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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

BONHOEFFER: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy-A Righteous Gentile vs. The Third Reich by Eric Metaxas - Book Review

Eric Metaxas, New York Times Best-Selling author of Amazing Grace, has done it again! Thoroughly researched and masterfully written, Eric brings the life and times of Deitrich Bonhoeffer to a new generation. This is the first such bibliography on Bonhoeffer's life in 40 years.

From the back cover:Who better to face the greatest evil of the 20th century than a humble man of faith? 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 Adolph Hitler.

"...Metaxas presents the fullest accounting 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. 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.

This 542 page book includes photos of Bonhoeffer's family, friends and associates, members of the Nazi party, and the site of his execution. Metaxas includes an extensive biography, and the book is thoroughly annotated.

I enjoyed reading this biography. It contains much background material, and puts a face on human suffering. I feel now that I have much deeper insights into Bonhoeffer's thoughts, especially regarding his personal faith. For those who have read any of his writings, I highly recommend this biography. I love the fact that Metaxas fills the book with quotes from Bonhoeffer's writings, preaching and teaching, as well as much personal correspondence. Not only do we hear from Bonhoeffer directly. We also hear from family and friends, and even from his enemies.

The book is challenging reading in some places, as many names are included. I found this confusing at times. But I found it to be encouraging and challenging as well.

Eric Metaxas has given the present-day church a great gift in this superb biography!

For further information, check out www.ericmetaxas.com

"Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller."

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