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2021 Tri-Theological Conference



The 2021 Tri-Theological Conference with Professor Michael DeJonge

Co-sponsored by the Southwestern Texas Synod, Gulf Coast Synod, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, and Briarwood Leadership Center

This is an online event.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer in conversation with his twin sister, Sabine


Bonhoeffer, Struggle, and Resistance
Monday, January 25, 2–4pm (all times Central)

The life of Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) is often interpreted through his participation in plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler. While his prayer and discernment led him to that point, his call for direct resistance to unjust actions of the state began much earlier. This session will introduce Bonhoeffer, his context, and his increasing calls for resistance, both within the church and in direct word and action against the state.


Bonhoeffer the Lutheran
Tuesday, January 26, 10am–Noon

Bonhoeffer has become a broadly popular figure throughout western Christianity. His stance against Adolf Hitler, the Third Reich, and accommodating elements within German Christianity cost him his life. Studies of his life and thought, however, have not always taken into account the specificity of his Lutheran commitments. How, for instance, does Lutheranism inform Bonhoeffer’s approach to pacifism and violence? What can that teach Lutherans about our tradition today?


Bonhoeffer’s Politics and Our Own
Tuesday, January 26, 2–4pm

Bonhoeffer is often referenced when people are seeking faithful responses to political crises. All sides of the US political spectrum have wondered if we are in a “Bonhoeffer moment.” Bonhoeffer’s historical, political, and cultural context was quite distinct from the early 21st-Century United States. In what ways can Bonhoeffer’s theological commitments help interpret political realities today? How can those insights inform faithful leadership and proclamation in the midst of current struggles?


Cost: $75 ($50 early-bird special until December 18)
Registration closes at 10am Central on January 25

Download a flyer here to share.


Michael P. DeJonge is Professor and Chair of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida. He researches the history of Christian thought and issues involving religion and politics.

DeJonge has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Fellow of the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, a Volkswagen/Mellon Fellow at the Leibniz-Institute for European History in Mainz, Germany, and Visiting Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor of Theology and Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

His scholarship has focused on the twentieth-century German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, with monographs including Bonhoeffer’s Theological Formation (Oxford, 2012), Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther (Oxford, 2017), and Bonhoeffer on Resistance: The Word Against the Wheel (Oxford, 2018).


Event Structure

The conference organizers intend for this event to be directly relevant to your daily vocation and service in church and society. We are seeking to foster sustained, engaged conversation in addition to providing important content in Prof. DeJonge’s presentations.

Each of the conference’s scheduled sessions will include a breakout opportunity. In order to facilitate focused conversation, our request is that you come to the breakout session with one overarching question and one significant quote from the text assigned for that session.

Feel free to emphasize your personal responses and commitments as you engage the text. Our conversations will be enriched if you choose quotes that resonate with you and craft questions that are open-ended (questions that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”).

Like you, Bonhoeffer was a Christian leader deeply engaged with and challenged by his context. Your personal reflections on your life of service will carry us forward throughout our time together.


Intended Audience

This gathering is open for all people interested in the overarching topic, both lay and rostered. Our two-hour sessions will be structured to include a significant presentation from Prof. Michael DeJonge, ample time for discussion in breakout sessions, and time for sharing in plenary. Each session will have options for compact but in-depth reading intended to enrich conversation throughout the event.


Recommended Readings

Michael P. DeJonge, Bonhoeffer’s Theological Formation: Berlin, Barth, and Protestant Theology (Oxford University Press)

Michael P. DeJonge, Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther (Oxford University Press)

Michael P. DeJonge, Bonhoeffer on Resistance: The Word Against the Wheel (Oxford University Press)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (Reader’s Edition, Fortress Press)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship (Reader’s Edition, Fortress Press)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics (Reader’s Edition, Fortress Press)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison (Reader’s Edition, Fortress Press)

Clifford J. Green and Michael P. DeJonge, eds., The Bonhoeffer Reader (Fortress Press)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Holocaust Encyclopedia By Victoria J. Barnett


Exploring Bonhoeffer’s Writings By Clifford Green


Is This a Bonhoeffer Moment? Lessons for American Christians from the Confessing Church in Germany By Lori Brandt Hale and Reggie L. Williams


Hijacking Bonhoeffer (review of Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer) By Clifford Green


Bonhoeffer Co-Opted (review of Charles Marsh, Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer) By Joel Looper


A More Intimate Portrait of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (review of Diane Reynolds, The Doubled Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Women, Sexuality, and Nazi Germany) By Lisa E. Dahill


Christian Complicity? Changing Views on German Churches and the Holocaust By Robert P. Ericksen


Special Focus: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (online exhibit) By Victoria J. Barnett


The Church Struggle and the Confessing Church: An Introduction to Bonhoeffer’s Context By Matthew D. Hockenos



For some creative history on Bonhoeffer, check out this Lego short created 10 years ago by NT-NL young adult Tom Blaney! He has lived and regularly attended church services in all three Texas ELCA Synods (Frisco, Austin, and Houston). Tom was active in campus ministry at UTexas, a Briarwood summer camp counselor, and a 2019 ELCA Churchwide Voting Member representing NT-NL. (This video was done as a school project and won second place in the Texas Coalition for Holocaust Education’s Yom HaShoah “Upstanders in the Holocaust” Art, Writing, and Video contest.)


January 25, 2021
January 26, 2021
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