Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

I really wanted to like this book. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a brilliant theologian and a hero, this book offered the opportunity to learn more of him as a person. The first part of this book does that very well.

Towards the middle of the book, however, Metaxas falls for the original sin of biographers: an infatuation with the subject. He starts making assertions about people’s motives that he can’t possibly know, and he starts degrading opposing arguments in a manner that has more to do with opinion than fact. When an argument is decried as “double-barreled flatulence,” it does nothing to the intended point of the argument, simply paints the person making it as a caricature of a Buffon.

Ironically, this does no service to Bonhoeffer. Instead of being a master-theologian countering an assault against the church, he becomes simply the child at the end of the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” An important part to be sure, but not one that serves to describe Bonhoffer’s scholarship.

Author: Kevin

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