Original Research

The Christian scholar today and Bonhoeffer’s legacy of the transformative gospel

Aleksandar S. Santrac
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 55, No 1 | a2678 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v55i1.2678 | © 2021 Aleksandar S. Santrac | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 September 2020 | Published: 26 April 2021

About the author(s)

Aleksandar S. Santrac, Chesapeake Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Colombia, Maryland, United Sates of America; and Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the SA Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom,, South Africa

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This article seeks to draw some useful guiding principles for Christian scholars from Bonhoeffer’s work, applied primarily in the US context. These take note of: (1) the power and relevance of his contextual expression of the gospel message; (2) the intellectual and academic responsibility of his scholarship; (3) the distinctive elements of his ethics; and (4) his expression of the transformative symbiosis of the divine will and human agency. Based on these principles, recognised in Bonhoeffer’s historical and theological legacy, the article will explore the current legacy of Bonhoeffer’s work and contextualise it in the current battle for Christian values in society.

Contribution: Within the current US political polarisation between forms of Christian nationalism and the anti-racist movement in the US, this article is a special contribution to the debate of Bonhoeffer’s theological or political momentum.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer; ethics; scholarship; social justice; Bonhoeffer legacy.


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