Dietrich Bonhoeffer | Pastor, Theologian, Spy, Martyr… Evangelical?

Biographies | Church History

Published on August 28, 2020

Listen to an audio version of the article here.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a fascinating and compelling life to study. He has captured the minds and hearts of many Christians from various traditions and denominations. His popular writings have inspired many to deeper levels of Christian devotion and community. He bravely stood against the Third Reich in Nazi Germany during a period in history where evil seemed to reign supreme and his biographies have inspired many. However, Bonhoeffer was not a simple figure, and his complexities make him somewhat of an enigma. His theology in particular seems to have caused quite some stir within both liberal and conservative circles and it would seem like each person makes “a Bonhoeffer in their own image.” However, despite these complexities, there is much which can be learnt from this German theologian.

Early Years

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born on February 4th, 1906 together with his twin sister, Sabine in Breslau. He was the sixth of eight siblings: Walter, Klaus, Christel, Karl, Susanne, Sabine and Ursula. His father was a leading psychiatrist and neurologist. His family moved to Berlin in 1912 and his Oldest brother, Walter was killed in World War 1 in 1918. He was very talented at the piano and his parents thought he would become a professional musician. He was an exceptional child and decided that he wanted to study theology by the time he was around fourteen.

Before the War

By seventeen he entered Tübingen University then Berlin University a year later. There he studied under Adolf von Harnack among other liberal theologians and would be influenced greatly by the notable Karl Barth.[1] At twenty-one, he defended his doctoral thesis, The Communion of the Saints, then defined the position and significance of dialectical theology at a later inaugural dissertation. In 1928 he served as a vicar in Barcelona where he started a children’s worship service, taught a group of boys, and was active in problems of unemployment and homelessness.[2] He was admitted to the theological faculty in Berlin after his second dissertation, Act and Being, in 1930.

Later that year he was sent to Union Theological Seminary in New York for a year of study. There, he became very welcomed in the houses of poor negro families, working to understand the problem of racism—visiting Harlem and participating in negro youth work. Paul Lehman commented how remarkably Bonhoeffer built relationships with the negro community and was received as though he were never an outsider.[3] He was fascinated by negro spirituals and something about the struggle for equality by African Americans resonated with him. After the walls went up in Germany, he would later introduce his students to these songs.[4] He seemed born to be a teacher and flourished as such.[5]

Bonhoeffer, Hitler and the Justice League of Germany

In 1933, Bonhoeffer delivered a radio broadcast on Berlin radio in which he reprimanded the German public for following after a leader who would become an idol and lead them astray. The broadcast was cut off before he could finish—perhaps the first government action against free speech (an issue which is again relevant in our days!).[6] After Hitler became Germany’s chancellor in 1933, the Nazis dissolved the free trade unions, publicly burned books by Jewish authors and Nazi opponents. Barth together with Bonhoeffer, Niemoller and Jacobi met to form the Pastors Emergency League—a sort of Justice League of Germany without the spandex superhero suits—which would eventually become the Confessing church that was founded in open opposition to the Reich Church. The faith statement for the Confessing Church which Bonhoeffer authored unmistakably repudiated Aryanism and the Nazi attempt to get rid of Jewish presence.

The actions of Bonhoeffer and these pastors from the Confessing Church serve as examples for us today of not bowing to coercive, corrupt governmental powers that seek to invade the sovereignty of the church’s ecclesial matters.

However, congregations did not want a young, radical and antagonistic pastor who was so outspoken.[7] He then accepted a pastorate in a German congregation in London, not wanting anything to do with the Nazi ‘German-Christian’ compromise.[8]

Dangerous Compromise and Faithful Resistance

Hitler and his henchmen’s deceptive plan for the church initially began in compromise and an identification of their version of Christian faith with national identity. This sort of Church-State co-mingling has been shown to be disastrous to the true faith in every country that it has happened and a lesson which we should pay close heed to today. Many Christians today too closely identify their Christian faith to a particular political party or government which mingles in unbiblical ways the distinctions between the sphere of the Church and the sphere of civil government. The church must never let politics or government to pollute or govern what God has ordained and instituted to be His.

