Sunday, November 1, 2020


Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
new edition 10/6/20; original edition 2009; 640 pages
Thomas Nelson

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas is a very highly recommended biography of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In this new updated 2020 edition a number of typographical and other small errors from the first edition have been corrected. I enjoyed my copy of the first edition immensely and it is a privilege to read the new introduction and reacquaint myself with an incredible man of faith.

"'Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. God will not hold us guiltless.' Though the words have never been directly traced to Bonhoeffer, do they not sum up what he said in so many other ways?" This biography of theologian and anti-Nazi activist Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) is an important and inspiring work that should be a must-read for any one who wants to know what the Christian principle of "dying to self" means. The idea of setting yourself aside and living for others and for God is often thought to be a severe task that only a few saintly people can do, but as Paul proclaimed, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Bonhoeffer fundamentally understood and embraced that belief.

Metaxas presents Bonhoeffer's life, starting with his family and upbringing leading to the various influences in his life that led to his profound faith and convictions. He also covers the historical background of the times for those who might not be well acquainted with it. Many readers will already know something about Bonhoeffer's work as a theologian and his resistance to Nazism and their atrocities, and his death, but this biography is a full account of his life and the decisions and choices he made that eventually led to his execution. It is well documented and Metaxas carefully notes the many primary sources and papers he consulted to write this very complete and accessible biography of an amazing man.

This is a life that speaks for itself, and Metaxas wisely allows the information and documents he presents to tell the story of Bonhoeffer's life.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Thomas Nelson.

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