Bonhoeffer, Barth, and Zinzendorf

Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer tells of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s first encounters with Karl Barth. Bathed in the liberal theology of Berlin, Barth offered a shocking contrast.

Barth said that it was impossible to do theology at all unless you started from the assumption that God, in fact, exists. In early 20th century Germany, this was a controversial assertion.

Equally interesting to me was the story of Bonhoeffer’s family religion. He had been raised in a family that had strong connections to the Moravian traditions founded by Count Zinzendorf, who John Wesley both learned from and later rejected.

The United Methodists declared Bonhoeffer a martyr in 2008. Although I always saw the affinities between Wesley and Bonhoeffer by reading their works, I did not know Count Zinzendorf had influence on both of them.

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2 thoughts on “Bonhoeffer, Barth, and Zinzendorf

  1. I received the Bonhoeffer book as a Christmas gift (by request!) and am excited to be reading it. Just starting into the morass of the Weimar Republic.

  2. When I finished “Mere Christianity” I started Bonhoeffer’s “Letters and Papers from Prison.” I will be reading it slowly mainly on weekend mornings but I am already enjoying it.

    Have a blessed new year.

    Grace and Peace.

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