The German Christian Movement which compromised with the Nazi National Church ended up throwing away the OT because it was too Jewish, and using NT scriptures out of context to promote an anti-Semitic agenda. They painted Jesus as a non-Jewish, cruel anti-Semite which Hitler even called “our greatest Aryan hero.”[9] Eduard Todt said of Bonhoeffer that he “was almost alone in his opinions; he was the only one who considered solidarity with the Jews, especially with the non-Christian Jews, to be a matter of such importance as to obligate the Christian churches to risk a massive conflict with that state—a risk which could threaten their very existence.”[10] Bonhoeffer’s solidarity with the Jews possibly reflected his similar solidarity with the ‘Negros’ in America, having a natural inclination toward those genuinely oppressed.

In 1935 he moved to Finkenwalde where he lived in community with twenty-five vicars in emergency-built houses. Here, he wrote Life Together (1938) from his experience of the Christian community and his famous Cost of Discipleship in 1937. Some consider these two books to be “the distillation of his fundamental message—what it means to live with Christ.”[11] However, while these two books are certainly important contributions of Bonhoeffer, they do not fully represent this complex man’s theology.

During this time he resigned as a youth secretary for the World Alliance in protest of their failure to speak out for the Jews, helped his twin sister escape Germany and was forbidden to live or work in Berlin.[12] On November 9, 1938, the Nazis destroyed more than 7,500 Jewish shops, burned synagogues, sent over 20,000 men to concentration camps, murdered 92 Jews and desecrated hundreds of Torah scrolls. Very few pastors spoke out against these heinous acts of anti-Semitism, but Bonhoeffer was outraged.[13] In Life Together, commenting that Christian life is not in safe seclusion but rather in the thick of foes, wrote:

“‘The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared?’ (Luther).”[14]

Perhaps we need to think more today about what Christian life in the public square looks like for us. What does humble yet courageous God-glorifying Christian resistance to corrupt governments and unjust policies and faithfulness to Christ look like? The path forward cannot be one of inaction. However, it also cannot be one of haphazard action lacking wisdom. Bonhoeffer’s life challenges us to think about these things. More needs to be said about this, but that’s a discussion for another time…

Life Together (1938)

In Life Together, Bonhoeffer explored what it meant to truly live in the Christian community which is only possible through and in Jesus as our basis for brotherly love as adopted into the family of faith.[15] Bonhoeffer saw the Christian community not simply as something a person comes into to run away from themselves, for this would be a misuse of it for the sake of diversion and not really seeking community at all.[16] He saw it as a place of close accountability, encouragement, rebuke and intercession where God fashions us into his image.[17] Christian community does not allow unemployed members to exist so that each member knows that they are not useless or unusable.[18] He said, “Only where hands are not too good for deeds of love and mercy in everyday helpfulness can the mouth joyfully and convincingly proclaim the message of God’s love and mercy.”[19]

He also recognized the importance of the Word, saying, “Holy Scripture is more than a watchword. It is also more than ‘light for today.’ It is God’s revealed Word for all men, for all times. Holy Scripture does not consist of individual passages; it is a unity and is intended to be used as such.”[20] He saw that there is nothing crueller than the type of ‘tenderness’ that consigns another to his sin. Rebuke is then a compassionate act to call a brother back from sin and a ministry of mercy within genuine fellowship.[21] He called confession to a brother the ‘profoundest kind of humiliation’ that is a dreadful blow to pride. He wrote, “Why is it that it is often easier for us to confess our sins to God than to a brother?… we must ask ourselves whether we have not often been deceiving ourselves with our confession of sin to God, whether we have not rather been confessing our sins to ourselves and also granting ourselves absolution.”[22]

Life Together shows us his devotional thoughts as a leader—as an authentic servant of others toward mutual transformation. This is a good reminder for us today where the church exists in a culture of increasing isolation and assertive individualism.

The solitary Christian is an oxymoron and contradicts the image of life we see in Scriptures.

