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Anxious Souls Will Ask...: The…

Anxious Souls Will Ask...: The Christ-Centered Sprituality of Dietrich…

by John W. Matthews

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In my most recent read I finished turning the pages of Anxious Souls Will Ask: The Christ-Centered Spirituality of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by John W. Matthews. Who is Sr. Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota and also vice president of the International Bohnhoeffer Society’s English Language Section.

This brief yet brilliant book sets out to achieve a simple goal: to introduce and explain Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theological thinking in terms that will make him relevant for readers today. It does this by showing the prison reflections of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and how they contain profound inspiration for all who desire to walk more closely with Jesus in today’s troubling world by illuminating the context and content of Bonhoeffer’s life and thought. Anxious Souls Will Ask…uses writings of this famed Christian martyr to critique the spirit of the age and to encourage Christians in the depth of there commitment which is required to stand firm against the present winds of postmodern culture. This a great companion to Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison.

John Matthews argues that, while Bonhoeffer’s greatest impact comes from his martyrdom, it is in Bonhoeffer’s spirituality and theology that are the seeds for continuing relevance and inspiration for the church into the third millennium. Our context is the same in significant ways, according to Matthews: we live in an increasingly secular world, with a church quite often on the defensive, and hence reactionary.

Matthews identifies five particular elements that Bonhoeffer recognized as being crumbling pillars of the church: the persistence of individualistic religion, an exclusive focus on otherworldliness, uncritical verbal proclamation and evangelism, the identification of earthly blessing as the presence of God and earthly suffering as the absence of God, and childish dependence on God. All of these are crumbling pillars, according to Matthews’ reading of Bonhoeffer, but yet remain attractive and persistent in varying ways.

The book begins with a brief chronology of the events in Bonhoeffer’s life, from his birth in 1906 to his death in 1945. The appendix has selections from Bonhoeffer’s ‘Letters and Papers from Prison’, a pivotal work that has profoundly influenced Christians all around the world since its publication. There are also appendices of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as secondary sources in English. I believe newcomers and scholars alike will benefit from the fruits of John Matthews’s pilgrimage alongside Bonhoeffer. ( )
  moses917 | Jul 20, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802828418, Paperback)

Foreword by H. Martin Rumscheidt This brief yet brilliant book shows that the prison reflections of Dietrich Bonhoeffer contain profound inspiration for all who desire to walk more closely with Jesus in today's troubled and often troubling world. Illuminating the context and content of Bonhoeffer's life and thought, Anxious Souls Will Ask... uses writings of the famous Christian martyr to critique the spirit of the age and to encourage in contemporary Christians the depth of commitment required to stand firm against the contemptuous winds of postmodern culture.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:50 -0400)

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