By Theresa Newell, D. Min.
Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer stands out among German church leaders during the twelve years of The Third Reich. He was one of a small number of churchmen to actively resist the racist policies and actions of the Nazi regime. He called for an uncompromising stand on the Word of God by the Church of Germany in the time of its country’s greatest evil.
As a result, Bonhoeffer paid the ultimate price: on April 9, 1945 he was hanged at Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, weeks before World War II ended and the camp was liberated by Allied forces. Since his death, volumes have been written about Bonhoeffer.
The latest a new biography by Eric Metaxas. His best friend, Eberhard Bethge, spent the remainder of his long life documenting and commenting on Bonhoeffer’s ideas and theology. Bonhoeffer Societies were formed. The topic, “Bonhoeffer and the Jews,” figures prominently in these discussions, books and papers beginning in the 1960s. Conflicting opinions have given rise to many questions about this extraordinary Christian pastor and teacher. Have his commentators created a Bonhoeffer of their own persuasion? Did
Bethge himself go beyond what Bonhoeffer would have said about himself?