Eric Metaxas has done a great service to the Church of Jesus Christ and to the wider world. He has given us a full and contextualized view of the lifeEric Metaxas has done a great service to the Church of Jesus Christ and to the wider world. He has given us a full and contextualized view of the life Dietrich Bonhoeffer, enabling us to see him in the fullest possible light of history, nearly seventy years after his martyrdom.
Metaxas wrote this wonderful biography as a sympathetic admirer of the great man, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. While it is a thorough history of Bonhoeffer and his family, it is more than that. It is the story of a man in one of the strangest points of human history, and of the church. “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” is a testimony of the important works that a committed man of God can do in times of great turmoil in the world. And for this reason, is inspiring and convicting.
I first heard of Bonhoeffer when I was introduced to his works, “The Cost of Discipleship” and “Life Together” during my college years in the 1980’s. I was very moved and greatly impressed by the fact that such a young man could write with such clarity, maturity, spiritual depth and wisdom. As the years rolled on, I, like so many other Evangelicals, fairly well marginalized him as a “liberal” that got a few things right. I have Metaxas to thank for bringing him back into my consciousness, and setting straight the record of Bonhoeffer’s commitment to scripture and his theological orthodoxy generally.
The book provides an insightful view of the historical context of Hitler’s Germany, and the intense struggle it was for Christians at the time to know how to respond to the change around them. We are all, Christians included, part of the cultures we inhabit. It takes considerable insight and courage to know how and when to act in opposition to the societal momentum of the moment. Bonhoeffer was a man called by the Lord Jesus for leadership in his time, and is, therefore, an example for us to follow in our days.
I commend this work as both a historical reflection on some of the most difficult challenges of the twentieth century, and a character study of a truly godly leader and servant during those times. But more than that, I hope it will produce an increased interest in the writings for Dietrich Bonhoeffer among Evangelicals today.
[Postscript: I found the first few chapters a little like an old dry and dusty history, which is why I could only give the book 4 out of 5 stars. But once Metaxas began to dig into the historical conflicts of the time and Bonhoeffer’s involvement in the problems of the day, Metaxas’ convictions and passion began to immerge with what seemed to me to be a wholly different writing style that was much more engaging – even humorous at times.] ...more
Sometimes, I think that, as Christians, our theology gets in the way of understanding our world, and even God Himself.
We tend to think that the BibleSometimes, I think that, as Christians, our theology gets in the way of understanding our world, and even God Himself.
We tend to think that the Bible gives us exhaustive knowledge of all there is to know, or at least all that we should know. But the world, and even God Himself, is mysterious and often manifests confusing and unexpected things. God is infinitely complex and incomprehensible, and has built into the world such wonderful inexplicability that we should expect to find it difficult understand or describe it.
Good fiction can help us understand more about the mysteries of our God and the world He for us to live in.
There are good and proper genres of literature too many Christians neglect or spurn altogether, including: fantasy, sci-fi, fairytales and anything having to do with magic. My contention is that if we can appreciate good fiction, we are more likely to understand more about God and our world. Fictional stories often have the ability to show us things that we often miss in everyday living, and help us to think deeper about things. They don’t have to be moralistic to help us to see morality in a new light. They don’t have to be in our world, or be “realistic,” or necessarily operate under the same rules of living that we expect every day to help us to see our world better and how to live in it.
Jim Ware has given us a good look at how many beloved stories are reflections of God’s truth, without being explicitly Christian. In fact, because they are not Christian per se we are forced to think about them more and relate them to the Christian worldview.
For those that love fiction (as I do), and for those who need to learn to love it, and for those who are suspicious about fiction (especially the typically questionable kinds in the minds of so many Christians) – I recommend this as a tutorial for how to read as a Christian. Your life will be richer for it! ...more
This is the basic primer for Driscoll thinking - and what it means to be missional.
It is well written and challenging. There are plenty of things toThis is the basic primer for Driscoll thinking - and what it means to be missional.
It is well written and challenging. There are plenty of things to quibble about - but its a great encouragement to allow/force ourselves to think outside of the boxes we so typically sequester ourselves in. It confronts our prejudices and preconceived notions about people (especially unbelievers) in light of Christ's example and imperatives to us about discipling the nations. It takes seriously the importance of sociological importance of cities and the need to transform cities for the Lord Jesus.
Driscoll is a great communicator and has been well used of God to proclaim a vision of Christian mission in a post-modern world.
Unmediated Dooeyweerd is a scary proposition. However, I can highly recommend E.L. Hebden Taylor's The Christian Philosophy of Law, Politics and the SUnmediated Dooeyweerd is a scary proposition. However, I can highly recommend E.L. Hebden Taylor's The Christian Philosophy of Law, Politics and the State. Now, get this subtitle: A study of the political and legal thought of Herman Dooyeweerd of the Free University of Amsterdam, Holland as the basis for Christian Action in the English-Speaking world
Although it sounds like it is fairly narrowly defined subject, it ranges fairly wide and gives a good summary of Dooyeweerd generally. It is an all out attack on natural law theories. Also, it gives an excellent summary of the history of philosophy in comparison to the Dooyeveerdian Christian Ground Motive.
I've had this book for about 20 years and finally picked it up this summer. I'm glad I did!...more