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Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy Hardcover – 20 Apr 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers (20 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595551387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595551382
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 4.7 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 406,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Eric Metaxas is the author of the New York Times bestseller Amazing Grace, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask), Everything Else You Always Wanted to Know About God, and thirty children's books. He is founder and host of Socrates in the City in New York City, where he lives with his wife and daughter. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Washington Post, Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Marks Hill Review, and First Things. He has written for VeggieTales and Rabbit Ears Productions, earning three Grammy nominations for Best Children's Recording. Timothy Keller is the founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God. He has also mentored young urban church planters and pastors in New York and other cities through Redeemer City to City, which has helped launch over 200 churches in 35 global cities to date.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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 size of the book were quickly swept away, as this is an engrossing account that really held my attention from start to finish. It's a very thorough account of Bonhoeffer, his times and his country: you get an insight into his thinking and his struggles and the very real difficulties faced by Christians who were patriotic Germans who felt the injustices of the settlement imposed on Germany after the First World War. But it was Bonhoeffer more than anyone who saw clearly what was at stake and so courageously stood up for what was right. As he put it in a letter to Reinhold Niebuhr in July 1939:

"Christians in Germany will face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive, or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying our civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose, but I cannot make that choice in security."

After reading the book, I also feel I understand the horrors of the Nazi regime as experienced by Germans themselves better than I did before - the book manages to be more than a simple biography, almost a commentary on the times. Its also a fascinating account of Bonhoeffer's own spiritual development and faith.

All in all, this is such a good read and such an important book. I cannot recommend it too highly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bonhoeffer - pastor, theologian, martyr - if I were to describe this book in two words it would be `mammoth' and `captivating'.

The book itself is one of the best researched books on Bonhoeffer I have ever come across. It includes numerous quote sections from his letters, books, sermons and personal testimonies. It includes writings from other parties, who wrote about Bonhoeffer and a story narrative that never fails to draw the reader on. Despite the size of the book I cannot recall ever feeling like my interest began to wane whilst reading it.

Bonhoeffer came from an aristocratic and noticeably scientific German family. At a young age he decided to defy tradition and become a theologian. His most noticeable writings are: Life Together, Cost of Discipleship and Ethics (all of which of fantastic). Together these books are his opus maximus (great life's work). Every theologian has heard of Bonhoeffer and studied his writings at some point or another. The depth of his writings are awe inspiring and thoroughly thought provoking.

What is probably less known about Bonhoeffer is his role in Nazi Germany, or the fact that because of this there is today a statue of him on the side of Westminster Abbey. At an early point in the history of Nazi Germany Bonhoeffer decided that the regime was evil. Originally he preached against it, but after Hitler experienced numerous military successes, he resigned himself to bringing down the beast from within. To this end he joined the Abwehr and began smuggling Jews out of Germany. Because of the interplay between the Gestapo and the Abwehr Bonhoeffer was eventually arrested and detained for 18 months at Tegal Prison.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have recently finished reading 'Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy' by Eric Metaxas ( Thomas Nelson ). This is a long ( over 500 pages ) biography which contains a full survey of Bonhoeffer's life, theology, and resistance to Nazis - this cost him his life at the age of only 39. Bonhoeffer was the first Lutheran pastor to forcefully condemn discrimination against the Jewish people, years before the Shoah. He also rejected replacement theology, teaching on the true relationship between Christians and Jews as set out in the Bible. This was unpalatable to the Nazi regime and the main denominations. The book is full of challenging material and covers universal issues that apply not just to the 1930s and 1940s but to our generation too. It is also readable and took me only a few sessions to progress through it.

Bonhoeffer was a rare person - he combined spirituality with a brilliant mind but above all, he had the courage to obey God. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a work that should be read by everyone - religious or not. Although one of the myths the book does refute is the idea that Bonhoffer was not a believing Christian - he must certainly was (in the most traditional way). Bonhoffer was indeed a philosopher and a highly educated person - but he was NOT a "social gospel" (a Progressive in theology) in the American sense. Indeed he regarded such people with dismay - Progressives (in theology)in Europe he sometimes respected and admired for their learning (although he did not share their opinions), Progessives in the United States tended to upset Bonhoffer with their mixture of ignorance and arrogance. Their lack of serious study both of scripture and of theologians over the centuries, and their belief that they were better than other people - particuarly "fundementalists". A belief that was not validated either by their knowledge or by their conduct.

Bonhoeffer certainly did not despise the uneducated (or confuse lack of education with lack of intelligence - not that he despised lack of intelligence either - after all some clever people do terrible things, and some very ordinary people do outstandingly good things), but he clealy did have negative feelings towards people who made a big show of their education (boasting that they knew more than everyone else), but actually (under their big talk and long words) turned out to be both ignorant and rather stupid.

However, this book is a lot more than an account of theological disputes.

It tells the story of a fight against evil, but also of a man's inner life.

What is it to be good? What does this specifically mean in practice?

Should one always tell the truth, or can it ever be right to lie or decieve?
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