Discount Discipleship: the Life of Wolf Weiner


I had a cousin who wrote a biography a few years back. Sadly the manuscript was never published. He was writing about the great theologian and personal friend to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Wolf Otto Weiner.

Born in Bonn, in 1905, Weiner–or WOW as I shall him–never achieved the fame of the former, despite his success as a great theologian even after the end of the Third Reich. He too was born into a wealthy family of aristocrats.

He met and befriended Bonhoeffer in the University of Berlin. Along with Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth, WOW helped to start the Confessors Church in 1934.

WOW had some words with Bonhoeffer and Barth that almost led to a rupture over the Barmen Declaration. WOW felt the statement that Christ Jesus should be placed above all other personalities was a little too radical.  He reminded the others that Christians are to “render unto Caesar” therefore it was perfectly acceptable for German housewives to replace pictures of Jesus and crucifixes with pictures of the Fuhrer. Eventually WOW agreed to go along with the program.

In 1934, WOW married Greta Guttman, a semi-literate but attractive blonde. Displaying his superiority to Bonhoeffer, WOW (helped by Greta) started popping out babies immediately in a way that would make a 21st century “quiver full” couple weep with envy.

In 1936, WOW’s first book Die Schonheit der MaBigung was published. In it, WOW makes a compelling argument for conforming as necessary to the world around us and how Christians should take care not to be too different since that kind of thing could lead to arrogance and rebelling against the powers of the state God placed over the church.

Rather than getting involved in the underground seminary of Finkenwalde, WOW begged off. “It’s different for you,” he wrote (in a fragment of a letter my cousin unearthed in his research), “I have a wife and 3 children under 3 years of age. We all have sacrifices we must make. Alas.”

WOW made the supreme sacrifice of foregoing teaching in an illegal seminary to take on a prestigious tenured position at his Alta Mater. He found that by saying just the right thing he could stay in the good graces of the Law and teach the Bible. Or a reasonable facsimile.

In 1941, WOW wrote a wildly popular best seller, Dein bestes Leben jetzt. This was recommended by Hitler himself. Having this approval seemed to shake WOW up. He went on a sabbatical.

He had reached a crossroads. Should he stick to his life of material comforts while evil things went on around him? Or act like an immoderate fool and lose his earthly blessings?

Bonhoeffer seldom contacted him any more. WOW had played a key role in helping the Confessor Church keep their sermons moderate to appease God’s divinely appointed State.

During his sabbatical WOW translated copious amounts of Scofield’s Bible commentary from English into German. He found the idea of the Rapture appealing since it ensured a comfortable escape from the world before things got too ugly for people like himself.

According to the journal he was keeping, WOW reached the conclusion that Hitler was the Anti-Christ or the Son of Perdition. He realized with great joy, that by taking over the world the Third Reich was hastening the Second Coming. Therefore anything he might do to oppose Hitler would prevent the Great Tribulation and might put off the Rapture/Second Coming indefinitely. Definitely against the will of God.

There’s little more to relate. WOW survived the end of World War II, and wound up in West Berlin after reconstruction again. Altogether, he sired 12 kids with Greta, then after she died on number 12, he married young Anna Schroeder to produce another 7. His only other major theological work was Die Macht von Ich Bin. He died in 1985.

My cousin gave up on finishing this biography when he realized no publisher was interested–secular or Christian. Strangely, despite the accolades Wolf Weiner was awarded during his lifetime no one finds his life inspirational now.


Note: this is a satire.

Discount Discipleship: the Life of Wolf Weiner

2 thoughts on “Discount Discipleship: the Life of Wolf Weiner

  1. […] I’m also re-reading the collection of short fictions written by that great Argentinian surrealist Jorges Luis Borges. One of my posts here used a technique I learned from him: reviewing an imaginary book instead of writing a lengthier work.  Discount Discipleship: the Life of Wolf Weiner […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WOW’s life should hit home for many of us living in the here and now. Your piece delivers a sobering message. This “render into Caesar” teaching along with the escapism of the pre-trib rapture theory is helping the enemy lay waste to the 21st century church, but maybe it needed to culled? I shudder to think how many of us will hear those words “I never knew you” on judgment day. I fear the hour may be later, much later, than most of us comfortable Western Christians think. It’s time for us all, myself included, to take an internal audit of our attitudes, values and priorities and de-program ourselves from the world. When I see so many Christians rushing to get in line for Bill Gates’ vaccine, I have to wonder how many will actually reject the mark of the beast when it is is presented as the next great thing.


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