Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy : A Righteous Gentile Vs. the Third Reich

Book - 2010
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As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent, and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents and saboteurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer--a pastor and author, known as much for such spiritual classics as The cost of Discipleship and Life Together , as for his 1945 execution in a concentration camp for his part in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

In the first major biography of Bonhoeffer in forty years, New York Times best-selling author Eric Metaxas takes both strands of Bonhoeffer's life?the theologian and the spy?to tell a searing story of incredible moral courage in the face of monstrous evil. In a deeply moving narrative, Metaxas uses previously unavailable documents?including personal letters, detailed journal entries, and firsthand personal accounts?to reveal dimensions of Bonhoeffer's life and theology never before seen.

In Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet,nbsp;Spy ? A Righteous Gentiel vs the Third Reich , Metaxas presents the fullest accounting of Bonhoeffer's heart-wrenching 1939 decision to leave the safe haven of America for Hitler's Germany, and using extended excerpts from love letters and coded messages written to and from Bonhoeffer's Cell 92, Metaxas tells for the first time the full story of Bonhoeffer's passionate and tragic romance.

Readers will discover fresh insights and revelations about his life-changing months at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and about his radical position on why Christians are obliged to stand up for the Jews. Metaxas also sheds new light on Bonhoeffer's reaction to Kristallnacht, his involvement in the famous Valkyrie plot and in "Operation 7," the effort to smuggle Jews into neutral Switzerland.

Bonhoeffer gives witness to one man's extraordinary faith and to the tortured fate of the nation he sought to deliver from the curse of Nazism. It brings the reader face to face with a man determined to do the will of God radically, courageously, and joyfully?even to the point of death. Bonhoeffer is the story of a life framed by a passion for truth and a commitment to justice on behalf of those who face implacable evil.

"Insightful and illuminating, this tome makes a powerful contribution to biography, history and theology." ? Publishers Weekly

"[A] massive and masterful new biography." ? Christianity Today

"Metaxas tells Bonhoeffer's story with passion and theological sophistication." ? Wall Street Journal

"Metaxas magnificently captures the life of theologian and anti-Nazi activist Dietrich Bonhoeffer . . . A definitive Bonhoeffer biography for the 21st Century." ? Kirkus

Publisher: Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 2010
ISBN: 9781595551382
Branch Call Number: 284.1 BON 2010 22
Characteristics: xiv, 591 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm


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Jan 01, 2018

More of a hagiography than a biography, and a disturbing book in many ways. On the one hand, Bonhoeffer and his fellow conspirators against Hitler were clearly on the side of the angels. On the other hand, he espoused a theology which had more in common with the 15th than the 20th century, and he and his fellow conspirators opposed Hitler as much because he and the other Nazi leaders were low class slobs who threatened the dominance of the aristocratic ruling class as for moral reasons.

It is worth noting that Bonhoeffer's storybook romance was that of a 37 year old pastor with an 18 year old fiancee whom he had known since she was 12. He has elaborate Biblical and religious justification for it. My wife (whose family is from one town over in Alabama from where Roy Moore was banned from the malls) thinks it is creepy and disgusting. By modern American standards, it is.

Germany clearly needed heroes in 1945. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, because of his international ecumenical connections, was a convenient choice, but also a highly flawed one.

bookloverjane Sep 21, 2016

What an inspiration - to read about a man who had such a deep Christian faith and who clearly understood the evil that was Hitler. Metaxas is a gifted writer.

Aug 17, 2016

An engrossing book about a fascinating man and the times he lived in. Very educational re history and religion.

Librarian_Deb May 10, 2016

I cannot sing this books praises highly enough. It is a detailed and comprehensive account of the life of a man with a brilliant mind and inspiring spirit. In no way did I mind the details that were shared, for every part of Bonhoeffer's life was fascinating for the thoughtful and intentional way that he lived it. As someone who is fascinated with history I also found the background information about what was going on behind the scenes during the World War II era in Germany fascinating. This time period is one that so much is written about, but these new details gave me new understanding of how it affected the German people and their families. There were many moral dilemmas that Bonhoeffer tackled, such as the role of the church and the state, whether or not it is morally correct to lie in certain circumstances, and--of course--the rightness of being involved in a plot to assassinate the leader of a country. I couldn't always follow (or agree with) all of the reasoning that was shared, however there is no doubt that Bonhoeffer had a brilliant mind and that his life was cut short far too soon. The relationships he shared with family and friends, and his fiance were also fascinating aspects of the story, and not only added emotional impact but also suspense.

A detailed biography of Bonhoeffer. The book may be challenging to read through, but if you read a bit each day, it will be a great accomplishment. :) otherwise, this book is greatly informative and amazingly written

Feb 01, 2015

Just loved this book! A very in-depth biography of a very fascinating man!

Feb 08, 2014

This is definitely a "heavier" read, primarily because of the rich vocabulary and prevalent theological references. However, don't let the size or reading level scare you, because, as is often the case, the greatest rewards come from the hardest experiences. Finishing and pondering this book truly produces some amazing rewards — inspiration for you life, knowledge of a great man, deeper understanding of history, God, and more. And in truth, it isn't that horribly hard to read, especially since Bonhoeffer's story is so unique and captivating. If you want to read something that will challenge, encourage, and inspire you — and above all, make you think — delve into Metaxas' meticulously reserached, beautifully written biography of a fascinating hero.

Sep 14, 2013

I'm soooooooooooooooooo glad I finally finished this book! Although this is definitely for high schoolers (mainly because of comprehension level), the story of Bonhoeffer is compelling; now I realize how important he was in his time. A great read.

Aug 25, 2012

A fascinating and tragic tale of this Christian martyr to Nazi Germany. The book describes his development as a theologian so be prepared for much in-depth discussion.

Metaxas' biography has motivated me to seek to live out my Christian faith with more intelligence and courage. Bonhoeffer saw in advance where Hitler was taking Germany and the world. German churchgoers were easy prey for the dictator in part due to abandoning the authority of the Bible as the revelation of Jesus Christ and through confusing Lutheranism with nationalism. The Allies failed to encourage the German resistance, which probably prolonged the war and led to much additional suffering. Fascinating history. Inspiring, practical theology.

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Sep 17, 2013

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Jan 15, 2015

Bohnoeffer had changed much from the 22 year old in Barcelona; the circumstances of life had obviously grown darker. In some ways it was if decades had passed. One sign of a deepening seriousness in him was his penchant for eschatological themes and a palpable longing for the "kingdom of heaven," which he communicated in his sermons. In a letter to Leibholz, he wrote that "one feels a tremendous longing for real peace, in which all the misery and injustice, the lying and cowardice will come to an end." he had believed these things five years earlier, but now he could feel them too.


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