Eric Metaxas wants you to use his latest book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, as inspiration for living what you believe.
His subject, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, may have been a Lutheran theologian in Germany in the 1930s and '40s, but he remains, Metaxas says, an example for people of any faith in any country on how to put belief into action.
"Bonhoeffer believed that it is God's will that we be authentic," said Metaxas of the take-away from the theologian's short but interesting life. "Some people get tangled in his theology, but he'd be the first to say your life is your theology. It was especially important to him that you can't claim to believe things if you don't live them."
Metaxas' book (Thomas Nelson; $29.99) comes at a time of increased interest in Bonhoeffer. In the past few years, more of Bonhoeffer's own writing, as well as documents during his wartime efforts, have been translated into English and made available to the public.
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"I came along just at the right time where I was able to have access to this huge mass of information, journals, letters, it's all been published, but only just published in English," said Metaxas said, author of the New York Times best-seller Amazing Grace.
Another Bonhoeffer biography, Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945: Martyr, Thinker, Man of Resistance by Ferdinand Schlingensiepen, was published this summer in English. Schlingensiepen is a German theologian who is one of the founders of the International Bonhoeffer Society.
In the past there's been a documentary, movies, a stage play, even an opera. And many of the writings of Bonhoeffer himself are getting new life from the publishing industry.
On a smaller scale, museums such as Holocaust Museum Houston offer special tours that tell the story of a Gentile who worked to save German Jews when few others would.
"Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a significant person to the museum," said Mickey Meyers, a Holocaust Museum Houston docent. "He's about the only example of someone in the church who took a stand. There were very few."
Metaxas said he was inspired to write the Bonhoeffer biography after his own religious conversion. A friend suggested that he read Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship, and Metaxas says he was "blown away" by Bonhoeffer's bravery and faith.
"My greatest hope in writing this book would be that average American Christians would read it, and it would draw them to a deeper and more serious relationship with God — and to read Bonhoeffer's own books," Metaxas said. "No matter where you go to church it will change how you approach it. There's no question in my mind that Bonhoeffer would want that."