Monday, April 25, 2011

Bonhoeffer by Eric Mataxas

Metaxas has done a superb job in presenting the life of Bonhoeffer. I appreciated the section on the German church as Hitler became more powerful. We were partakers of the theological struggle as Bonhoeffer tried to maintain theological integrity.
Metaxas tries to keep Bonhoeffer's theology intact. Concerning the letters the imprisoned Bonhoeffer wrote to Bethge, “The strange theological climate after World War II and the interest in the martyred Bonhoeffer were such that the few bone fragments in these private letters were set upon as by famished kites and the less noble birds, many of whose descendants gnaw them still. All of which has led to a terrific misunderstanding of Bonhoeffer's theology and which lamentable washed backward over his earlier thinking and writing.” (466)
Metaxas speaks to the “ethical impossibilities” of the time. “In light of the monstrous evils being committed all around, what could one do and what should one do?” (470) I am not sure I understand why Bonhoeffer made the choices he did. Metaxas did a very good job, however, of explaining Bonhoeffer's actions and the consequences.
It is heartbreaking to know that he was hung only a couple of weeks before the places was liberated. The Germans knew they were losing the war, knew it was over, yet still executed Bonhoeffer.
Metaxas' biography will certainly be known as the definitive work on Bonhoeffer.

Thomas Nelson Publishers, 542 pages.

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