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“But without Christ we also would not know our brother, nor could we come to him. The way is blocked by our ego. Christ opened up the way to God and to our brother.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together, 23.

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“Without Christ there is discord between God and man and between man and man. Christ became the Mediator and made peace with God and among men.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together, 23.

Tom Watson letter: The rise of ‘cheap patriotism’

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Christian theologian who was murdered by Hitler days before WWII ended. Bonhoeffer wrote about the concept of “cheap grace” in his book “The Cost of Discipleship. “

“Cheap Grace” is the preaching of forgiveness without repentance, without the cross, without Jesus Christ.

Today, we are experiencing “cheap patriotism.”

Cheap patriotism is patriotism without costs, without sacrifice, without discipline. All we are required today to qualify as patriots is to stand when the nation anthem is played. If someone kneels at that time they are not patriots. To silently protest at that time is not patriotic.

The best example of “cheap patriotism” is the current occupant of the White House.

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“The Christian lives wholly by the truth of God’s Word in Jesus Christ. If somebody asks him, ‘Where is your salvation, your righteousness?’, he can never point to himself. He points to the Word of God in Jesus Christ, which assures him salvation and righteousness.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together22.

“Communal life is again being recognized by Christians today as the grace that it is, as the extraordinary, the ‘roses and lilies’ of the Christian life.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together21.

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and theologian most known for his book The Cost of Discipleship and his involvement in the plot to assassinate Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, suffered a great deal at the hands of the Nazis, including his eventual execution. In the summer of 1937, just as the Gestapo was arresting Bonhoeffer’s friends, the pastor preached about God’s judgment in Psalm 58 — but he didn’t say what a modern American might expect.

“The wicked are perverse from the womb; liars go astray from their birth. … O God, break their teeth in their mouths; pull the fangs of the young lions, O LORD. Let them vanish like water that runs off; let the arrows they aim break in two. … The righteous will be glad when they see the vengeance; they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked. And they will say, ‘Surely, there is a reward for the righteous, surely, there is a God who rules in the earth'” (Psalm 58:3, 6-7, 10-11).

So how did Bonhoeffer, a Christian who lost his life trying to assassinate Hitler, apply this verse to his own life? Did he rail against Hitler’s evil? Not exactly. (For the full letter, read Meditating on the Word, a compilation of Bonhoeffer’s works compiled and translated by David McI. Gracie.)

“Is this fearful psalm of vengeance to be our prayer? May we pray in this way? Certainly not! We bear much guilt of our own for the action of any enemies who cause us suffering,” Bonhoeffer declared in a sermon on July 11, 1937

This message is powerful, given what had happened to Bonhoeffer in the months — and even days — before. In January 1936, he lost his grandmother — who defied a Nazi boycott of Jews by shoving through brownshirts to buy strawberries from a Jew. Throughout 1937, the Gestapo carried out interrogations, house searches, confiscations, and arrests against Bonhoeffer’s seminary students. Ten days before this sermon, they arrested his friend and fellow pastor Martin Niemöller (the man famous for the “first they came for the Jews …” poem).

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“It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with other Christian brethen.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together20.

But if there is so much blessing and joy even in a single encounter of brother with brother (or sister with sister), how inexhaustible are the riches that open up for those who by God’s will are privileged to live in the daily fellowship of life with other Christians.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together20.

The believer feels no shame, as though he were still living too much in the flesh, when he yearns for the physical presence of other Christians.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together19.

“The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together19.

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