The Cost of Discipleship (1937)

In The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer called Christians to abandon their notions of “cheap grace” and instead hold fast to “costly grace.” Cheap grace was that view of grace that separated the justification of sin from the repentant sinner who forsakes sin. “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”[23]

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field or pearl of great price for which one gladly sells all that they own to have. “It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life… Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘ye were bought at a price,’ and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.”[24] Bonhoeffer stressed that when a disciple tries to insist on following Christ’s call on his own terms, it is no longer discipleship, “but a programme of our own to be arranged to suit ourselves, and to be judged in accordance with the standards of a rational ethic.”[25] Bonhoeffer challenges his followers to a higher level of costly devotion, inspiring them to move beyond the comfortable apathy of the prevailing cultural norms.

The question then must be asked – what does your discipleship cost you?

Bonhoeffer’s Costly Discipleship

When he was faced with the threat of possibly being drafted into military service for Hitler’s army, Bonhoeffer made plans to return to America. He accepted an invitation for a lecture tour and to teach at Union. However, after he had already crossed the Atlantic, convicted by the struggles of his cohorts against Hitler and facing the possibility that if war broke out he would not be able to return, he immediately reversed his decision and re-entered the fray.[26] He bid farewell to his friend saying,

“I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people. . . Christians in Germany will face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization will 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.”[27]

Bonhoeffer the Spy

Bonhoeffer’s brother-in-law, Dohnanyi, was on staff at Abwehr, the Nazi counter-intelligence agency—which was one of the primary centers of the resistance that covered up wartime activities and assassination attempts on Hitler. Bonhoeffer became a civilian member of Abwehr and was exempted from the draft, becoming a ‘double agent’ of sorts, able to leave Germany and cultivate communication between the resistance and Allied forces. He was also involved in “Operation 7,” a secret plan to smuggle Jews out of Germany.[28] Many were wary of Bonhoeffer and his activities while he worked as a double agent in Abwehr. He was able to write, travel, meet with people, go to movies, restaurants and live a life of relative privilege and freedom while others were put in positions of moral compromise, suffering and dying. He was thought of as a high-minded moralist who was unyielding and demanded others to be the same—but had he finally capitulated?[29]

The Duty to Act

Bonhoeffer’s brother, Klaus, and Dohnanyi were involved in the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. Bonhoeffer had no qualms about it, however, he did not at first become directly involved. His sister-in-law criticized him for only wanting others to do the dirty work. He carefully considered her words.[30] Eventually, after hearing the atrocities and horrors that the SS were perpetrating, although it never came to it, Bonhoeffer famously said he would be willing to kill Hitler himself if necessary—making it clear that he was not going to assist in something he was not willing to do himself. However, he said he would first have to resign from the Confessing Church in order not to implicate others.[31] He eventually would be involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler. He said, “It is not only my task to look after the victims of madmen who drive a motorcar in a crowded street, but to do all in my power to stop their driving at all.”[32] Though he was a pacifist, he concluded that withdrawing would amount to cowardice and “from where he was standing, he could see no possibility of retreat into any sinless, righteous, pious refuge. The sin of respectable people reveals itself in flight from responsibility.”[33] His conviction of the Christian’s duty to act is a challenge for us today to consider thoughtfully.

Bonhoeffer’s Criteria for Violence as a Last Resort

Bonhoeffer’s criteria for sanctioning, as a last resort, the use of violence were as follows:

  1. There must be clear evidence of gross misrule that will cause irreparable harm to the citizens.
  2. The appropriate scale of political responsibility must be respected.
  3. All nonviolent and legal means must be exhausted first before one considers violent or illegal means.
  4. Only the minimum violent force required may be used.
  5. There must be reasonable assurance that such extreme action will be successful.[34]

Political Resistance

According to Bethge, Bonhoeffer’s steps towards political resistance were not an abandonment of his previous thinking, but rather an inevitable outworking of that thinking—merely speaking the truth without action at some point just smacked of cheap grace.[35] Bethge explained that mere confession alone inescapably meant complicity with the murderers. Bethge said, “though we would preach ‘Christ alone’ Sunday after Sunday. During the whole time, the Nazi state never considered it necessary to prohibit such preaching. Why should it?… And so it became clear where the problem lay for the Confessing Church: we were resisting by way of confession, but we were not confessing by way of resistance.”[36]

