The Life and Thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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With 77% of Canadian young adults and teens who have been part of the church questioning its relevance and purpose, a study of Bonhoeffer’s thought and ministry is remarkably timely. This course will survey the development of Bonhoeffer’s theology around the notion that the church is Christ in community. Few other theologians have contributed to and shaped such a broad spectrum of theological reflection, and few can be placed so dramatically within their historical context. In Bonhoeffer’s case this makes his worldview and critique of culture even more compelling. Examining Bonhoeffer as pastor, theologian, social critic, and activist, this course offers several fascinating perspectives for students searching for insights to the current conundrum of the contemporary church.



  • To appreciate the significant interplay of theology and historical context
  • To place Bonhoeffer within the spectrum of modern theology
  • To grasp the fundamental outline of Bonhoeffer’s theology against the challenges of contemporary church life



  • To be challenged to a greater social conscience by Bonhoeffer’s example
  • To allow the incarnational and social dimensions of Bonhoeffer’s thought to impassion one’s notion of the church
  • To develop a theological lens for evaluating the world in which we live


  • To integrate insights from Bonhoeffer into one’s own emerging theology
  • To engage culture in the process of constructive theological reflection
  • To pursue just causes from a theological rationale