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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Book Study Thread: Bonhoeffer

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Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211

 Re: John Brown's body.

Thanks BrotherTom for the added info. I have ordered the book and it said "Unabridged", clearly indicating that there are abridged copies. For now, I am going to read it on my own. I don't think I could commit to the format or time, anyway.

Thanks to all for their comments.


 2012/7/15 8:49Profile


Compton writes.........

"God is weak and powerless in the world, and that is exactly the way, the only way in which he can be with us and help us. Matthew 8:17 makes it crystal clear that it is not by his omnipotence that Christ helps us, but by his weakness and his suffering...only a suffering God can help.” (Bonhoeffer 1953 p. 164 Letters and Papers from Prison) For myself, this seems like the sincere efforts of a dispairing man to explain and even defend God's apparent silence during the dreadfully inhuman events going on all around him. Given the living nightmare he saw himself in, he can be forgiven if his Letters From Prison didn't quite sound like Pauls' letters from Prison; "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"

Excellent brother. Now this is a contextual comment as opposed to someone who admittedly has never read Bobhoeffer and gets his critisims and thoughts from " two websites."............bro Frank

 2012/7/15 10:55

 The book world is now the google world..and Utube..just the facts...

Excellent brother. Now this is a contextual comment as opposed to someone who admittedly has never read Bobhoeffer and gets his critisims and thoughts from " two websites."............bro Frank

I assume Appollus you are referring to me. Actually I have read Bonhoeffer, and considered him for many years. Yes, there is a wealth of information today easily accessible in the "Google" world, but this does not make it any more or less valid.

It is odd to me, that rather than respond to the 20 or so documented, verse and chapter references, to his anti-Christian heretical faith, that I posted, you choose to belittle me as pridefully ignorant.[ the "two websites" jab]

Rather than cynical slander about the depth of my post, why not address the issue I have proved. Was DB a Christian? I say no. Do you believe in his doctrine?

After all the years here, I am surprised that you will not keep your eyes on the issue [ the ball ], and not the man.
If you feel led, please address these issues. I respect your opinion, and would like to know your reasoning too, in light of the scriptures; our guide, but not a slanderous put-down.

Or, do you just attack, with contempt, any who would prove your sentiments wrong?

 2012/7/15 12:04

Joined: 2012/7/12
Posts: 185
Southeast USA



Wow! I am going to print off your post (along with BrotherTom's) to use as a helpguide for my rereading of this classic book.

I recommend that anyone participating in the Book Study do the same. Print off a copy of rbanks and BrotherTom's posts (with their permission) and apply the criticism and support to what you read for yourself as we go thru the book. I willl definitely be referring to these sources.
Thanks, saints!

I reread the Introduction last night and found that the Intro raises and addresses some of the same criticisms I've read about on these posts.

I will also look at the feature sermon posted by SI on "The Training of the Twelve" to see how this survey compares to the Beattitudes.

I love the post offered by SI in that Bonhoeffer has had a similar impact upon my "intellectual integrity" but more importantly, my spitritual integrity. I read it almost two years ago during a bad storm which left us without electricity for weeks. My life has not been the same since then. Of course, I was reading it under the textual subjugation of God's Word (as always!).

This book inspired and motivated me to live out my Christianity as a disciple of Christ. That is, a follower of Christ. My prime mover must come from Him and His teachings (in both the OT and NT) instead of my own empty strivings and superficial efforts.

My actions have meaning and relevance as a disciple of Christ, they didn't before - even in the midst of wordly success.

And I am more free as His disciple than my own agent of humanism. Life is more adventurous and the sufferings are like mere electrons swirling around a nucleus of utter joy.

The suffering in my life as a disciple has a new energy source rooted in Christ's joy. Hence, no matter how horrid the circumstances, nothing can happen to me without my teacher, Lord, and Savior knowing about it and allowing it (Bonhoeffer said this somewhere in "The Cost of Discipleship" - perhaps Chapter 24 - "The Suffering of the Messengers").

I am interested in seeing how spiritually mature individuals such as yourselves will interpret Christ's call to discipleship into your everyday lives, challenges, family lives, friendships, studies, prayer life (as though we ever stop), sufferings (as though it ever stops), joys, and all other circumstances Christ immerses you into.

After each chapter, I am going to share what particular aspect of my life changed and in what way. I'd love to know the same from you all.



 2012/7/15 12:29Profile

 Re: The book world is now the google world..and Utube..just the facts...

BT, yo write.............

"Rather than cynical slander about the depth of my post," brother, your post was cynoical slander. In your post you quoted another website, not Bonhoeffer. Rbanks and Compton quoted Bonhoeffer, you did not, hence the paste and copy charge.

