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Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by…

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Eric Metaxas

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1,983683,405 (4.32)37
Title:Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Authors:Eric Metaxas
Info:Thomas Nelson (2011), Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:persecuted church, Nazi Germany

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Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (2010)


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I've been meaning to get around to reading this book for a couple of years. Friends and relatives have given me their glowing reviews. I have also read a few critical ones which put me off from reading it for awhile.

Some of the criticisms of Metaxas's Bonhoeffer are not altogether fair. He is a popular author and not a Bonhoeffer scholar so he is heavily dependent on early biographies (especially Bethge's). Spelling errors, and factual errors have been corrected from early printings. And in general Metaxas builds his case carefully.

But this is an evangelical recasting of the Bonhoeffer legacy and a little bit of hagiography. In Metaxas's portrait Bonhoeffer is the great opponent of theological liberalism who never seems to think and do anything wrong. Ever. I love Bonhoeffer, but I know this is a rosy, and not quite accurate picture of the man. The truth is somewhat more complicated.

Metaxas is a good storyteller and I enjoyed the book. It has been years since I read Letters and Papers from Prison but I think Metaxas captures the drama of Bonhoeffer's last days. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Eric Metaxas' tome on Dietrich Boenhoeffer may be the most important book I'll read this year. While I knew some basic facts of the German pastor who died at the hands of the German SS regime, Metaxas made him come alive. Weighing in at over 600 pages, Boenhoeffer: pastor, martyr, prophet, spy is dense. Long quotations from letters, while difficult to muddle through at points, allow Boenhoeffer to tell his own story.

I was moved my this book. Am I standing for principle? Am I willing to pay the ultimate cost for that which is most important to me? Do I deal with difficult situations with a grace that can only come from Christ? The life of Dietrich Boenhoeffer made me ask these and many more questions. ( )
  RobSumrall | Mar 1, 2017 |
Edited 11/6:

Don't be put off by the length or think this is a dry historical bio. I learned not only a lot about the life of this extraordinary man of faith, courage, and convictions, but about pre-Hitler Germany, the church, and the plot to assassinate Hitler.

A fascinating, gripping, and inspiring read - all 22 1/2 hrs of listening time.

This book will be on my list of favorite reads of 2013. I highly recommend listening to the audio version. The narrator did a great job.

( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
  custisld | Feb 7, 2017 |
I don't know, this book seems good, but I just can't get through it. I think it's too long and drawn out.. I've been on p 122 for weeks now, it's got over 600 pges total.. and it just isn't drawing me in. If a book sits and sits, then I think it's time to move on to something else... I would like to read another bio of Bonhoeffer at some point.
  homeschoolmimzi | Nov 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
In this fine biography, Metaxas stays close to the story and refrains from any efforts at theory. All the more reason to read it: when it comes to the strengths and the limits of post-Kantian liberalism, we already have theory aplenty. But be careful what you read it for....
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His soul really shone in the dark desperation of our prison . . . [Bonhoeffer] had always been afraid that he would not be strong enough to stand such a test but now he knew there was nothing in life of which one need ever be afraid.

(Above is Payne Best's quotation, and below are Bonhoeffer's.) 

No one has yet believed in God and the kingdom of God, no one has yet heard about the realm of the resurrected, and not been homesick from that hour, waiting and looking forward to being released from bodily existence.  

Whether we are young or old makes no difference.  What are twenty or thirty or fifty years in the sight of God?  And which of us knows how near he or she may already be to the goal?  . . . Why are we so afraid when we think about death? . . . Death is only dreadful for those who live in dread and fear of it.  Death is not wild and terrible, if only we can be still and hold fast to God's Word.  . . . .

Death is hell and night and cold, if it is not transformed by our faith.  But that is just what is so marvelous, that we can transform death.
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"Bonhoeffer" presents a profoundly orthodox Christian theologian whose faith led him to boldly confront the greatest evil of the 20th century, and uncovers never-before-revealed facts, including the story of his passionate romance.

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