Dec 12, 2010

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

From the New York Times bestselling author of Amazing Grace, a groundbreaking biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the greatest heroes of the twentieth century, the man who stood up to Hitler.

A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism.

After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double-agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the F├╝hrer, and was hanged in Flossenberg concentration camp at age 39. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the 20th century.

Bonhoeffer presents a profoundly orthodox Christian theologian whose faith led him to boldly confront the greatest evil of the 20th century, and uncovers never-before-revealed facts, including the story of his passionate romance.


Eric Metaxas was born in New York City and grew up in Danbury, Connecticut. Upon graduation from Yale University in 1984, he was awarded two senior prizes for his undergraduate fiction, and he co-wrote and delivered "The Class History," a satirical address that is a Yale commencement tradition. His books for Tommy Nelson include: The Bible ABC, The Prince of Egypt A to Z, and Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving. Eric lives in New York with his wife, Susanne, and daughter, Annerose.

Visit the author's website at

To read Chapter 11: "Nazi Theology" click here.
To read Chapter 22: "The End of Germany" click here.


Dietrich Boenhoeffer was an incredible man of faith, determination and bravery, and he did whatever he could to save lives that were destined for a cruel and unjust death during World War II, simply because of their heritage and beliefs.

This book is filled with a detailed history of Pastor Bonhoeffer from his childhood and right through to his brutal death which was directly ordered by Hitler.  His life had a huge impact on thousands if not millions of people. His beliefs and his message of hope changed so many lives, and he willingly gave his own life for a cause that he believed in --- freedom and justice.

When given the opportunity to review this book, I hesitated ... but only for a moment.  History is an important part of who we are today, and we can learn such valuable lessons from the past.  I sincerely wish that this book would become required reading for all politicians and government leaders, as well as all university and college students.

This is a huge book filled with facts, photos and details that might keep you awake at night, yet it is a story that we all need to hear.  Please read this book, and share it with your family and friends.  Think about buying a copy for your local government representative, or buy a copy to donate to your local library, or talk about it around the water cooler at your work. This is a story that needs to be talked about!!

Disclosure:  Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller.


  1. Sounds like an incredible book for an amazing individual. I'm quite the fan of history and remembering it and making sure the heros of yesterday are remembered today. Great review, and will keep my eye out for this one.

  2. I am glad you posted this review, he was an incredibly brave man and true Christian.

  3. I've heard really good things about this book. We studied about his life in a general overview - but not the detail that something like this book would offer. I'll have to consider adding it to my list.

  4. Some long time Bonhoeffer scholars are noFor a good critical review by a well known Bonhoeffer Scholar see Victoria Barnett in Association of Contemporary Church Historians Newsletter, Vol.16, no 3. September, 2010 She writes "This is a badly flawed book..... There are two central problems here.
    The first is that he has a very shaky grasp of the political, theological, and ecumenical history
    of the period. Hence he has pieced together the historical and theological backdrop for the
    Bonhoeffer story using examples from various works, sometimes completely out of context
    and often without understanding their meaning. He focuses too much on minor details and
    overlooks some of the major ones (such as the role of the Lutheran bishops and the “intact”
    churches). The second is that theologically, the book is a polemic, written to make the case
    that Bonhoeffer was in reality an evangelical Christian whose battle was not just against the
    Nazis but all the liberal Christians who enabled them (in fact, Metaxas is much kinder to the
    secular humanists, but that’s probably because they were members of the Bonhoeffer
    The result is a terrible oversimplification and at times misinterpretation of Bonhoeffer’s
    thought, the theological and ecclesial world of his times, and the history of Nazi Germany.
    There are numerous errors, some small, some rather stunning. The most glaring errors occur
    in his account of the church struggle, which is portrayed as the battle between the Nazicontrolled
    German Christians against Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who here leads the Confessing
    Church together with Martin Niemoeller. "