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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational biography
I have been inspired by Dietrich Bonhoeffer's example since I first heard about this remarkable German pastor who consistently opposed the Third Reich and I have read other shorter biographies. So I was very pleased to get this book for Christmas, if a little daunted by its size - its nearly 600 pages, from cover to cover. But any misgivings I may have had about the...
Published on 30 Jan. 2011 by Pilgrim

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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good story but worryingly bad history
I must admit I nearly gave up almost straight away, some aspects of this book worry me. Historical truth matters, in a book that could be termed Christian, we need the truth.

Metaxas thesis is that the German's have been hard done to in the reporting of the war. Blamed for the first world war, all lumped together as evil in the second, he writes of German...
Published on 2 Oct. 2012 by VeniVediVocali


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-read, 11 Jun. 2011
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wore many hats, but the one he is the most remembered for is the one of martyr. In Metaxas's biography we are given detailed insight into the life and mind of a man who transformed his cerebral Christianity into a truly "living faith", which eventually led to his death for the sake of ending the persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust in Germany. Bonhoeffer tells the fascinating story of the upbringing, education, ministry, espionage and martyrdom of this influential, well-heeled German Christian who gave his life for others rather than give in to the false doctrines of Hitler and the Third Reich. A highly recommended read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty Christianity, 16 Sept. 2012
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David Bartlett ""not another book"" (Bedford, Beds United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Paperback)
This is a stunning book. Informative, memorable, tragic and inspiring.

I'd heard great things of the new biography of Bonhoeffer by Eric Mataxas, so got to reading it this past week. Although a lengthy read, it is a magnificent

My knowledge of Bonhoeffer was thin, although I was somewhat aware of his courageous activity against Naziism throughout the 30s and during the war. I also knew of his, 'cheap grace' idea, and one or two others. But now I I know considerably more of this man and his lived relationship with God. Although somewhat of an intellect and academic theologian, he always maintained a living, breathing relationship with God, which informed all he thought and did.

Much of the book explained the rise of Naziism, Hitler, and his gradual grasping of despotic powers. I knew something about the effect of the treaty of Versailles and the humiliation felt by the German people, but hadn't thought abut it's effect upon Christians in Germany. There is fascinating detail of the complexity of the relationship between the church and the state, and the unbelievable capitulation of the state church, even to the extent of the rewriting parts of Jesus sermon on the mount. Thus Ludwig Muller, the archbishop of the state church, wrote to other church leaders, (it were not wickedly true it would almost be funny)

'I have not attempted to translate the sermon on the mount but have Germanised it...'

And since meekness was not an acceptable Germanic attitude, Muller gave his comrades something more in keeping with the hearty Germanic image he wished to promote,

'Happy is he who always observes good comradeship, he will get on well in the world'.

There are some big themes in the book; the relationship between church and state, when is a church not a church? When is it right to lie or to kill? The role of suffering in the Christian life, the importance of community for Christian growth, and so much more. But what stands out for me were of a more personal nature.

I was taken with his emphasis on the importance elf personal times with God, which for Bonhoeffer meant daily meditation on small parts of Scripture, in addition to a regular praying of the Psalms, (it seems that unles and until we go through the sort of challenge and oppression that Christians in Nazi Germany faced we perhaps will never truly understand some of the 'harder' psalms).

I was also much helped by his repeated emphasis upon the importance of `life on earth', his was no merely cerebral or otherworldly Christianity.

God wants to see human beings,not ghosts who shun the world...'in the whole of world history there is always only one really significant hour-the present. If you want to find eternity you must serve the times.

And when writing to his fiancée from prison, his famous words abut marriage,
Our marriage must be a 'yes' to Gods earth. It must strengthen our resolve t do something on earth. I fear the Christians who venture to stand on earth with only one leg, will stand in heaven one leg.'

I loved his `whole life discipleship emphasis' (a la Mark Green and LICC), illustrated by a letter from one of his trainees in ministry. Here he reflects upon training under Bonhoeffer at the small seminary in the German countryside,

'We had an appreciation of all that give charm to the fallen creation..... music, literature, sport, and the beauty of the earth......, a magnanimous way of living. When I look back I can see a clear picture, the brothers sitting in the afternoon over coffee, bread and jam. The chief (Bonhoeffer!) returns after a long absence,......now we get the latest news and the world breaks into the quiet and simplicity of our country life...Does it dull the senses of your theological vision if I tell you that it was the peripheral things which were enhanced by appreciation of the central one.'

Bonhoeffer's attitude to death and dying was not fatalistic but supremely based upon his conviction that Christ is Lord of all, and nothing could alter that fact. All we are called to do is submit to Christ and serve our times wholeheartedly. Sounds easy....ok, ok, but what an adventure?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent detail that stays in our minds, 19 Jun. 2012
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The grand story of one of the great Christians who gave his life resisting Hitler is told in a masterful way here. What makes this biography especially good is the attention to background detail. And some, seemingly small at the time, come to leave their own picture in our minds. Take for example Bonhoeffer's first visit to New York in 1930. Metaxas carefully explains how rich John Rockefellow was trying to expel the fundamentalists from New York and had built a splendid church called Riverside for the liberal Harry Fosdick to preach his secular Gospel from. The liberalism leaves Bonhoeffer cold, and this brilliant aloof German, student of scholar Adolf von Harnack and friend of Karl Barth, finds his spiritual home at the black Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem where a hot heaven and hell Gospel was preached by Dr Adam Clayton Powell Sr. Metaxas could have left it there. But quite rightly he tells us more about Powell; that he had been converted from a life of hard drinking and gambling; that he had built a huge church in Harlem which by the 1930's had a congregation of fourteen thousand members; and something very moving. He was the son of slaves. Metaxas then shows through a letter that Bonhoeffer wrote to a close friend about his this time `...something happened, something that has changed and transformed my life to the present day', and he admits that before, `I had not yet become a Christian'. So, because of Metaxas digging to get the detail we have this fitting jewel of a detail about Bonhoeffer: the man who died fighting anti Semitism in Germany, almost certainly became a Christian through the preaching of a son of slaves.

