One of the “benefits” to being up till 4 in the morning for several nights this past week due to coughing spells is that I’ve been able to complete Bonhoeffer: pastor, martyr, prophet, spy by Eric Metaxas. This book is an absolutely incredible read on an absolutely incredible man of God who didn’t back down before arguably the most powerful regime the world had ever known.
Metaxas includes a very complete history of what went on before Hitler’s rise to power and how much of the church simply capitulated to the tyrannical Nazi heresy. His writing is clever, witty, and illustrative; through his writing, you are drawn into Bonhoeffer’s struggles as he tries to discern what it actually looks like to follow Christ in the Third Reich.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life is very reminiscent of an OT prophet, cut short because of what he preached and how he appied the gospel in such a seemingly hopeless time. He was executed just 2 weeks before the concentration camp was liberated which makes his story even sadder. To me, and probably to his fiancee at the time, but not necessarily to him. Here’s an excerpt from a sermon he preached while pastoring a German congregation in London, before WWII.
Whether we are young or old makes no difference. What are twenty or thirty or fifty years in the sight of God? And which of us knows how near he or she may already be to the goal?…. How do we know that dying is dreadful? Who knows whether in our human fear and anguish we are only shivering and shuddering at the most glorious, heavenly, blessed event in the world? Death is hell and night and cold, if it is not transformed by our faith. But that is just what is so marvelous, that we can transform death.