Fortress Press

Bonhoeffer for the Church: An Introduction

Bonhoeffer for the Church

An Introduction

Matthew D. Kirkpatrick (Author)


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Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of the most widely read Christian writers of the twentieth century. Although his work has been influential among academics, his widest readership has always been the church. Each Sunday, Bonhoeffer's writings are referenced in sermons and study groups around the world. And yet no systematic introduction to Bonhoeffer exists for this audience. In Bonhoeffer for the Church, Matthew Kirkpatrick corrects this omission. Structured around topics such as preaching, worship, sacraments, prayer, pastoral care, confession, evangelism, and apologetics, Bonhoeffer for the Church offers an accessible but comprehensive introduction to Bonhoeffer's life and thought for those in ministry or interested in understanding their life in community better.

In making Bonhoeffer accessible for the church, Kirkpatrick also reveals Bonhoeffer's astonishing message to the church. Despite his well-known conflicts with the churches and church leaders of his time, the church remained for Bonhoeffer the foundation for God's redeeming activity to the world and in individual lives. Drawing on the full range of his writings, including his less well-known sermons, diaries, and letters, Bonhoeffer for the Church presents this astonishing vision and shows how Bonhoeffer can revitalize and inspire the life and ministry of the church and our individual relationships. For those who struggle in their ministry, doubt the relevance of the church, or who simply need to be reenergized in their relationships with other Christians, Bonhoeffer for the Church offers a crucially important message.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506497822
  • eBook ISBN 9781506497839
  • Dimensions 6.25 x 9.25
  • Pages 397
  • Publication Date April 9, 2024


Read Bonhoeffer for the Church with your church community! Matthew Kirkpatrick maps the terrain of the biography, writings, and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer like an expert travel guide, highlighting not only the major attractions but also points of interest off the beaten path. Bonhoeffer spent far more of his working life in the church than in the academy, and Kirkpatrick shows how and why Bonhoeffer's understanding of the church has made him among the most influential and compelling Christian witnesses of the twentieth century. Throughout, Bonhoeffer's personality and passion are brought to life through the events that animated and the ideas that informed his communally lived theology of responsibility, offering fresh vistas to the layperson, clergy, and scholar alike for our life together.

Matthew Puffer, associate professor of humanities and ethics, Valparaiso University

Kirkpatrick has lifted up elements of Bonhoeffer's thought often sidelined, especially about the inner workings of the church. Organized around themes like intercessory prayer, pastoral care, leadership, and worship, this book gives space for readers to consider whether and how these aspects of Bonhoeffer's work may be helpful for their own ecclesial life.

Jennifer M. McBride, president of the International Bonhoeffer Society, English Language Section

With this book, Professor Kirkpatrick offers us a tremendously helpful overview of Bonhoeffer's life and work. Whether you are a layperson reading about Bonhoeffer in a church group, or a student studying Bonhoeffer in a formal academic setting, this book is a great place to start.

Reggie L. Williams, professor of Christian ethics, McCormick Theological Seminary