Posts Tagged Eric Metaxas

Quoting Bonhoeffer #10

Through such experiences, Bonhoeffer’s heart for the first time awoke to the plight of the poor and the outcast, which soon became an important theme in his life and theology. In the letter to Rossler, he touched upon this too:
Every day I am getting to know people, at any rate their circumstances, and sometimes one is able to see through their stories into themselves – and at the same time one thing continues to impress me: Here I meet people as they are, far from the masquerade of “the Christian world”; people with passions, criminal types, small people with small aims, small wages and small sins – all in all they are people who feel homeless in both senses, and to begin to thaw when one speaks to them with kindness – real people; I can only say that I have gained the impression that it is just these people who are much more under grace than under wrath, and that it is the Christian world which is more under wrath than grace [Metaxas in Bonhoeffer, 79].

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Quoting Bonhoeffer #7

Metaxas quotes a friend and classmate of Bonhoeffer’s, Helmuth Goes, who “recalled feeling a ‘secret enthusiasm’ for Bonhoeffer’s ‘free, critical, and independent’ theological thinking”:

What really impressed me was not just the face that he surpassed almost all of us in theological knowledge and capacity; but what passionately attracted me to Bonhoeffer was the perception that here was a man who did not only learn and gather in the verba and scripta of some master, but one who thought independently and already knew what he wanted and wanted what he knew. I had the experience (for me it was something alarming and magnificently new!) of hearing a young fair-haired student contradict the revered historian, his Excellency von Harnack answered, but the student contradicted again and again [Metaxas in Bonhoeffer, 59].

Later Metaxas writes,

Besides Harnack, three other Berlin professors had decided influence on Bonhoeffer. They were Karl Holl, who was perhaps the greatest Luther scholar of that generation; Reinhold Seeberg, who specialized in systematic theology, and under whom Bonhoeffer wrote his doctoral thesis; and Adolf Deissman, who was Bonhoeffer’s introduction to the ecumenical movement, which would play such an important role in his life and provide the means by which he became involved in the conspiracy against Hitler. But there was another theologian who had a greater influence on Bonhoeffer than any of these, and whom he would revere and respect as much as anyone in his lifetime, who would even become a mentor and a friend. This was Karl Barth of Göttingen [Metaxas in Bonhoeffer, 60].

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Quoting Bonhoeffer #3

But Bonhoeffer was no mere academic. For him, ideas and beliefs were nothing if they did not relate to the world of reality outside one’s mind. Indeed, his thoughts on the nature of the church would lead him into the ecumenical movement in Europe, causing him to link hands with Christians outside Germany, and therefore to see instantly the lie at the heart of the so-called orders of creation theology, which linked the idea of the church with the German Volk. This idea of a church defined by racial identity and blood – which the Nazis would violently push and so many Germans tragically embrace – was anathema to the idea of the universal church. So it was on this Palm Sunday in Rome that Bonhoeffer’s course was set in motion. Ideas had consequences, and this idea, now just budding, would flower in his opposition to the National Socialists and bear fruit in his involvement in the conspiracy to kill a human being [Metaxas in Bonhoeffer, 53-4].

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Quoting Bonhoeffer

On November 9 the kaiser saw no alternative and abdicated the throne. In a moment, the Germany of the last fifty years vanished. But the mobs milling around Berlin weren’t satisfied. Revolution was in the air. The ultraleft Spartacists, led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, had taken over the kaiser’s palace and were on the verge of declaring a Soviet republic. The Social Democrats had a majority in the Reichstag, but any moment it could all vanish. Just outside the window on the Koenigsplatz the angry crowds clamored for change, demanding something, anything – and that’s precisely what they got. Throwing political caution to the winds and a cheap sop to the crowd below, Philipp Scheidemann opened the gigantic window, and without any particular authority to do so, he declared a German republic! That was that [Metaxas in Bonhoeffer, 33].</block quote

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