THE THEOLOGY OF DIETRICH BONHOEFFER by John D. Th.D. Godsey
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THE THEOLOGY OF DIETRICH BONHOEFFER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The quiet title of this book masks the story of a humble Christian with a great mind who was chosen by God to live and work and die in the Germany which brought forth Hitler and then disintegrated with him. Who will read such a book? Theologians, of course, for Bonhoeffer's is one of the really formative German minds and his Sanctorum Communio is a classic contribution to the concept of the Church. He was one with, but never a pupil of, the group of great German theologians, -- Barth, Thurneysen, Brunner, Gogarten, Tillich, and Bultmann. He shared the magnificent protest which the dialectical theologians made to the vague liberalism of the early twentieth century, and better than any of them, he understood the sociological and corporate nature of the Church. No student of Church History can afford to ignore this book, for here is a man who is caught in a crucial phase and ultimately paid with his life for sharing in the plot to eliminate Hitler. He was hanged in a concentration camp that was liberated by the Allies only eight days later. If your interest is biography, here is your book. Bonhoeffer lived through the bitterness of both defeats of his native Germany, knows about inflation, depression, and militarism. Furthermore, he is the kind of person who deliberately, and, knowing the consequences, returns from a safe haven in the United States to take over his task as the head of an ""illegal"" Confessional Church Seminary one month before Hitler invaded Poland. Throughout the thirties, and even through the early years of World War II, Bonhoeffer continued to represent the Confessional Church in its relations with the Ecumenical Movement, and his writings and teachings are basic to an understanding of the formation of the World Council of Churches. Even an ordinary layman will read this book with great interest provided he has a bit more than average theological vocabulary, for Bonhoeffer writes in an easy and simple way, and his biographer has caught the warmth of the man's personality, as well as quoting very extensively from the original works to give us this complete picture of the man and his thought. In reading the book, we feel we are learning to know a man whose ideas are valuable to us.

Publisher: Westminster Press