Original Research

Bonhoeffer in South Africa: Role model and prophet

PGJ Meiring
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 28, No 1 | a101 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v28i1.101 | © 2007 PGJ Meiring | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 September 2007 | Published: 17 November 2007

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PGJ Meiring, University of Pretoria

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer , arguably more than any other European theologian, influenced the way in which South African Christians, clergy and laity alike, have come to see their role in the struggle against apartheid. In his article the author describes the manner in which the German theologian was accepted as a role model by
many, and evaluates his influence  in the theological and ethical debates in the country. The aim of the article is to determine whether Bonhoeffer – who was born a hundred years ago, in 1906 – still has a message for us today, in a different time and under different circumstances.  The author’ s conclusion is in the affirmative: Bonhoeffer’ s message is as powerful as ever . The basic principles in his teaching are as important to us today and tomorrow as they have been in the past.  The author refers to five principles: 'Confessing Christ here and now’, ‘Putting a spoke in the wheel’, ‘Learning to see things from below’, ‘Acknowledging our guilt’, and ‘Becoming a church for others beyond privilege’.


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