After the surrender of France to Nazi forces and the ensuing bloodlust which raptured the German people, Bonhoeffer saw that Nazis would end up ruining Germany not by leading them to unavoidable defeat, but rather idolatrous worship of success. He made a shift from a position of outward opposition to now pretending to be in step in order to resist on a more fundamental level. Many serious Christians could not follow him into this sort of deception, nor did he ask them to, but he saw it as moving past easy legalism of truth-telling to a deep respect for ultimate truth.[37] However, he was well aware of the danger of this idea of “living truth” since it “arouses suspicion that the truth can and may be adapted to the given situation so that the concept of truth utterly dissolves, and falsehood and truth draw indistinguishably close to each other.”[38] Such are the complexities of dealing honestly with Bonhoeffer – and, likewise, such are the complexities we are faced with when dealing honestly with our life as Christians.

Evangelical Difficulties with Bonhoeffer

This is not the only thing about Bonhoeffer that would make him an uneasy enigma to some evangelicals. His book, The Prayerbook of the Bible, was written in rebellion to the Nazi regime. He published it without permission then feigned ignorance afterwards—seeing it as obeying God and not man. However, in that book, he linked the Barthian idea of grace: that we cannot reach God by our own prayers, but by praying Jesus’ prayers in the Psalms we could piggyback on them to heaven and be heard.[39] Those in traditions that are used to prayer books and liturgical recitations may have less struggle with this concept, however, it is an idea foreign to most evangelicals who tend to view prayer as a freeform personal and direct conversation with God. However, Bonhoeffer commented that the Psalms filled the life of early Christianity and where they are abandoned, an incomparable treasure is lost.[40]

Metaxas’ Evangelical Apologetic of Bonhoeffer

It is undeniable that one finds more than just traces of liberal theology in Bonhoeffer’s writings. However, Metaxas defends Bonhoeffer, saying that many in the theologically liberal “God is dead” movement has hijacked Bonhoeffer’s concept of “Religionless Christianity” and turned it into something for their own use. Metaxas says much of the liberal support is taken from Bonhoeffer’s private letters to his closest friend, Bethge, and had he known these ill-expressed theological thoughts would have ended up being scrutinized in seminary discussions, he may have been embarrassed. Bonhoeffer wrote to Bethge about whether he should share his letters that, “I would not do it myself as yet because you are the only person with whom I venture to think aloud, as it were, in the hope of clarifying my thoughts.”[41] Bethge in a lecture in 1967 said that the “isolated use and handing down of the famous term ‘religionless Christianity’ has made Bonhoeffer the champion of undialectical shallow modernism which obscures all that he wanted to tell us about the living God.”[42] However, not all buy Metaxas’ view on Bonhoeffer—charging that he too easily brushes off the issues.[43] The reality may be that Bonhoeffer never had time to work out much of his new thinking.

Bonhoeffer did make some very troubling theological statements, despite Metaxas’ apologetic in his defence. In a Christology lecture in 1933, he claimed that “the biblical witness is uncertain with regard to the virgin birth” and he also rejected the notion of the verbal inspiration of scripture.[44] He said in his book Christ the Center, speaking of the empty tomb and resurrection that we cannot be sure of its historicity due to ambiguity (though today many strong apologetic arguments have been made to confirm the historicity of the resurrection).[45] In the same book, he also wrote, “The Bible remains a book like other books. One must be ready to accept the concealment within history and therefore let historical criticism run its course. But it is through the Bible, with all its flaws, that the risen one encounters us. We must get into the troubled waters of historical criticism.”[46]

