book report: Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas

Not every book I review for Booksneeze is a winner, even though the books come gratis. But this is the best book I have reviewed yet. Like the author, Eric Metaxas, I came to this man's life with little knowledge. I haven't read any of his famous books, such as the Cost of Discipleship or Life Together or Ethics. Since finishing this biography, I have already started reading Discipleship, which has been sitting in my home library for years, neglected, perhaps even feared by me.

I always enjoy biographies in which the biographer adores their subject. Certainly, Metaxas wishes he had the opportunity to meet Dietrich in this life, but shares the same faith and has the same hope that they will meet in the next life with Jesus Christ.

At 600 pages, Metaxas spends time understanding Dietrich from before his birth through his early childhood and school days. He quotes generously from Dietrich's letters and books as well as those of his contemporaries. My only disappointment is a weak discussion of how this conservative theologian arrived at his conclusion to participate in several assassination plots against Hitler, not as an assassin but as facilitator in light of numerous Biblical injunctions against such things. The multiple attempts were foiled repeatedly as well as numerous coup plans. I want to know how did this brilliant devout theologian reconciled Christ's command to love our enemies and pray for them, from his sermon on the mount which Bonhoeffer's Discipleship is based on, with his participation in numerous plots to execute his enemy, whom he considered evil incarnate.

I take a strange comfort in knowing that even the most brilliant theologians have their blind spots as well. Overall, this book is written wonderfully and is hard to put down. It has served to prod me onto reading Bonhoeffer in his own words.
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