

    For a critical review by a well known Bonhoeffer scholar see Victoria Barnett, Association or Contemporary Church Historians, Newsletter Vol 16, No. 3 September

    She writes ” This is a badly flawed book” read further

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review « everything made beautiful

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