Dietrich Bonhoeffer on False Teaching

“A church which no longer takes the rejection of false teaching seriously no
longer takes truth, i.e. its salvation, seriously, and ultimately no longer takes the
community seriously, no matter how pious or well-organised [sic] it may be.
Anyone who follows false teaching, indeed who simply supports and furthers
it, no longer obeys Christ.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For more about false teaching see these posts:

False Teaching in the Church

What is False Teaching?

False Teaching

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Advent

This quote seemed to go along well with my previous post about really seeing those around us.

“Jesus stands at the door knocking (Rev. 3:20). In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet. As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you. That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the Advent message. Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of a human being among us.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in the Manger

For more quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer see:

A Quote on the Christian Life by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Optimism

Loyal to the End — A Quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Life Together in Christ by Ruth Haley Barton–Book Review

Life Together in Christ provides a model for studying and experiencing community in a small group setting. Using the story of the Emmaus road as her format, author Ruth Barton leads her readers through 9 topics designed to further spiritual transformation. They are:

  1. Choosing to walk together
  2. Welcoming the stranger
  3. Choosing to listen
  4. Gathering on the basis of shared desire
  5. Men and Women in community
  6. The Spiritual journey
  7. Finding our story in His story
  8. Discerning the presence of Christ
  9. Being a witness

Sprinkled throughout are questions for personal reflection (good for journaling!) and at the end of each chapter are more questions and a prayer for group sharing. There are two appendices at the end which delve further into spiritual growth, community and the practice of stability. The author often relies on quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s well-known work, Life Together, to illustrate her points, so if you’re interested in Christian community, this is another well-respected book to read on that topic.

Life Together in Christ: Experiencing Transformation in Community (Transforming Resources) by [Ruth Haley Barton]

If you’re in a small group, or starting a small group, this would be an interesting choice to use. I agreed with most of what the author had to say, with the exception of her objection to single sex groups. There are certainly times and instances (in my opinion) when same sex groups are appropriate.

VERDICT: 4 STARS

For other books that could be used in your small group see:

Prayer in the Night by Tish Harrison Warren–Book Review

When Words Matter Most by Cheryl Marshall & Caroline Newheiser–Book Review

Dangerous Surrender by Kay Warren–Book Review

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Confessing Our Sins

“He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. May Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy.”

For more Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotes see:

A Quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Loyal to the End — A Quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A Quote on the Christian Life by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Predestination continued ….

Predestination, is the Christian doctrine that God has eternally chosen those whom he intends to save. Predestination has been especially associated with John Calvin and the Reformed tradition.

This is a continuation from my post yesterday. It’s taken from a sermon given by our Pastor, my husband, explaining this difficult word.

This (coming to saving faith) will happen because of a call to faith, a call from the words of Scripture, the words of the Gospel, the Good News that Christ bore their punishment and they could then experience eternal joy. And the Holy Spirit, God Himself, opens the hearts of those who are predestined to believe the Gospel, to know that Christ did indeed die for them and that He was raised for them. What a wonderful thing it is to have God bring us to such understanding! If you have faith in Christ, you didn’t do it on your own, you didn’t work it out by yourself– no indeed, you received it from God and in receiving it you were justified, made right with God, no longer estranged, but now embraced as an adopted child and heir.

Even more than that, you have been glorified. In a tiny little way, we experience the glory that will be ours in heaven when we come into contact with God, when we experience His grace, when we feel His presence, whe we trust in Christ alone. What a glory that is, but that will pale in comparison to what God has waiting for us in eternity. Many have gone before us, but there is still room for us and for all those whom He is calling today around the world, and for those whom He has predestined before Christ’s return. What a wonderful and awesome thing to be chosen by the living God for eternal life.

For more on salvation see:

Predestination?

The True Cost of Salvation

Saved by Grace

A Poem by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote this poem in 1944. It is a comfort that in our need, God comes to us, whether that need is sickness, hunger, or sin.

People go to God when they’re in need,
plead for help, pray for blessings and bread,
for rescue from their sickness, guilt, and death.
So do they all. All of them, Christians and heathens.

People go to God when God’s in need,
find God poor, reviled, without shelter or bread,
see God devoured by sin, weakness, and death.
Christians stand by God in God’s own pain.

God goes to all people in their need,
fills body and soul with God’s own bread,
goes for Christians and heathens to Calvary’s death
and forgives them both.

For more on Dietrich Bonhoeffer see these posts:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Hope

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Prayer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on God’s Victory

Dietrich Bonhoeffer– Facing Life’s Challenges Like Christ

“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. ‘The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared’ (Luther).”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For more quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer see:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Optimism

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Faith

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Times of Uncertainty

 

 

 

Grade Yourself #3

I’ve been thinking a lot this month about grading yourself honestly on how you are doing spiritually — is it possible (see Grade Yourself)  and who/what should you compare yourself to in assigning a grade (see  Grade Yourself #2 ).  I concluded with input from a friend, that each of us should be “graded” against ourselves.  How have we matured in our relationship with God, our good works, our understanding of Scripture over the past weeks, months or years.

Recently I did another spiritual exercise that had to do with imagining my own death.  How would I want to be remembered?  What would I expect to be said in my eulogy.    What are my life goals and have I met them?  This too, is a kind of “grading” or evaluating.  Of course, it is my faith and not my works that save me, but will I feel at all  worthy to hear these words?

‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'”  Matthew 25:23

I thought hard about this.  Looking back on my life, trying to grade myself, I would consider three things.  The first is my life verse(actually it’s two verses):

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Second is my personal mission statement What’s My Mission?:

“”To keep in mind that I am a pilgrim on a journey to draw closer to God’;  to recognize and respect this pilgrim quality in others and use my God given talents, insights, and resources to encourage them;  to enjoy the life, friends, family and work with which I have been blessed and to be a peaceful and harmonious influence in all of these places.”

Finally, my core values (L. A. T. C. H. On To Your Core Values):

  • Learning
  • Attentiveness
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Honesty

These are the things I would use to “grade” my life–this is what I would use to see if I had worked toward being the kind of servant God created me to be.

If you haven’t done any exercises like these, I would encourage you to do so.  Knowing what you’re aiming for will help you persevere.  As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:

“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”

 

 

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Hope #2

“Life in a prison cell may well be compared to Advent;  one waits, hopes, and does this, that or the other–things that are of no real consequence–the door is shut, and can only be opened from the outside.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For more quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer see:

How to Study(according to Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Times of Uncertainty

A Quote on the Christian Life by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Hope

“Good Friday and Easter free us to think about the things far beyond our personal fate;  about the ultimate meaning of life, suffering and events;  and we lay hold of a great hope.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For more Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotes see:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Christian Freedom

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Death

A Quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer