Dietrich Bonhoeffer was among the most interesting, inspiring people you’ll ever read about. Not only was he a theologian, a poet, a secret-service double agent, a musician, and one of the most famous martyrs of the twentieth century—he also played a role in the famous “July 20” plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
And through March 31, you can get Bonhoeffer for Armchair Theologians for free!
The making of a martyr
In the wake of World War I, the Germans were desperate for a strong, proud leader who would guide Germany to economic and social recovery. When the enigmatic Hitler became chancellor and later dictator, much of Germany embraced his ambitious vision. But not everyone was fooled. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a gifted pianist who, despite his aristocratic family’s wishes, became a minister and theologian, was determined to remove the Nazis from power—even if it killed him.
Nothing—not even Hitler’s suffocating grip on civil liberties—could stop Bonhoeffer from preaching the truth. After being banned from openly teaching, Bonhoeffer worked in an underground ministry. After his ministry was discovered and the church became terrified to speak out against Hitler, Bonhoeffer joined the German secret service as a double agent, helping Jews escape Nazi oppression. He even turned down the chance to seek refuge in America, where he was touring as a guest lecturer, writing:
“I have made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period in our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people.”
On April 5, 1943, after returning to Germany, Boenhoeffer was arrested for his resistance efforts. He spent the next year and half incarcerated, and was later moved to Buchenwald. Even while imprisoned, Bonhoeffer continued ministering and developing his theology, much of which is documented in his Letters and Papers from Prison.
On April 9, 1945, one month before Germany surrendered, Bonhoeffer was hanged. A witness said he approached the gallows “brave and composed” and kneeled on the floor “praying fervently to his God.” Even at the precipice of certain death, Bonhoeffer’s faith never wavered.
Learn more about Bonhoeffer’s extraordinary life and theology with March’s Free Book of the Month: Bonhoeffer for Armchair Theologians, which offers dozens of illustrations and insights into Bonhoeffer’s background and legacy.
Through March 31, get Bonhoeffer for Armchair Theologians for free! Then share this blog post to tell your friends and family about this amazing, limited-time opportunity.
P.S. You can learn more about Bonhoeffer’s life and theology from the man himself. Explore Bonhoeffer’s works on Logos.com.