Dr. Reluctant’s helpful comments on Bonhoeffer
|February 7, 2015||Posted by Joseph Keysor under Blog|
Before continuing with my untimely meditations on Nietzsche, I came across some very interesting comments on problems with Bonhoeffer. I thought they deserved wider currency – hence this widow’s mite in the way of support for a fellow theological conservative who has not given Bonhoeffer the unquestioning and unthinking accolades he seems to be so often receiving from evangelicals these days.
Entitled “What to Think About Dietrich Bonhoeffer?”, the blog by Paul Martin Henebury is in three parts, and can be found at https://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/what-to-think-about-dietrich-bonhoeffer-pt-1/
Briefly, Henebury states the many obvious reasons for Bonhoeffer’s current popularity among evangelicals, but then asks searching questions about Bonhoeffer’s status as a Christian martyr. His conclusion is that since Bonhoeffer was executed for his part in the plot to kill Hitler, but not for the cause of Christ and an overtly Christian witness, he was not a spiritual martyr. He was a brave man who died for his beliefs, but many people, including Muslims, Nazis, and Communists have also died for their beliefs.
In a manner more sensitive and concerned than might be evident from this cursory overview (maybe I should just post the link and leave it at that!) Henebury goes on to look into Bonhoeffer’s theological beliefs. He notes Bonhoeffer’s regrettable obscurity, making the much needed observation that biblical sounding terms can mean very different things to different people.
Henebury points specifically to Bonhoeffer’s denial of the literal truth of the creation account in Genesis. This has very serious implications, including the introduction of mythology into Paul’s doctrine. If “by one man sin came into the world” is based on myth or allegory, what does that do to the gospel message? Nor is this merely a matter of Genesis. In other areas as well, Bonhoeffer did not accept the historicity of the Bible.
Much more could be said, but in the interests of brevity I will simply refer whoever might be interested to the article itself. In my words, not Henebury’s, there is a real question as to whether the current hero worship of Bonhoeffer by many evangelicals is biblical.
In the discussion following the article there are some reader comments about danger signals in Metaxas’ recent enthusiastically received biography of Bonhoeffer.