This book definitely lived up to the high expectations I had for it.
The beginning, covering Bonheffer’s childhood and upbringing, was very interesting. Eric Metaxas did a great job of building suspense for the events we know are coming.
One of the most thought-provoking parts for me was Metaxas describing Bonhoffer’s conversion from theologian to devoted Christ-follower. Mextaxes did a great job of illustrating the difference between believing, defined as adhering to a set up suppositions; and believing, defined as all your actions, thoughts, and decisions stemming from your beliefs. In Bonhoffer’s conversion, none of his theology changed. Every other part of him just became synchronized to, and inseparable from, those beliefs. How fascinating to consider a man who studies and believes biblical theology, yet is not (or not yet) a Christ-follower.
When Metaxas gets to Hitler’s rise in power, the story moves from interesting to gripping, and remains so to the end. At one point, describing Bonhoffer’s move from an outspoken objector to Hitler to being part of the conspiracy, Metaxas says:
“This involved deception. Many of the serious Christians of Bonhoffer’s day were theologically unable to follow him to this point, nor did he ask them to. For many of them, such deception as Bonhoffer would soon be involved in was no different from lying. Bonhoffer’s willingness to engage in deception stemmed not from a cavalier attitude toward the truth, but from a respect for the truth that was so deep, it forced him beyond the easy legalism of truth telling.”
From this point until the end, I think every free moment I had was devoted to reading this book. The whole story was a great mix of theology, biography, and history.