Last weekend Jenni and I listened to Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom, another first-class presentation by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. (Cf. my previous post on The Life of Jesus.) It is moving. It impressed me with how little the contemporary American church knows of persecution and how dispassionate we can be for the gospel. An edifying listen.
Disclaimer: I’m not expert in Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s theology. I’ve read a lot about him and only a little by him (i.e., his Letters and Papers from Prison, rev. ed., ed. Eberhard Bethge; trans. Reginald Fuller; rev. Frank Clarke and others [New York: Macmillan, 1967]). Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-45) is notoriously difficult to categorize theologically because his writings are sporadic rather than systematic. The work that I read is by far his most influential one (the New Dictionary of Theology calls it “one of the most influential theological documents of the century”), and it has inspired those holding diverse theological viewpoints spanning from conservative evangelicals to “death of God” theologians. The reason so many theologies could claim Bonhoeffer as inspirational is that his letters contain vague, serviceable terminology such as “worldly holiness” (p. 201), “world come of age” (the most frequent such phrase in his letters), and “religionless Christianity” (pp. 152-57, 172, 178-79). Although I do not appreciate Bonhoeffer’s seed theology (i.e., as I now understand it with the relatively little exposure I’ve had), I highly respect him for his courageous martyrdom and events that led to it.