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I have been a fan of Dietrich Bonhoeffer since I was a student at Bethel College in St. Paul, MN back in 1970s. Over the years, the person and works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer have been embraced by evangelicals, liberals, Jews and Catholics. He is also the champion of both the right and the left. He has been described as a “flamingly gay“.

No matter the issue, people from both sides of the issue look to Bonhoeffer for wisdom and guidance. The issue may be same-sex marriage, gun control, abortion, immigration, politics and politicians.

If Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived today, let’s say in America, what side would he take? Back in 2016, would he vote for Hillary or Trump? Voters for both candidates would build a case that Bonhoeffer would certainly see their point of view.

My thesis for my Doctor of Ministry degree focused on the impact of Dietrich Bonhoeffer on twenty-first century preachers, but I am far from being an expert on Bonhoeffer. But I did do enough research then and since then to say that Dietrich Bonhoeffer cannot be boxed in.

He was only 39 years old when he was hung. Imagine if he lived another thirty or forty years and was able to develop his ideas and theology further.

What side would he take? My take is this: Dietrich Bonhoeffer would teach us to pray, read the Bible and meditate on God’s Word. He would also not to place our trust in people (like Presidents) but in God alone. He would tell us to love others who are vastly different than us. I think he would say that even though, we live is an age of outrage, Christians, are to be at their very best and represent Jesus.

Bryan

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“The will of God, to which the law gives expression, is that men should defeat their enemies by loving them.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

As a small boy he (Dietrich) once a attacked a weaker classmate, whose mother expressed the grace suspicion that perhaps the Bonhoeffer children had been raised to be anti-Semitic. Dietrich’s mother replied that that her son could not have heard of such a thing in her house. As someone capable of such violence, he was later particularly and carefully concerned about treating those in weaker positions considerately, and instilling self-confidence in them.    

Eberhard BethgeDietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography (Revised Edition); Chapter 1: Childhood and Youth: 1906-1923, 19.

What Makes Sundays More Satisfying

Article by David Mathis

Executive Editor, desiringGod.org

Not every Sunday is a mountaintop. Our hearts often feel sluggish when we come to worship. Distractions around us may abound. Shame over sin can make us feel like hypocrites. Our lives in this fallen world are endlessly up and down. Even in corporate worship. Perhaps especially.

This is what makes our weekly gathering so important. We lift our voices together and turn from that week’s “fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25) to the superior pleasures to be had in Christ. We help each other move higher up the mountain. And in that process of being renewed, and gaining strength for the daily and weekly demands of life, we find our coming together in worship to be the single most important means of deep and enduring joy in God, even as coming to enjoy him can be an extended process.

But up or down, high or low, with what frame of mind and heart do we come to worship together?

Our God is the all-satisfying fountain of living waters (Jeremiah 2:13). When we seek to quench our deep soul-thirst in him, corporate worship becomes the stunning opportunity to gather together not just with fellow believers, but with fellow enjoyers of God.

Come to the Fountain

The prophet Isaiah raised his voice to summon God’s people not simply as believers but enjoyers:

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.” (Isaiah 55:1–2)

In worship, we enjoy Jesus together as water for our thirsty souls, as milk to nourish our spirits, and as wine to gladden our hearts. God offers a banquet to the human soul — not mainly for individual snacking but for corporate feasting.

We do find encouragement in gathering consciously with fellow believers. In a world that suppresses the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18) — and lies to us subtly and overtly at every turn that self, not God, is in control — finding ourselves in the assembly, in the congregation, of believers can have a powerful effect on reinforcing our faith. God exists. He made our world. He rules over its every detail, even our sin. And he sent his own Son to rescue us from our sins, and the punishment we justly deserve, by faith in him.

And yet, when we gather in corporate worship, we are more deeply knit together than simply the truths we affirm. A stronger tie that binds us is whom we enjoy. We share in a common joy with uncommon worth: the greatest treasure in the universe.

Come to the Faith

Is it assuming too much to think of your fellow worshipers as fellow enjoyers of Jesus? Not at all. Saving faith is not indifferent to its Savior.

“I am the bread of life,” Jesus says, “whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). Note the parallels in what Jesus says. Not hungering pairs with never thirsting. And coming to Jesus pairs with believing in him. What, then, according to John 6:35, is Christian faith? It is “coming to Jesus” — not bodily or geographically but in the soul — to have our soul-hunger satisfied and our soul-thirst quenched.

There is an irreducible aspect of enjoyment in such faith, whether the believer is conscious of it yet or not. There is a kind of “joy” that is not only the fruit of faith (Galatians 5:22) but an essential aspect of faith (Philippians 1:252 Corinthians 1:24). Fellow believers in Jesus are fellow enjoyers, with us, of him. Our corporate worship truly is an enjoying Jesus together.