There are many other examples of details that enrich and fascinate. One I will never forget is that Bonheoffer shared his last two months with Dr Sigmund Rascher, who as Himmler's chief `medical officer' had designed gas chambers, and experimented on human beings for science. Metaxas gives a full account of this, and the good impression Rascher made on one of his fellow prisoners. Payne Best, an imprisoned English spy, wrote: `Rascher was such a good comrade to us all...he was the life and soul of our party, and although he well knew the risks, never hesitated to stand up to the brutal set of guards who had us in their power'. Metaxas gives us a detail here that makes little sense, but still we can't shake it out of our minds: that a saint like Bonhoeffer ended up with such a sinner as Rascher. Strange world.

With all this detail Bonhoeffer is always firmly centre stage and his message to us today is still clear. Preach `costly grace', a radical following of the living Christ to keep church and country safe. For if the church is allowed to sail away into the grey waters of theological liberalism and formalism, as happened to the Lutheran church in the early 20th C, she becomes easy meat for the waiting sharks.

The prose on the whole was great: easy flowing, with plenty of colourful phrases like, `charging into the white jaws of the notorious Russian winter.' Or `Goebbels...erected a veritable Chartres of trickery and fraud.' As a British reader the many `wrote Mr Whoever' instead of `wrote to Mr Whoever' jarred a little; there were too many exclamation marks; and very occasionally a word seemed a little informal like, `goofball', `bent themselves into pretzels', and `fussbudget', which I assume means a spoil sport.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!, 5 April 2013
This review is from: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Paperback)
Utterly fascinating! I thought I knew a fair bit about the man and the times but I learned so much more.

I came away feeling I'd had a chance to get to know Bonhoeffer as a person, rather than just as a figurehead. His family background that very much shaped him. His theological thinking, some of it too complicated for me, but always grounded in a very personal faith. The clarity with which he saw through the Nazi propaganda, and was able to express the dangers to the nation and to the church. His courage in standing up for what he believed in. His very personal struggles when the opportunity presented itself to escape danger. His relationship with his fiancee. His frustrations with others, who were willing to enter into dangerous compromises. His

It took me from Christmas to Easter to get through the book but not because it was boring! There was so much to think about, to reflect on, to be challenged by. On the one hand, the book is a real page turner. On the other hand you want to linger on every page and savour the richness.

Read it!

Metaxas' writing style was at times annoying, and some incorrect details were a bit irritating, but overall those are minor things.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Bonhoeffer biography, 24 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Paperback)
This book arrived with me ahead of the anticipated time - great!
It was in perfect condition and is a delight to read.
This book really gives us an in depth portrait of Bonhoeffer as a man and a theologian who while having very definite views as to how to read the Bible and act out his faith, nevertheless was a very tolerant man who greatly respected the thoughts and attitudes of others, provided they were "truthful" and honest. He had a great relationshio with many young people and very close friendships with colleagues and former students. Laothing all that the Nazis - Hitler in particular - stood for he unreservedly committed himself to the overthrow of Hitler and his regime and did not shy away from making the ultimate sacrifice and approached his subsequenrt execution with dignity and with an indestructible faith in his God.
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5.0 out of 5 stars God Blessed Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 17 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Paperback)
Excellent and poignant book that is gripping at a time of great evil facing Mankind . In fact Mankind and Christianity what ever the denomination owe a great debt to Bonhoeffer and those who stood by him with in Germany at a very lonely time , while The Allied Forces , Soviets , Commonwealth fought to get to Hitler . Thank You Eric Metaxas for a book that gave me a better understanding of the evils of the Third Reich and that evil only prevails if good men remain silent , through his eyes . The book reinforces my own visits / study and silent prayers to the death camps we have visited . I am confident that Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an inspiration to Martin Luther King jr, Ghandi , Mandela as to the many tributes given by the many famous who have read the book in todays era .
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5.0 out of 5 stars This gives great insight into the real man and his moral courage ..., 3 July 2014
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Map "PMAW" (Cambridge, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Paperback)
This gives great insight into the real man and his moral courage in standing up for truth and justice. We are given the historical setting leading up to the second World War and Hitler's regime is exposed in all its horror. Bonhoeffer is outstanding amongst those martyred for their Christian opposition to Hitler's evil regime. This book is highly rated, a "must read".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 23 May 2014
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Received in good time
We'll packaged and appropriately packaged
Good product. Good value for money
Was very pleased with the quality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just Brilliant, 16 Dec. 2013
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What a great book! It is very well written and is very informative. Would highly recommend it to anyone. Love it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An important book., 15 Nov. 2013
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This book was recommended to me as worth reading and it is. Not just a history book but a book for our time.
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Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (Paperback - 30 Aug. 2011)
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