The Sacrificial Life and Prophetic Leadership of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Ralph Joglar, Fordham University


Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian, who is respected among Protestants and Catholics, as well as by both religious believers and individuals of a secular mindset. Bonhoeffer was a resister of the Nazi regime prior to and during WWII and was hanged by SS guards in the Flossenburg prison camp. Bonhoeffer wrote several books, which called on Christians to be disciples of Christ and affirmed the Lordship of Christ. Discipleship (1937) consists of his lectures to his students at his clandestine seminary in Finkenwalde, Germany. Life Together (1939), was written after the seminary was forcibly closed by the Gestapo. This historical study codes themes in which Bonhoeffer refuted key Nazi doctrines in Discipleship(1937) and Life Together (1939). In refuting these doctrines, Bonhoeffer created a Lebensraumwhich means a living space for the Church in an environment that had become hostile to it. An analysis of Bonhoeffer’s life and thought in these two works offers the reader Bonhoeffer’s assertions as to how to make faith relevant and visible in a culture that had become increasingly indifferent to and sometimes hostile to it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew that it was not sufficient to only preach the Gospel in Nazi Germany; every effort had to be made to stop the evil Nazi regime. The findings of the study point to Bonhoeffer’s proposed concrete theology that he livedout the prophetic truth daily and in doing so, made the Gospel a visible and concrete (i.e., tangible) reality in an antagonistic Nazi Germany.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Educational administration|Education history

Recommended Citation

Joglar, Ralph, "The Sacrificial Life and Prophetic Leadership of Dietrich Bonhoeffer" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30000889.