Come to the Father

Whether or not we come in worship as enjoyers, not just believers, may reflect how deeply we see God as our Father — a true Father who we know fundamentally as a giver, not taker.

For the rest of the post…

The leaders of the transgender revolution revile the celebrated declaration, “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl,” when a baby is born. Transgender activists recognize that their revolution cannot succeed until doctors who deliver babies, or ultrasound technicians at women’s cliques, stop labeling babies as a specific gender. The announcement of a baby’s gender, however, still fills delivery rooms and doctor’s offices with excitement. I predict that this practice will continue.

Recently, an article ran in “The Ethicist” column of the New York Times Magazine. The ethicist in this case is Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah. The headline in the article asked, “Should I Go to a Gender-Reveal Party?” The questioner who wrote in for advice posed to “The Ethicist” the following scenario:

“A close relation is pregnant with her first child and is having a gender-reveal party. She is overjoyed with the addition to our family, as am I. However, I am adamantly opposed to attending the gender-reveal party because it violates my moral code. I have worked in activism for my entire professional life and, though I am cisgender, I have strong feelings about gender politics and equality. Gender-reveal parties, where parents and guests learn a baby’s gender together, violate my values because they reaffirm society’s gender binarism and inadvertently perpetuate the stigma against non-binary genders. I know I will never experience firsthand the challenges of being gender-nonconforming, but when I think about how I might feel, I would be very hurt knowing my parents had a gender-reveal party for me before I was born with my incorrect gender. I know the non-binary community faces much deeper, more urgent problems than this hypothetical situation, but even so, I have a moral aversion to helping affirm society’s gender binarism. Should I attend the party?”

This question represents just one more step towards cultural insanity. The questioner cannot fathom nor allow for a party where people celebrate politically incorrect labels like “boy” and “girl.” Such a party violates the moral code of the transgender movement.

Indeed, the moral unction behind this question is breathtaking. Scenarios like this come, not on the leading edge of a moral revolution. Rather, the moral revolution must have made significant gains before an ethics column in the New York Times Magazine begins to get letters with this kind of moral outrage at a gender-reveal party.

Christians thinking about this moral confusion must first stop at the vocabulary used in this article—particularly the word, “cisgender.” Using that term plays into the entire gender revolution. The term indicates that someone born a male is quite comfortable with being male. Even adopting the vocabulary, therefore, becomes an enormous problem because the vocabulary assumes that you accept the ideology of the transgender revolutionaries—that gender fluidity exists and that the gender assigned at one’s birth may or may not be factual. “Cisgender” signifies that you buy into the idea that all of humanity must be identified on a spectrum, with cisgender at one end and gender-nonconforming, or, transgender at the other end.

Secondly, Christians need to note the kind of moral outrage indicated in the question. The questioner, filled with indignation, lashes out at a set of parents who had the audacity to throw a gender-reveal party—a party that apparently does nothing more than perpetuate binary stereotypes. Indeed, according to this article in the New York Times Magazine, gender-reveal parties could damage relationships between parents and their transgender children who find out that mom and dad threw a party which revealed an “incorrect gender.” This argument asks the reader to make incredible leaps in logic and to possess an imaginative framework which obfuscates all reality.

But here’s the third thing we come to understand about this article: It tells us that the writers, editors, and publishers of the New York Times Magazine believe that these are the kinds of questions we should be concerned about and that we too should experience the confliction, indeed, the outrage present in the question posed to “The Ethicist.”

The question, by itself, poses enormous problems and reveals the erosion of any sane ethic.

For the rest of the post…

“Your life as a Christian should make non believers question their disbelief in God.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Amen!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quote

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a 20th-century Christian martyr, said, “When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, He bids us come and die.” Bonhoeffer termed this idea, “costly grace”: costly because it costs a person their life, and it is true grace, not cheap grace, because it gives a person the only true life there is.

In our Scripture, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Is Jesus just another man? Is He Elijah? Is He John the Baptist?

In your life, who is Jesus? Is He a good Bubba that we think of only as a friend in need? Or is He the Risen Lord, whose Holy Spirit lovingly washes away our sins?

Peter answers for the disciples, and us too, and says, “You are the Christ!”

This is a high-water mark in the ministry of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus receives Peter’s affirmation that He has been leading the disciples toward throughout his ministry. Moving into today’s Scripture, the disciples have gotten to a point where they can take the next step, which is the moment where Jesus begins to reveal to the disciples that He is going to be persecuted, suffer and die, and then rise again after three days.

As it can be with us, so it was for the disciples. The idea that Jesus would be persecuted and killed is so outrageous that they again, look to their spokesman, Peter, to say something about it to Jesus. I can just hear Peter saying to Jesus, “What are you talking about!? No way will you do that to us!”

At this point, I want us to become Peter for just a moment.

For the rest of the post…

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