Do You Embrace Apostates Like Dietrich Bonhoeffer?
Updated: Feb 5
That Bonhoeffer was persecuted, I deny not, but “hero of the faith,” I trow not! Unarguably, he was an apostate in the very sense of the word (Ti 1:16; Mt 7:15; 2 Pet 2:1-2), feigning to be something he certainly never was. He consistently expressed doubt about God as a working hypothesis. He was a father of the so-called ‘death of God’ fad of some years ago. He considered much of the Bible to be myth. Bonhoeffer rejected critical doctrines such as Christ’s virgin birth, bodily resurrection, substitutionary atonement and salvation. You could say that he was the very fulfilment of them that Christ warned of in Matt 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
Consider some of Bonhoeffer‘s serious errors, before you endeavour to watch or read the lies on this false "Agent of Grace."
1. Bonhoeffer Denied the True and Living God of the Bible. He believed that the concept of God as a “supreme Being, absolute in power and goodness,” is a “spurious conception of transcendence,” and that “God as a working hypothesis in morals, politics, and science ... should be dropped, or as far as possible eliminated” (Letters and Papers from Prison, S.C.M. Press edition, Great Britain: Fontana Books, 1953, pp. 122, 164, 360).
2. Bonhoeffer Denied the Verbal-Plenary Inspiration of Scripture. He believed that the Bible is only a “witness” to the Word of God and becomes the Word of God only when it “speaks” to an individual; otherwise, it was simply the word of man (Testimony to Freedom, pp. 9, 104; Sanctorum Communio, p. 161). He also believed many sections of the Bible were “myths.”
3. Bonhoeffer Denied the Virgin Birth (The Cost of Discipleship, p. 215).
4. Bonhoeffer Denied the Deity of Christ. He advocated for the idea that “Jesus Christ Today” is not a real person and being, but a “corporate presence” (Testimony to Freedom, pp. 75-76; Christ the Center, p. 58). In his book, Christ the Center (1960, Harper & Row), Bonhoeffer wrote: "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!)" (p. 108). So Bonhoeffer didn’t really believe that Jesus is God nor that God has these attributes.
5. Bonhoeffer Denied the Sinlessness of Christ's Human Nature. He denied Christ’s sinlessness and questioned the sinlessness of His earthly behaviour (Christ the Center, pp. 108-109). "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" (Christ the Center, 1960, Harper & Row, p. 113). Wow, how terrible to trample the blood of Christ underfoot.
6. Bonhoeffer Denied the Miracles, Physical Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ. He believed that the bodily resurrection is in “the realm of ambiguity,” and that it was one of the “mythological” elements of Christianity that “must be interpreted in such a way as not to make religion a pre-condition of faith.” He also believed that such things as miracles and the ascension of Christ are “mythological conceptions” (Christ the Center, p. 112; Letters and Papers from Prison, S.C.M. Press edition, Great Britain: Fontana Books, 1953, pp. 93-94, 110).
“It looks as though our faith in the resurrection were bound up with the news of the empty tomb. Is our faith then ultimately only faith in the empty tomb? This is and remains a final stumbling bloc, which the believer in Christ must learn to live with in one way or another. Empty or not empty, it remains a stumbling block. We cannot be sure of it’s historicity.” (Earlier, on the same page, he states: “Even the resurrection is ambiguous”.) (“Christ the Center”, Harpers Ministers Paperback library. p. 12). Bonhoeffer has some serious issues with infidelity. Why did Bonhoeffer even claim to be a Christian?
7. Bonhoeffer Believed Christ is Not the Only Way to God (Testimony to Freedom, pp. 55-56). According to Bonhoeffer, it is a “cardinal error” to regard Christianity as a religion of salvation. The aforementioned question could be asked again.
8. Bonhoeffer was an Evolutionist (No Rusty Swords, p. 143) and believed that the book of Genesis is scientifically naive and full of myths (Creation and Fall: A Theological Interpretation of Genesis 1-3).
9. Bonhoeffer Adhered to a False Gospel/Salvation of Works (Testimony to Freedom, p. 130), was a sacramentalist (Life Together, p. 122; The Way to Freedom, pp. 115, 153), believed in regenerational infant baptism (Letters and Papers from Prison, Macmillan, pp. 142-143) as well as adult baptismal regeneration (The Way to Freedom, p. 151), equated church membership with salvation (The Way to Freedom, p. 93), and denied a personal/individualistic salvation (Letters and Papers from Prison,Macmillan, p. 156). He believed in a works-based salvation, very similar to Catholicism's idea of having to keep certain commandments to be saved.
Bonhoeffer treated the Word of God worst than tomatoes falling off the back of a produce truck. If there is wholesome food in a garbage can, then you might just find some thing good in Bonhoeffer, but if it be dangerous to expect to find nourishment in a garbage can, then Bonhoeffer must be totally rejected and repudiated as blasphemy. It is worse than garbage.
Though he openly denied and rejected the Deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth of Christ, the Verbal-Plenary Inspiration of Scripture, the True and Living God of the Bible, the Sinlessness of Christ's Human Nature, the Miracles, Physical Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ, that Christ is the Only Way to God, was an Evolutionist and Adhered to a False Gospel/Salvation of Works, amongst a rock truck load of other heresy — in spite of all that, this ravening wolf in sheep’s clothing is treated by most professing Christians today as an exemplar figure of Christianity. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only light he illustrated was that demonic “light” we read of in 2 Cor 11:12-15.
Bonhoeffer did in fact illustrate the spirit of the antichrist:
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” (1 Jn 2:22-23).
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30).
That happens not only through physically entering a congregation but also through screens, speakers and sheets of paper.
Embracing apostates like Bonhoeffer by watching videos on him or reading books about him, speaks volumes to the absence of any spiritual discernment in your life (1 Cor 2:14) and an unregenerate state. I am dead serious. If you were completely ignorant to his beliefs, that is one thing. If you think that he is a true Christian in spite of his truck loads of heresy, or endeavour to continue to hold him forth as a noble persecuted Christian in spite of the evidence to the contrary, that is an entirely different thing. Any material on him should be banished to the poison box or burned.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (1 Cor 2:14-15).