Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Review 'Bonhoeffer. Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy' by Eric Metaxas


Since I was a student of theology some 25 plus years ago I have been familiar with the name Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Admittedly though, I have never read any of his works except to reference and quote him from time to time.  I also had no clue about his absolutely incredible story.

Thanks to Eric Metaxas' new book Bonhoeffer. Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy I have had the opportunity to get to know Bonhoeffer and his story in a much more intimate fashion and have learned a tremendously greater appreciation for Bonhoeffer the theologian - but even more than that - for Bonhoeffer the person.

As I read the book, I was introduced to Dietrich's famous and well educated family.  His father Karl was a noted psychologist, however Dietrich's interest in theology came from his mother's side of the family.  His maternal great grandfather was a noted theologian, Karl August von Hase, and it was this influence that seemed to propel Dietrich on his sojourn into theological studies.

Metaxas crafts the story in a well documented but easily readable fashion.  Layers and facets of Bonhoeffer's life are uncovered page after page, including his years of study, his life as a pastor and as a teacher, and ultimately as a conspirator in the plot to bring down Adolf Hitler.

As his story unfolds, we are able to see Bonhoeffer's transition from a brilliant academic theologian to someone who lives and continually develops his theology daily against the complicated backdrop of Nazi Germany.  The more he learns about God, the more he believes that God actually speaks through His Word and that following Christ means more than just mental assent but instead an entire life devoted to living as Christ instructed.  This conviction would lead him to his active participation in the conspiracy to eliminate the evil influence of Adolf Hitler, and tragically, eventually to his own death.

In spite of the book's length, Metaxas' writing style keeps you fully engaged in the story...but the real win in this book is the story itself.  This is altogether an educational, inspirational and intriguing read.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.  Available now at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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