Christ the Center (Ministers Paperback Library) - Edwin Hanton Robertson, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This series of lectures given by Dietrich Bonhoeffer early in his career is a mixed bag.  His original lecture notes did not survive.  The book reproduces the lectures through notes taken by Bonhoeffer's students.  The theological content is quite good.  It could hardly be otherwise.  But the presentation is poor and lacking in clarity.  It's obvious that one is reading someone else's notebook.


The gist of Bonhoeffer's lectures is that Jesus, the Christ, is the center of all things: creation, history, theology, the Church and the life of the Christian.  That may seem like a given for Christians, but it's important to keep in mind that Bonhoeffer was responding to a German Church that increasingly embraced the ideals of the National Socialist Party.  It was necessary to restore an orthodox Christology to the German Evangelical Church.  The lectures that form "Christ the Center" were a small part of his efforts to steer the Church back to its origins.  


Thought not an easy read, I recommend "Christ the Center" as a reminder to today's Church of who Jesus is.  There is a lot of confusion in the world about the Christ, and the Church does not always do a good job of responding to it.  In spite of it's difficulties, "Christ the Center" is a good antidote.  Be prepared to spend a little extra time working through it.  The thread of Bonhoeffer's argument is easily lost on occasion and difficult to pick back up.  But it will reward your efforts if you stick with it.