It seemed like Bonhoeffer was perhaps trying, as many good scholars must, to wrestle honestly with the challenges that biblical criticism posed while still holding on to faith. Richard Weikart, another Bonhoeffer scholar who sees him as a committed irrationalist with an existentialist worldview, says that most Bonhoeffer scholars reject the idea that his theology was compatible with American evangelical theology.[47] Bonhoeffer was a complex German theologian who believed in the validity of the higher biblical criticism of his time and praised Rudolf Bultmann’s idea of demythologizing the NT.[48] Others criticize that Bonhoeffer was not nearly as bold as he is sometimes portrayed to be and that he did indeed shrink back numerous times—citing from his Letters and Papers from Prison to show that he compromised and cooperated with the Nazis.[49]

All this to say that Bonhoeffer doesn’t fit neatly into what we might call an evangelical mould or even a liberal mould. I believe he was a man in process, and a man who reflected his times and context.

Bonhoeffer as Martyr

After a Jewish safe-house was discovered by the Nazis, Bonhoeffer was implicated as one of the collaborators. He was arrested in April of 1943 and spent the next two years in prisons and prison camps.[50] From a six-by-nine cell in Tegel military prison in Berlin, he wrote many letters to Bethge of his theological reflections, read books his parents brought him, his Bible and writing.[51] In October 1944, his friends attempted to liberate him to safety abroad—however, he chose to remain in prison so that he would not endanger others.[52]

He was transferred to a Gestapo prison and then to a concentration camp in Buchenwald in February of 1945. One of his fellow prisoners, Payne Best, said that Bonhoeffer always had an atmosphere of happiness, rejoicing in the smallest life events with an attitude of deep gratitude for life. They were loaded into a van to the extermination camp at Flossenburg. On the way, the van broke down and they stopped at a village where Bonhoeffer was asked to conduct a prayer service. He meditated on Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 1, then Gestapo agents barged in and took Bonhoeffer away to his court-martial and execution on April 9, 1945. He whispered to Best as he was taken away, “This is the end—for me, the beginning of life…”[53] The prison doctor wrote that Bonhoeffer prayed then bravely and calmly climbed the gallows to be hanged, commenting that in his fifty years he had hardly seen a man die so entirely submissive to God’s will.[54]

Conclusions on Bonhoeffer

In conclusion, Dietrich Bonhoeffer is not a simplistic figure for either the theological liberal or conservative. He has written some amazing work that inspires deep devotion to costly discipleship and Christian fellowship—God truly can use even crooked sticks to make straight lines. However, in terms of leadership, his life was far from perfect. Yet under extremely difficult circumstances he shows us a model of bravery, Christian intimacy, resistance against evil, deep conviction of justice, compassion for the oppressed and honestly wrestling with hard questions. “Six years before his imprisonment by the Gestapo he had written, ‘When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.’[55] Though they have not found his grave, his memory remains safely guarded in the hearts of those who have been impacted by him. “He has set a model for a new type of true leadership by the gospel, daily ready for martyrdom and death and imbued by a new spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense of civic duty.”[56]

If he had lived to his old age, perhaps we would have been able to see where he would have landed on various areas of theological controversy. However, instead, we see Bonhoeffer in progress—a bright life cut short and a man still trying to honestly wrestle with weighty questions of faith and reality in the midst of one of the most troubling times of human history. Perhaps part of the controversy surrounding him in evangelical circles is due to the desire to view things simplistically. We want to label him as one of us so that we can read uncritically and discerningly, holding on to what is true. But that luxury should be afforded to no one by the thinking evangelical. Bonhoeffer may remain an enigmatic figure to us, however, perhaps that is part of his appeal and why he continues to inspire and provoke healthy discussion—challenging us to costly discipleship from well beyond the grave.



