Dietrich Bonhoeffer (4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor and a theologian.
His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential, and his book The Cost of Discipleship became a modern classic. Acute and subtle, warm and perceptive, yet also profoundly moving, the documents collectively tell a very human story of loss, of courage, and of hope.
Due to theological influences in Germany he was a liberal theologian.
He taught systematic theology for some time in the University of Berlin. Deeply interested in ecumenism, he was appointed by the World Alliance for Promoting lnternational Friendship through the Churches.
While earlier in his life he was really just an academic theologian interested primarily in the intellectual side of Christianity, some time later he underwent a personal conversion, and became a dedicated man of faith, fully resolved to carry out the teaching of Christ as is revealed in the Gospels.
While he is well known for his theological writings his greatest legacy is his bold stand against the Nazi dictatorship. He was a vocal opponent of Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was one of a small handful of German Pastors who recognised the evil of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party and was prepared to stand against it. He was a key founding member of the Confessing Church. He was to pay a very high price for his stand against Adolf Hitler. He was executed by the Nazis in 1945 for his part in the “officers’ plot” to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
Bonhoeffer’s story is particularly relevant to us today, in that he stands as a witness to all Christians to have the courage to stand against wickedness and evil.