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Do You Embrace Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an Agent of Apostasy?

Updated: Mar 6, 2023


Dietrich Bonhoeffer is extremely popular amongst evangelicals and reformed/calvinists. 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; Matt 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, heretical 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 of Christ (The Cost of Discipleship, p. 215).


The following quotes reveals how terribly confused Bonhoeffer was, and extremely heretical concerning Christ, claiming that those who make up "the Church" are the "Revelation and Word of God"! Yikes.

“He speaks and thereby creates the form of the Church. This Church is thus not only the receiver of the Word, but is itself Revelation and Word of God" (Christ the Center, p. 58).

And,

“But the Word is also itself Church, in so far as the Church itself is revelation and the Word wishes to have the form of a created body?” (Christ the Center, p. 59).

What?!? The Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Word, wishes to have the form of a "created body"?!? I don’t think so, He already came in humanity, but was not created, He always was.


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 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, 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.” (Christ the Center, p. 112).

On the same page he states,

“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.”

He also believed that such things as miracles and the ascension of Christ are “mythological conceptions” (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, 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.


According to Bonhoeffer, it is a “cardinal error” to regard Christianity as a religion of salvation (Testimony to Freedom, pp. 55-56).


The aforementioned question could be asked again. Why did Bonhoeffer even claim to be a Christian?


8. Bonhoeffer was an Evolutionist.


In No Rusty Swords (p. 143), he propagated the idea of evolution.


He also 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 Believed that Christ was Really Present in the Eucharist.


“The eucharist is the repeated feeding of the confessing community of the baptized with the ‘true body and blood’ of Christ, the faithful are assured of their ‘physical’ communion with the Lord and each other, and ‘receive forgiveness of sins’ through Christ’s body . . . [The one condition is given by Bonhoeffer in order to be able to take the eucharist]. One “must be able to distinguish between the body of Christ and any other meal, i.e., he must come in order to receive ‘truly’ the body and blood of Christ.” (Christ the Center, pp. 58-59).

No part of Jesus Christ, NOT His body or blood, was present in the blasphemous eucharist. The Lord Jesus is NOT being sacrificed daily in the Catholic mass! The eucharist does NOT provide the forgiveness of sins. The "real body" of Jesus Christ is NOT present in the Eucharist.


The Bible tells us that Christ's Sacrifice was once for all (Heb 10:10, 14). God the Son said His words about the body and the blood were "spirit and life" (Jn 6:48-71). Christ’s real body and real blood are not present in the bread or drink, nor is there any new sacrifice ever again. "It is finished" cried Jesus from the cross. Communion is done in remembrance of Him (Lk 22:14-20; 1 Cor 11:22-34) by born again believers who have figuratively participated in His death, burial and resurrection through the new birth (cf. Rom 6:3-4). Forgiveness of sin is received once for all through the new birth, which comes through repentance and faith in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, by His blood and grace (Ac 13:38-39; Col 1:13-14; 2:13-15; Eph 1:7; Heb 10:10-14; Rev 1:5). Read more here on how a sinner is saved eternally through the one true gospel.


10. Bonhoeffer Adhered to a False Gospel/Salvation of Works


In his book Testimony to Freedom (p. 130) he promoted a false gospel of works. He was a sacramentalist (Life Together, p. 122; The Way to Freedom, pp. 115, 153), he believed in regenerational infant baptism (Letters and Papers from Prison, 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, p. 156).


He believed in a works-based salvation, very similar to Catholicism's idea of having to keep certain commandments to be saved.


Conclusion


If you are wrong on one the points above, you are a heretic. Bonhoeffer treated the Word of God worse 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 rubbish bin, then Bonhoeffer must be totally rejected and repudiated as blasphemy. His beliefs and teachings are in fact 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 believed that Christ was Physically Present in the Eucharist, 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, as an agent of light and grace. 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 explicitly 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).

He was a wolf in sheep's clothing,

“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.


Jesus warned,

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matt 7:15)

The Bible commands exposing and opposing, not fellowshipping or yoking with false teachers:

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom 16:17-18)

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 (cf. 1 Cor 2:14-16; 1 Th 5:21-22) and very possibly an unregenerate state. I am dead serious. If you were completely ignorant to his beliefs, that is one thing (though its not an acceptable excuse nonetheless) if you continue to think that he is a true Christian in spite of his truck loads of heresy, or purpose 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 better, burned. That is what faithful true believers do that love the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn 14:23-24).

“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).

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