Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy Bonhoeffer question

What stood out to you in this book? What did it promote? What can we take home from this book?
Montana Phan Montana Sep 09, 2012 05:55PM
I enjoy how this book promotes thinking discussions, meaning deep discussions. This book encourages me to think harder and to challenge myself and to talk about what really matters. To go deeper than is required, to think harder than is expected.

I don't believe that Bonhoeffer was unaware of God's ability to kill Hitler. Rather, I think that he was remembering that God often uses human agents to carry out his will, for instance the Philistine's oppression of Israel because of the nation's unfaithfulness. It seems that Bonhoeffer struggled with this idea and prayed through it before coming to the conclusion that God had called him to be part of the conspiracy against Hitler.

As I finished this book I found myself comparing it to The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I'm still thinking through the implications of Bonhoeffer's willingness to lie to the Gestapo in order to play his part in the conspiracy versus ten Boom's belief that she had to tell the truth in all situations and let God handle the consequences.

After reading this biography of Bonhoeffer I am even more convinced that his philosophy can and should be filling our inner spirits with his kind of peace and faith and the necessity that we must realize that, yes, Christ is within us....But, think about the wonder of us in Christ. My..that changes things. This book is the most detailed biography and riveting accounts I have read. My advice is to read this biography before reading his writings. Yes, I recommend 'Life Together' but after the biography.

Haven't read ten Boom, but Bonhoeffer's thinking was fascinating. He decided that what he was doing was God's will after great consideration. His early life was quite interesting with the discussions in the family. If they expressed an opinion at home, they had to explain why and justify it - and justify it rationally, which taught clear thinking. He applied this to his life and his study of theology. His family was surprised when he chose theology. In the last few chapters it covers the fact that Bonhoeffer thought that God and Christ should be lived every day, each day should be spent in God's will, not separate from everyday life. He did not think Christianity was just a Sunday religion to be practiced sort of during the time not spent in church.
The plot against Hitler took a terrible toll on his family and he lost a lot of friends through either fighting or refusing to fight in the army. He had to smuggle his twin sister, her husband and family to Sweden because her husband was of Jewish descent. His ever-deepening search for understanding and faith were really amazing. This is a must-read book.
I know the first part of this is used as justification for crazy people - the "God's will" thing. But this was different - a different reasoning and understanding. And I'm just talking myself into a corner, but Bonhoeffer's family though his father and brothers-in-law knew how evil Hitler really was. The book explains all of this in relation to Hitler and his henchmen's thinking. It is all fascinatingly laid out.

deleted member Jul 25, 2013 11:05AM   0 votes
The character of Bonhoeffer. He grew up with the finest things one could ask for, especially a close-knit family. He willingly gave up all of this for his mission to live for God. He didn't think twice of standing for his faith. He knew he was up against Hitler, etc. Yet that didn't stop him. He was faithful to Jesus to the end. Now that kind of stamina I admire.

now I know I MUST read this book! of course there is a huge pile to add it to.....
Bonhoeffer is not a stranger to me, but to know more details about him would be great.
he is the most well known of the handful of Christian leaders who stood up to the reich. there were so few, it is hard to imagine what it must have been like.

Excellent book. If you read it, then I encourage you to read “Life Together” by Bonhoeffer, which reveals his perspective of Christians in fellowship, worked out in the underground church.

It's been a few months, so I may be mis-remembering. I recall being impressed with how Bonhoeffer was kind of the moral compas for the comspirators--that they could be considering this action as being the ultimate moral good, even though it involved taking a life.

I also--in any book about pre-war Germany--find myself struggling with the question of what I would have done--would I have quietly acquiesced to the force of government or would I have still boldly associated with Jews and shopped at their shops?

Montana wrote: "I enjoy how this book promotes thinking discussions, meaning deep discussions. This book encourages me to think harder and to challenge myself and to talk about what really matters. To go deeper ..."

Courage to stand behind the deepest thoughts you know are based on Truth; in other words, to put your neck on the chopping block to follow your heart, your deepest convictions.

Bonhoeffer was a truly amazing individual, and this book made me even more aware that one’s true personality shines during the greatest turmoil. He fought for what he thought was right, even knowing that he could die or worse. Acts such as these serve as a reminder to fight for what I think is right, even in the face of severe oppression.

What stood out to me is how he made every decision in his life based on his values and beliefs. No bending. No wavering. Not even when he knew he could lose his life. I read about a man like this and I feel like a much lesser person. This is what God intends for us. A remarkable man.

I love this book. It is well-researched, well- written and engaging.

Other than what has already been written, a highlight was Bonhoeffer's appreciation of the Black Gospel and the impact that had on his future dealings with Nazi Germany. I wonder if he never encountered the plight of Black America in th 1920's, would his stance on Nazism be as strong.

I was fascinated by the fact that Bonhoeffer and others thought they had to personally kill Hitler: Didn't they realize if God wanted Hitler gone - he could do it himself.

My favourite quote from the book is:
"If you weren't arguing with Dietrich, then you weren't his friend."


People who draw parallels to the US today and Nazi Germany do not understand the profound political difference in our national temperament and political institutions.

At the moment, we are over-reacting to terrorism and compromising civil liberties in the name of security. We often do that when frightened, and clearly Mssrs. Bush and Obama have been frightened by the threat of terrorism and reacted accordingly.

But one of the things that is great about the US is that, through our history, we have shown the ability to re-strike the important balance between liberty and security as needed when circumstances change. That is what we are doing now.

And in 3 years we will have another president with the opportunity to fine tune it again.

M 25x33
Joe Hello Brad, I must confess that the parallels are not a tailor fit.I must also confess that I am speaking as one who lives outside the U.S. I reside i ...more
Dec 29, 2013 02:58PM · flag

In all honesty, I think that the history recorded here is closely reminiscent to the current state of affairs and trajectory of the United States. Similar attitudes and loss of freedoms are coming down. Currently "Terrorism" is being trumpeted like a call that the sky is falling. We will all be "carrying papers" soon.
Bonhoeffer, was a person who saw it coming and remained faithful.

deleted user I, too, admire Bonhoeffer's deciding to remain faithful despite all that was happening around him. ...more
Nov 18, 2013 05:33PM · flag

deleted member Apr 03, 2014 06:49PM   -1 votes
I believe what stood out to me was how his parents raised him and how four years of world war 1 and losing two brothers during his childhood must have affected him. Another thing is how He decided to become a theologian at age fourteen how many fourteen year olds do you know of who want to do that He clearly was very gifted right from the beggining.

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