I suppose you know the views of the " websites,' you quoted on Tozer and Guyon as well? It is this that I object to, that given your admission that you never finished " The Cost of Discipleship," because you could not understand it, you then make the claim that Bonhoeffer believed God to be dead and that he did not believe in the ressurection of Jesus. Why not, instead of just quoting another website, give us the quotes like Rbanks and Compton did, where you say that Bonhoeffer said that God was dead or that Jesus did not bodily arise. Anyone who has actually read Bonhoeffer knows that this is simply not true. I would think that after all these years Tom,that you would have a little more evidence of your owm, rather than others opinions ( which they are all entitled too) that Bonhoeffer was an athiest and a heritic, a high charge I am sure you would agree. I think you know that certain websites have agenda's and slants, is it remotely possible that the websites that you quote have used certain texts, taken them out of context, and come of with a pre-text to pander to a certain community of people? I think Compton's quote, by giving context, clearly demonstrates that. It was you that made the charge that Bonhoeffer believed that God was dead and did not believe in the ressurection. Rbanks quotes refute that yet you do not respond to that or give actual quotes to prove your accsuations. The ball brother, not the man, is in your court BT..........bro Frank

 2012/7/15 12:41

Joined: 2012/7/12
Posts: 185
Southeast USA

 We are not divided


You have the spirit of a true philosopher and protector of the faith. I respect this immensely.

Your detailed criticism of Bonhoeffer is brilliant, but I have to read his book again. I have a copy of and read "Letters from Prison" and I saw no signs of heresy, but rather a more intense attempt to work out his theology with impending an death sentence hanging over his head.

The proof is in the words of the man and his life. Have you read his book of Daily Devotions, "I Want To Spend These Days With You".

I have and he even more clearly enunciates his utter conviction and devotion to a more authentic form of Christianity in relying on God's grace to live out the teachings of Christ. Not in the form of monasticism (though it had its relevancy when Christianity was being smeared into the same canvas as the world) or asceticism, but, as Christ did, denouncing sin, but accepting the sinner. Participating and immersing oneself in the world without the world immersing itself in you. This was why Christ was able to fellowship with and affect publicans and prostitutes without becoming one nor being effected by them.

Discipleship makes me a more passionate and authentic lover of mankind. Bonhoeffer is just a gifted messenger, it's Christ's "message" that I follow, not Bonhoeffer.

It will truly be our loss without your contribution to our Book Club study on Bonhoeffer. (Sigh...).

I am confident that one day, we will be laughing about this in eternity (all three of us, incl. Dietrich, yeah!).



 2012/7/15 12:56Profile

 Re: We are not divided

Hi guys,

I believe that the charges of heresy, believing God is dead and not believing that Jesus rose again from the dead have been dealt with very well with extensive quotes here on this thread. The one charge that was not refuted was that he was some kind of "John Brown." Let me just say that Bonhoeffer was arrested in April of 1943 for being involved in a conspiracy, yes, but not to kill Hitler ( that would have gotton you killed either immediately or some time soon therafter) The conspiracy he was arrested on was for helping 13 Jews to escape to Switzerland, a place where Bonhoeffer could travel because he " worked" for the "Abwehr." More than a year later, the famous attempt on Hitlers life was attempted, July 1944.

Bonhoeffer knew men that were involved in that wide spanning conspiracy. Yet Bonhoeffer was not killed until just days before the war ended. So the charge that he was a "John Brown," was not and has not every been established and all we have to go on is the words that he wrote in his books. Perhaps some may have specific evidence that Bonhoeffer was a part of this conspiracy and theorefore justify calling him a "John Brown?" ..........bro Frank

 2012/7/15 18:23

 Noble and exalted commitment, but Christian?

KingJimmy weighs in on the subject almost 7 years ago on just one of the several threads discussed on D.Bonhoeffer here at SI. I thought it very clear, and well done, and answers the idea of "Confessional Christianity", which was important to DB...........

KingJimmy speaks:
To help clarify a bit, from my understanding of it (though rather limited), Neo-Orthodoxy is essentially a two-faced belief system. It has it's academic side, that pretty much accepts liberal convictions concerning textual criticism, history, etc., concerning the Scriptures.

However, it also has it's "confessional" nature to it which pretty much says that it doesn't care too much about the scholarly findings, though accepting of them. The Neo-Orthodoxy say that in spite of what we believe to be true scientifically, historically, and scholarly, we are going to go ahead and confess the confession of the othodox Christian credo. Essentially to the Neo-Orthodox, it doesn't matter if the claims of the Scriptures are actually objectively true. To them, all that matters is the confession.

