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Religion and Theology on Life Together by Bonheoffer - Essay Example

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Religion and Theology on Life Together by Bonheoffer

By stating that the Church is a divine and spiritual reality sustained by God’s love in Christ, Bonhoeffer intends to mean that not only should the Church be united in God’s love, but that it owes its allegiance to God alone (not any government). Opening his discourse with a quote from Psalm 133:1, Bonhoeffer uses the Church, the community of believers to discuss the essence of Christian brotherhood, and the responsibility that proceeds therefrom. This is seen in Bonhoeffer’s assertion that without Christ, a discordant relationship between man and God and man and his fellow man would prevail, since Christ is the initiator of brotherhood. Detailing the reality of the functions of the Church as a living and virile organism which he christened a community of love, Bonhoeffer as a pastor discusses the meaning and needs of the Body of Christ, in light of disparity between it and the Church in the Acts of the Apostles and the way the world esteemed the Church. Bonhoeffer uses three facets to discuss these matters that relate to the Church: the centrality of Christ, the divine reality of the Church and the Church as a community of God’s love (Bonhoeffer, 1978)....
he Church is not a theological or philosophical system of thought, but instead, God’s final revelation about His divine Self, as Christ Himself existing in the community. To Bonhoeffer, the import of this is that Christians should confess their sins one to another and that instead of waiting for a revelation before embarking on something, they should prayerfully and continuously consider that which is right. This is because, many a time, God has revealed His will to His people who only need to muster their courage and work their faith into action. Conversely, Bonhoeffer sees the Church as a community of love, since it keeps its focus on Christ as the ultimate solution. To Bonhoeffer, the Church is worthy of this title since Christians congregate to share their lives, accept one another with God’s unconditional love, and thereby keeping the socio-spiritual bond in the Body of Christ. As one man becomes another’s brother and a woman, another’s sister, the Church becomes more compact as it bears with each person’s burdens, in the endeavor to cultivate a deeper spiritual and more Christ-like character. According to Marty (2008), Bonhoeffer from the outset asserts that the Church is not a desire, a wish, or a visionary dream and can neither therefore be contrived by a sleight of hand, nor can its failures be blamed on any individual. On the contrary, the Church as God’s creation in Christ can only be characterized by gratitude, fellowship and provisions because of Christ’s sacrificial work on the cross. Because of this, Bonhoeffer maintains that not even the clergy has the right to castigate the Church, but is instead to make intercession and give thanks for the congregation entrusted to Him. Bonhoeffer maintains that the Church is not an ideal and is ...Show more


The German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945) wrote Life Together while teaching at an underground seminary. The book was first published in 1939 by the Christian Kaiser Verlag, in the German language…
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