I have to admit up front that I am a Bonhoeffer junkie.  I first read The Cost of Discipleship as a freshman in college, when I received it as a gift from some wonderful Christian friends.  As I came to know Bonhoeffer’s story, I fell in love with the man God created and used “for such a time as this.”

Eric Metaxas gives us the story of who Dietrich Bonhoeffer was, and how he got there, in this very readable and moving biography of a man who was one of the foremost theological opponents of National Socialism, as well as a martyr for the Cause of Christ.  Through the reflections of those who knew Bonhoeffer, as well as relevant quotes from the man himself, Metaxas paints a portrait of a man of great intellect, unyielding integrity, deep compassion, and a profound desire to follow Jesus Christ, no matter the cost.

Bonhoeffer studied in the very place where the ghost of the great liberal theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher still roamed, and under the renowned Adolf von Harnack.  Yet, it was the influence of a man he would later meet and come to know and love, Karl Barth, which had the greatest impact on Bonhoeffer’s theology, discipleship and practice of his faith.  Bonhoeffer came to reject the premise of liberal theology, convinced that God spoke to human beings, revealing Himself in the pages of scripture and devotional practice, to those who would take seriously the task of listening for God’s word.  In ways which are beyond human understanding, God speaks, fresh and alive, to those who would choose to listen.  That mystery informed the young theologian’s comprehension of God’s desire to work in human life, as much as God had chosen to work in the lives of those whose stories were told in the pages of Scripture.  The conviction that God still spoke and called people today, would lead Bonhoeffer to active resistance against the regime of Adolf Hitler, and to plan for a replacement government which would take over upon Hitler’s death.