So, to the academy they'll concede the findings of scholarship. When playing Church however, they'll essentially sound like the historical Christian faith. Thus, Bonhoeffer is widely read amongst evangelicals, and is quoted approvingly from the likes of Ravenhill, Katz, Christianity Today, etc., who are probably unaware of the underlying foundations and convictions of people like Bonhoeffer or Barth.

Essentially the Neo-Orthodox theologians are knowingly enter into a delusion. They truly believe the reality of the claims of Christianity are mostly false, yet desire to go ahead and believe and confess it's claims anyway. Thus, they can look very conservative and evangelical, and warmly received by many.

And no doubt, some of their insights are outstanding from which we as Christians can glean from. Even though Bonhoeffer is a Neo-Orthodox theologian, who can possibly deny the wonderful insight he offers in books like "Life Together?" This goes for any theologian. Even Ravenhill sometimes quoted from some liberal sources when he believed they were right about some of the things they said."

"Who stands firm? Only the one for whom the final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all these, when in faith and sole allegiance to God he is called to obedient and responsible action: the responsible person, whose life will be nothing but an answer to God's question and call." Bonhoeffer

In this he reached the epitome of the Noble cause, and in his martyrdom, an almost hero status. To Bonhoeffer living the life of Christ was only authentic in terms of paying the cost in terms of social activism; as was the spirit of John Brown, the great Civil War Activist of the same moral ilk and amazing courage.

The following are excerpts from Called by God, by Raum. There are thousands of references to Bonhoeffers involvement in the assassination attempt of Hitler, though this was not discovered upon his arrest, for basically helping Jews escape THE HORROR.

"He recognized that his ability to serve the church in the future was already compromised, but that Hitler's assassination was necessary, he did not doubt."
Page 133

"Dietrich, Eberhard, and the Bonhoeffer family waited anxiously for news of the assassination. It was difficult to hide their disappointment on hearing that the plot
had failed. More secret meetings and more planning convinced the conspirators to ..."
Page 142

Thanks to coded messages from family both Dietrich and Hansvon Dohnanyi knew that another assassination attempt was planned for July 1944. If it succeeded, the charges would be dropped. Hans took extreme measures to delay his trial ...
The Bonhoeffer family prayed that Dietrich and Hans would not be connected to the plot. After all, they had been in prison when the assassination attempt occurred. For a long time, nothing happened to change their situation and the
family ...and then, written documents were discovered identifying Bonhoeffer by name, and he was executed in prison.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Called by God By Elizabeth Raum

He believed that to follow Christ for a social cause was the only authentic Christ, and thereby participated not only as a Moses figure for the German Jew, and his band of Confessional young ministers, who were banned in Nazi-ism, but as judgment upon them, and became deeply involved in the underground resistance.

He forsook the safety and comfort of America to return with a more radical zeal, and ultimately was executed for it, when he was exposed in the assassination plot.

He was quite an amazing figure, and I can see how Compton could say, "a better man than I." However, I do not see a Biblical and Spiritual faith that he lived, and as elevated as his exploits exalted his character, I cannot see it as a Christian one. BT

 2012/7/15 20:13

 Re: Noble and exalted commitment, but Christian?

I can only repeat the charges, playing the ball and not the man.

Charge 1. Believed God was dead

Charge 2. Heretic

Charge 3. Did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus

Charge 4. Was arrested on conspiracy to kill Hitler, therefore a type of "John Brown."

All of these charges have been refuted in this thread alone as the extensive quotes testify to the opposite of charges 1-3. Charge 4 is simply false on its face as he was not charged with conspiring to kill Hitler. What he knew or did not know or what if any part he played remains totaly in the realm of conjecture. As far as him only believing in the " confession,' rather than salvation, this is totally incorrect. I suggest that a mere reading of the first three chapters of "The Cost of Discipleship," will shatter this charge completely. In those first three chapters Bonhoffer speaks about cheap grace as opposed to costly grace. He said that cheap grace was a mere confession, a mere mental assent to an abstract truth and that none of this was salvation. This is the exact opposite of the charge laid here against him..........bro Frank

 2012/7/15 21:09


This is a link from the holcaust museam in DC.

It gives a complete summary of Bonhoeffer's involvement in the German resistance ( yes there was one) and the latest book, an excellent read, completely agrees with this account. "Bonhoeffer,pastor, marty prophet, spy" is the name of the book and it goes into great detail as to his involvment in the intelligence and how he worked to help Jewish people escape and Confessing Church pastors avoid military service. It runs about 800 pages but is well worth the read for a comlete picture of Bonhoeffer....Frank

If it were ever proven that Bonhoeffer helped in the conspircy to kill Hitler, I would find myself in disagreement with him on that issue and if he were still alive he would have to rip up his major work, because being involved in the killing of Hitler would be the opposite of what he wrote.........bro Frank

 2012/7/15 21:50

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