Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Dietrich Bonhoeffer — Not Biblically Sound
In my last “RAAH” post I included link to the article, “The Troubling Truth About Bonhoeffer’s Theology.” In the comment section I noted that I had previously written an article exposing some of Bonhoeffer’s false teaching but that I had received so much “hate mail” that I finally just deleted it. One of the commenters suggested I repost it.
I dug into my file of hard copies I make of all my blog articles and I found the original. It is a fairly short article, bearing the same title I am using for this post. Except for the paragraph explaining what led me to writing it, the following is my original post from 18 June 2008, and following it are some recommended articles for more information about Bonhoeffer’s false teachings.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian who participated in the resistance movement against Hitler, and he was hanged for treason for taking part in an assassination attempt. He was also known for helping Jews. So Bonhoeffer had some very good character qualities, but does that make him theologically sound as a teacher?
To understand Bonhoeffer’s beliefs and teachings I will cite just a few items from his book, Christ the Center:
So if we speak of Jesus Christ as God, we may not speak of him as the representative of an idea of God who possesses the properties of omniscience and omnipotence (there is no such thing as this abstract divine nature!).
In His flesh, too, was the law that is contrary to God’s will. He was not the perfectly good man. … The assertion of the sinlessness of Jesus fails if it has in mind observable acts of Jesus. His deeds are done in the likeness of flesh. They are not sinless, but ambiguous. One can and should see good and bad in them.
About the tomb and Jesus’ resurrection he says: Empty or not empty, it remains a stumbling block. We are not sure of its historicity. The Bible itself reveals the stumbling block in showing how hard it was to prove that the disciples had not perhaps stolen the body. Even here we cannot evade the realm of ambiguity.
He called the virgin birth a “hypothesis” and said, It is both historically and dogmatically questionable. The biblical evidence for it is uncertain.
Bonhoeffer, in this one book, demonstrates a very low view of Scripture, denies the divinity of Christ, denies the virgin birth, denies Christ was sinless, and denies the Resurrection! With these heretical teachings, why do Christians think he is such a great teacher? Perhaps because his writings make them feel “spiritual”?
According to David Becker in The Christian News (6/5/00), Bonhoeffer “espoused a religionless Christianity, and expressed doubt about God as a working hypothesis. He was father of the so-called ‘death of God’ fad of a few years ago. …he consistently had a low view of the Bible, considering a lot of it myth.”
Many Christians tend to have favorite teachers they read and are invested in, yet they refuse to use discernment to determine if their teachers are biblically sound. So much of this is the fault of our church leadership who fail to warn their flocks about wolves and even go so far as to promote them in their “Bible” studies and small group meetings. I have personally seen the use of Beth Moore, Henry Blackaby, Rick Warren, and Bruce Wilkinson, as well as many of their ilk promoted by church leadership.
Let’s be more discerning about who we allow to teach us about things of Christ and the Christian faith. Too many wolves are among the sheep.
For articles which go much more in depth as to the false teachings of Bonhoeffer, I can point you to the following:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer – spirit of antichrist? Should he be quoted by Christians?
Book review of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” by Gary Gilley. Not in-depth, but makes a point about Bonhoeffer’s false teachings.
While Bonhoeffer had some good teachings, his heretical ideas outweigh them, and Christians shouldn’t be promoting him as a teacher of the Christian faith.