It's a big book, over 500 pages, and I'm a slow reader but I've now finished the most recent biography of the German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. It's the set book for the Theological Study Group at the John Owen Centre on Monday - and for once I am ahead in my reading. I enjoyed the book because I knew the name but not much about him. It was good to catch up, my enjoyment sharpend by having two and a half volumes of Richard Evans trilogy on the Third Reich.
I was once door knocking in Childs Hill when I came across Edwin Robertson (1912-2007), former minister of nearby Heath Street Baptist, Hampstead, and a great Bonhoeffer advocate. I guess it's the ecumenical, liberal and Barthian that make you suspicious but Metaxas (a Tim Keller fan - Keller foes the foreword) makes every effort to get you to look again and there are clearly things to learn from a man who for all his faults appears to have had more sympathy for fundamentalism than liberalism. I look forward to discussing the book.
Meanwhile one or two quotes:
Earthly bliss and humanity belong to God, not in any cramped “religious” sense, but in the fully human sense. Bonhoeffer was a champion of God's idea of humanity, a humanity that he invented and, by participating in it through the incarnation, that he redeemed. (457)
So Bonhoeffer was not "naturally" strong and courageous. His equanimity was the result of self-discipline, of deliberately turning to God. (463)
And from the man himself:
It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love. (458)
To renounce a full life and its real joys in order to avoid pain is neither Christian nor human (463)
Very stimulating stuff.
PS The start of the book is so brilliantly sparkling that it cannot be sustained and isn't but it keeps up a high standard throughout. It is a little hagiographical, perhaps.