Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

I've been reading this 600 page book off and on for over two months. It is very interesting, but there are many names, dates, and places to keep track of, so I can only read so much in one sitting. Plus, I put it down for several weeks during Christmas.

The author, Eric Metaxas, will be speaking at our church on February 27, so I am determined to finish before then. I only have 100 pages to go, so my goal is to complete it in the next couple of days.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pastor in Germany during the rise of Adolf Hitler. He was strongly opposed to Hitler's euthanasia program and persecution of the Jews. Eventually, he became part of a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. He was arrested in April of 1943, at the age of 37,  and awaited trial in Tegel military prison for eighteen months.

Before his trial, documents were discovered connecting him to the conspiracy, and he was eventually moved to Flossenburg concentration camp, where he was executed by hanging on April 9, 1945, just 23 days before Germany's surrender.

 Even while in prison, Bonhoeffer continued to write and work in ministry outreach. Sympathetic guards smuggled his letters and papers out of prison and into the hands of one of Dietrich's good friends. These were later published as Letters and Papers from Prison. Bonhoeffer's most famous book is The Cost of Discipleship, first published in 1937.

"When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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