Bonhoeffer appeals to us because of his uncompromising moral stand. It was not just any moral conviction, but a clear moral perspective that all of hope that we ourselves would emulate.
We have read his biography and we know he resisted the Third Reich. But are we clear about how Bonhoeffer resisted? In the 1920s he was a committed pacifist; this is well known. But scholars disagree about how the onset of Hitler's atrocities affected Bonhoeffer's thought and whether his posthumously published Ethics along with his personal letters reflect a shift in his convictions. Did Bonhoeffer come to believe that violence was acceptable in specific circumstances? And if so, did he, in fact, act on that new belief in his work for the German military intelligence organization known as the Abwehr?
Many argue that Bonhoeffer did leave behind his pacificst ethic. Yet, others disagree. In Bonhoeffer the Assassin? a team of scholars argue that Bonhoeffer did not abandon this core component of his discipleship and that both the historical evidence and the textual evidence corroborate their view. Mark Nation, Anthony Siegrist, and Daniel Umbel reexamine historical data from Bonhoeffer's own life as well as pertinent sections of his Discipleship and Ethics and as they do so invite us to reconsider Bonhoeffer's theology and his life.