Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of the best know Christians of the twentieth century. His death at the hands of the Nazis is an extraordinary tale of courage and Christian discipleship. But Bonhoeffer was also a serious theologian. He wrote and thought with an unparalleled independence of mind, creativity and brilliance. He has been admired by sixties radicals, liberation theologians, liberals and conservatives: a theologian for all seasons.
But it is as an ethicist that Bonhoeffer's virtuosity is most evident. How Christians live their lives in the world is a constant theme of his work, from his doctoral thesis on the Church, to his prison letters about 'Jesus the man for others', Bonhoeffer's constant theme is ethics.
Here, Stephen Plant writes for an audience previously unfamiliar with Bonhoeffer's work. He assesses Bonhoeffer against the harsh challenge of contemporary life: Does his theology make sense? What difference does his theology make to me? Is his ethic one which I can live by?
Additionally, Plant interprets the whole of Bonhoeffer's key works as exercises in theological ethics. Themes addressed include: Bonhoeffer and community; the role of the Bible in ethics; the place of Jesus in a secular world; and how Christian discipleship shapes daily living. The common link between these disparate themes is ethics, the attempt to listen to God's word in, to and for a secular world.
There is much in here for reflection and consideration. But it is an accessible book. It can be read by those with little knowledge of Bonhoeffer beyond he is important it is a book which repays careful reading and consideration. Expository Times, Ruth Gouldbourne, Bristol Baptist College