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5 Must-Read Statements on the Church

25 May

Here are 5 must-read statements from Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s book Life Together which is, in my opinion, the best book written on the nature of true community in the church. Anyone who knows me well knows that Bonhoeffer is one of my favorite authors.

  • “Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves. By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world.” [26-27]
  • “Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.” [27]
  • “Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together – the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ.” [28]
  • “If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is not great experience, not discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.” [29]
  • “A pastor should not complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men….Let him pray God for an understanding of his own failure and his particular sin, and pray that he may not wrong his brethren. Let him, in consciousness of his own guilt, make intercession for his brethren.” [29-30]

[These quotations are taken from John W. Doberstein's classic translation of Life Together. A more recent translation with thorough annotations and a helpful introduction is found in Volume 5 of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works.]

 

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2 responses to “5 Must-Read Statements on the Church

  1. Brian

    May 25, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Bonhoeffer must have been a barrel of monkeys at a party, but I do like the truth behind his proclamations.

     
  2. Teresa Freding

    May 26, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Jesus said, “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me…I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love.” Like Bonhoeffer, I too, am learning more and more that making my home in Him means being rooted by my forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus. His “forgiveness” is the divine fertilizer that allows Him to produce in us. So thankful that I don’t have to produce it, I just need to remain in Him. “I am His and He is mine”…is the way to bloom where He plants us!

     

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