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Giving you valuable insight into Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s public spirituality, theology from the perspective of his private life and concerns. In this first collection of the Lutheran pastors letters, this founding member of the Confessing Church, who would be martyred for his active resistance to the Nazi movement, you will find intimate and revealing details essential to the serious Bonhoeffer student and interested reader.
His character and relationships, practice as a pastor and developing theological and political thought, revealed in these previously unknown and unpublished letters, are skilfully and sensitively edited by one of the world's most Bonhoeffer scholar.
The letters have their origin in the dispirited 27 year old’s acceptance of a two year appointment to two German-speaking Protestant churches in London: the German Evangelical Church in Sydenham and the German Reformed Church of St Paul's, Whitechapel in the Autumn of 1933. As German churches acquiesced to Hitler’s growing power, Bonhoeffer found little support for his views deciding that "it was about time to go for a while into the desert".
Fellow theologian, Karl Barth, regarded this as running away from real battle accusing Bonhoeffer of abandoning his post and wasting his "splendid theological armory" while "the house of your church is on fire."
The letters help explain Bonhoeffer’s hopes that, in going to England, he was not simply avoiding trouble at home; but hoping for support from the ecumenical movement in the interest of his anti-Nazi Confessing Church.
Bonhoeffer rallied people to oppose the Nazi subversion of the Gospel to the extent that Bishop Theodor Heckel – the official in charge of German Evangelical Church foreign affairs, was sent to London to warn Bonhoeffer to abstain from any activity not authorized by Berlin.
Bonhoeffer refused to desist from his work. This is the momentous background to this collection of globally significant letters with relevance to formulating the Christian response to the divisive religious and secular forces in the world today.
Letters to London by Dietrich Bonhoeffer was published by SPCK in September 2013 and is our 34699th best seller. The ISBN for Letters to London is 9780281066698.
Ernest Cromwell, now in his 90's, was a young teenager when his family fled from Nazi Germany—first, briefly, to France and then to England. They settled in London in May 1934. Ernst's mother was keen that he should be confirmed and asked Dietrich Bonhoeffer to prepare him for confirmation.
One of the joys of this book is the transcript of a recent interview with Ernest Cromwell (he changed his name from Ernst to Ernest in 1941) as he reaches back in his memory to those distant days. When asked about his confirmation classes and how he and Bonhoeffer related to each other he said 'Oh, he would just, we would just read the Bible.'
During a recent refurbishment of the family home Ernest's son discovered twelve letters written by Bonhoeffer to Ernst and the family between March 1935 and March 1936. These letters take up less than a quarter of this book but the editors have provided interesting background information and a thought-provoking afterword, as well as the interview with Ernest.
As a Bonhoeffer lover I enjoyed this book and gained some insight into Bonhoeffer's pastoral heart as he tried to nurture the seeds of Christian faith in the young Ernst.
|Author / Artist||Dietrich Bonhoeffer|
|Publisher||SPCK (September 2013)|
|Editor||Stephen Plant; Toni Burrowes Cromwell|
|Number of Pages||160|
|Page last updated||2nd March 2018|