Metaxas, E. (2010). Bonhoeffer: Pastor, martyr, prophet, spy: a Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Introduction and Thesis
God has a purpose for each and every human being. From the biblical teachings, God uses certain individuals, especially the least expected, to achieve His plans for human beings. All difficulties can be overcome by these chosen individuals, although before humans it may appear impossible to realize certain things, but to God nothing is impossible. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a good example of how God works through people to show his greatness, especially a time when it appears to be no hope. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born and raised in a family that lacked a religious background. Therefore, when he decided to pursue priesthood at the age of 14, it was a great surprise for his family. In addition, he lived a time when dictatorship in his home country, Germany, was at its peak. Nevertheless, he managed to stand by the Lord, despite the rampant Christian persecutions during this period. To the end, the paper will be focusing on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life, and what he is known for. In addition, the paper will discuss how God has used him as a leader, as well as assessing his call into ministry and what led him to accept his calling.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in 1906 in Breslau, Germany. His family had no religious background, but was well-known for their exceptional musical and artistic heritage. Therefore, it is not a surprise he displayed an unlimited talent in music, and music was crucial during the course of his life. Dietrich Bonhoeffer started being curious about Christianity shortly after starting schooling, perhaps due to the influence of his friends who came from religious families. Besides, his parents’ characters showed a close connection to Christianity, although they were not religious. For instance, they taught their children to be generous, selflessness, and helping those in need. At the age of 14, Dietrich Bonhoeffer declared he was ready to pursue priesthood, something that came as a surprise to his family members.
He graduated in 1927 from Berlin University with a doctorate in theology. Following his graduation, he moved to Spain and America for religious functions, before returning to Berlin in 1931, at the age of 25, where he was ordained as a priest. Until his execution in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was renowned author and minister not only in Germany, but in other parts of the world.
As mentioned above, despite his family lacking religious background, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s parents’ personal attributes reflected faithfulness from the manner in which they treated other people. This, plus the influence of his friends, made Dietrich Bonhoeffer to gain interest on Christianity. Shortly after starting schooling, he could ask his mother various questions about God. From this point on, he became convinced that his calling was towards priesthood. Although he was ready to be ordained as a priest after graduating from Berlin University, his age could not allow him, as he was only 24 years old. Then he decided to move to the United States where he could put into practice his theology studies through sharing with others with common goals. His short stay in the United States and Spain gave him experience on how people were suffering for pursuing their religious beliefs, especially the black people in the United States. This experience transformed him from being a theologian interested predominantly to the academic perspective of Christianity to being a devoted man of faith. Therefore, it is no wonder he was opposed to the Nazi regime, which eventually engineered his execution, because of the manner in which it treated the Jews and Christianity in general.
Leadership Lessons Learned
Dietrich Bonhoeffer never enjoyed a good relationship with political leaders in Germany. By the time he became a priest, the Nazi regime had taken over power in Germany. He was opposed to this regime from its early days. For instance, two days after Hitler’s confirmation as the Chancellor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer attacked him during a radio address, but he was cut off air before completing his address. He continued to spread his opposition in the church, especially on the persecution of the Jews. However, his efforts were hindered because Hitler ensured that the churches in the country were under the leadership of Nazi supporter, through interfering with the church elections.
At some point, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was strained by the Nazi authorities. For instance, he was never allowed to speak publicly, and was instructed to be reporting his undertakings to the police on a regular basis. Besides, he was prohibited from publishing his work. He was arrested in 1944 and imprisoned for one year before he was executed in 1945. He was condemned to death in a suspicious way, because there were no records of witnesses, proceedings, or defense. However, even at the point of death, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was never afraid of glorifying God. It is argued that before his execution, he found time to say a short prayer, which is a sign of the strength of his faith in God.
Undoubtedly, Dietrich Bonhoeffer represents many of the people who died fighting for what is right in the society. He was always at the front fighting against the persecution of the Jews during Hitler’s regime. He was aware of what was awaiting for him in the long-run because of his stand, but through God’s power he found the strength to soldier on.
Metaxas, E. (2010). Bonhoeffer: Pastor, martyr, prophet, spy : a Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.