[1] Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, 14—15.
[2] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 14.
[3] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 15.
[4] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 8—10.
[5] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 12.
[6] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 16. He was so concerned that the talk might be distorted by the Nazis that he privately circulated the whole script and incorporated the missing segments from it into his lectures.
[7] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 17. After faith statement was submitted to a group of some twenty theologians, the document became so watered down that Bonhoeffer himself refused to sign it and became disenchanted with the lack of decisiveness among many church leaders.
[8] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 10.
[9] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 169—172. Hitler and especially his top commanders despised Christianity and intended to use the church for his own purposes to benefit from the cultural cachet they possessed. In 1933 though, Hitler never hinted that he would take a stand against the church and many pastors were convinced he was on their side. See Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 165—167. The goals were to eventually cease the publication of Bibles, replacing them with Hitler’s Mein Kampf, to clear away all Christian symbols such as the cross—which they considered a symbol of weakness—and replace them with the ‘unconquerable symbol’—the swastika. Bonhoeffer’s own liberal professor, Adolf von Harnack, questioned most of the OT and liberal theology helped push things eventually to the point where they abandoned the written word altogether (174).
[10] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 21.
[11] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 10—11.
[12] Christianity Today, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Christian History Timeline, online.
[13] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 26.
[14] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 17—18.
[15] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 24—25. He said that, “Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate.” (30)
[16] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 76.
[17] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 86—93.
[18] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 94.
[19] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 100.
[20] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 50—51. He also criticized those who made arguments from life experience as their basis of crucial decisions, but missed an argument from Scripture (55).
[21] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 107.
[22] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 115—116.
[23] Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, 44—45. Cheap grace is the type of grace we bestow on ourselves, but not the grace to which the Bible calls us.
[24] Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, 45. He said that the only person who can rightly say they are justified by grace alone is that one who has left all to follow Christ (51).
[25] Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, 61.
[26] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 27.
[27] Bethge, Bonhoeffer. A Biography, 655.
[28] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 28-29.
[29] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 376. It is possible that some of Bonhoeffer’s correspondence that was written during this time as a double agent may be misread as representing what he truly felt and believed. He may have been writing duplicitously to throw off Nazi intelligence. However, for now, this is conjecture on my part.
[30] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 358—359. As a leader in the Confessing Church, whatever he chose, he had to consider others as he was not acting alone.
[31] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 388.
[32] Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, 28.
[33] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 11.
[34] Rasmussen, Dietriech Bonhoeffer: His Significance, 47—53.
[35] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 360.
[36] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 360-361.
[37] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 365. He pointed to the Sermon on the Mount later in a letter from Tegel prison about what does it mean to tell the truth? He pointed to Jesus getting away from following the “letter of the Law” to following the “Spirit of the Law.”
[38] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 365—366.
[39] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 368.
[40] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 368—369.
[41] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 465. For a fuller sampling of Bonhoeffer’s writings, refer to Green, Clifford J. and Michael P. DeJonge. The Bonhoeffer Reader. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2013.
[42] Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 466. Also for and exploration on the term ‘religionless Christianity’ see Pugh, Religionless Christianity: Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Troubled Times, where Pugh explores how Bonhoeffer is relevant today in light of science and the world we live in, the ‘eclipse of religion’ and what is meant by ‘religionless Christianity’ and how God can help us suffer and confront the powers today.
[43] See Green, “Highjacking Bonhoeffer”, para. 5—11.
[44] Weikart, “Metaxas’s Counterfeit Bonhoeffer,” para. 2.
[45] Bonhoeffer, Christ the Center, 112.
[46] Bonhoeffer, Christ the Center, 73—74. He did not hold to inerrancy and saw the Bible as having errors. See Stearns, “Bonhoeffer: Approaching His Life and Work,” para. 10.
[47] Weikart, “Metaxas’s Counterfeit Bonhoeffer,” para. 3—4; see also, Weikart, “Scripture and Myth.”
[48] Weikart, “Metaxas’s Counterfeit Bonhoeffer,” para. 9.
[49] See Keysor, “Two Reasons Why Dietrich Bonhoeffer Has Nothing to Say,” para. 8.
[50] Stearns, “Bonhoeffer: Approaching His Life and Work,” para. 8—10.
[51] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 32-33.
[52] Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, 26; Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 13. He refused to recant and declared that he was an implacable enemy of National Socialism—he defied it although threatened with torture and the arrest of those he loved.
[53] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 33-35.
[54] Kelly, The Cost of Moral Leadership, 35.
[55] Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 8.
[56] Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, 33.

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