Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Kind of "Christian" Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer?

If you didn't know, Dietrich Bonhoeffer lead the "Christian resistance" against Hitler in Nazi Germany and was martyred for it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer relates to American Creation's mission for a variety of reasons. We've discussed Romans 13 and the reductio "does that mean Christians have to submit to Nazi government?" And then there's the dynamic of folks wanting to claim someone who history judges as a great hero as "one of them." Evangelicals are certainly guilty of this, but no more so than any other social group. And at American Creation we -- or at least I -- highlight when evangelicals (and others) do that with America's Founding Fathers.

With that evangelical Eric Metaxas has done this with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And now some of his fellow evangelicals are calling him out for it.

See here, here and here.

A few points I get from the reviews on what Eric Metaxas does not adequately deal with: 1) Like a lot of his fellow contemporary German intellectuals, DB's "Christian theology" was imbibed in German post modern philosophy (indeed the very philosophy that led Heidegger to support Nazism). And 2) Bonhoeffer did not believe the Bible was the inerrant, infallible Word of God. Well there you go, that explains how his hermeneutic could get around an "absolute" reading of Romans 13.


Tom Van Dyke said...

Inerrant vs. infallible.

Evangelicism vs. itself. Get yr scorecards here. I have a headache.

"Most people outside the evangelical community itself are totally unaware of the profound changes that have occurred within evangelicalism during the last several years--in the movement's understanding of the inspiration and authority of Scripture, in its social concerns, cultural attitudes and ecumenical posture, and in the nature of its emerging leadership. ... evangelical theologians have begun looking at the Bible with a scrutiny reflecting their widespread acceptance of the principles of historical and literary criticism ... The position--affirming that Scripture is inerrant or infallible in its teaching on matters of faith and conduct but not necessarily in all its assertions concerning history and the cosmos--is gradually becoming ascendant among the most highly respected evangelical theologians. ... these new trends ... indicate that evangelical theology is becoming more centrist, more open to biblical criticism and more accepting of science and broad cultural analysis. One might even suggest that the new generation of evangelicals is closer to Bonhoeffer, Barth and Brunner than to Hodge and Warfield on the inspiration and authority of scripture" —Richard Quebedeaux, "The Evangelicals: New Trends and Tensions," Christianity and Crisis, Sept. 20, 1976, pp. 197-202.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Very interesting.

craig2 said...


Anonymous said...

The very first temptation on earth started witih Satan asking Eve "Did God realy say....?"

Here is the truth. Jesus said "your word is Truth" John 17:17.

That is the truth, believe it.