Thursdays with Theologians – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Published November 23, 2017 by

Every Thursday, I’ll be highlighting an influential Christian from Church history – theologians, missionaries, pastors, and musicians.

This morning we’re looking at the widely known and famous German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), whose writings have been greatly influential in many people’s lives, including mine.

A Lutheran pastor, Bonhoeffer trained in theology at the universities of Tubingen, Berlin, and Union Seminary in New York. He was a lecturer in Berlin during the rise of Hitler and the Nazi regime, and played a central role in the Confessing Church and the Barmen Declaration – both movements to correct the wrongs of Nazi ideology and the theology of the complicit Church – and was an active participant in a (failed) plot to assassinate Hitler. Consequently, he was arrested in 1943 and executed in prison on April 8th, 1945.

Bonhoeffer wrote many works, both academic and popular, his two most well-known being Life Together, on living in Christian community, and The Cost of Discipleship, which includes the famous line “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

Bonhoeffer, in part because of his recent place in history and in part because of his participation in the plot to assassinate Hitler, has been featured in movies and even a board game!

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