as fresh as ever

I’ve been reading chapter 8 in Bethge’s “Bonhoeffer” on my ipod in the evenings around the campsite. Accompanying the biography I’ve read his lecture “The Church is Dead” from 1933 out of No Rusty Swords and his sermon “The Church and the People of the World” from the Fano ecumenical conference in 1934. The latter could have almost been written by John Howard Yoder or Stanley Hauerwas! I’ve been chewing over their ideas lately and was shocked to hear the same refrain here in Bonhoeffer. When I consider that all three are theological ethicists it is not so shocking. For Bonhoeffer the command of Christ for peace is not as concerned with various political considerations. It is a command to be followed. I can almost hear Hauerwas/Yoder’s rants against Niebuhr in his words “He or she who questions the commandment of God before obeying has already denied God.” But in being so Christocentric Bonhoeffer goes beyond Yoder and Hauerwas. In “The Church is Dead” Bonhoeffer looks squarely at the reality facing the church and says it is this reality, this church, that is called to obedience. Instead of trying to make the church something it is not, a new Kingdom on earth, a new people, it is us justified sinners who are called to obey. I also read about the Oxford Movement’s idea to convert Hitler around this time. Bonhoeffer remarked that it was “not Hitler that needs conversion, but us!”

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Filed under Blogging DB, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pacifism

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