Dealing with Church Disillusionments?

Are you perhaps disillusioned with the church? Erin Lane says disillusionment is a gift. Yes, that’s right. It’s a gift. From God. Or at least a gift we are given and are given a challenge to do something with it. Actually, she says disillusionment is the gift of being freed from illusions in her new book, Lessons [Read More...]

You Vote

Which of these statements by Bonhoeffer about costly vs. cheap grace is your favorite? Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship (DBWE 4). #1: Cheap grace means grace as doctrine, as principle, as system. It means forgiveness of sins as a general truth; it means God’s love as merely a Christian idea of God. Those who affirm it have [Read More...]

Teaching Discipleship to Youth

In his suggestive probing of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer on a scent for the impact of DB’s own ministry to youth, Andrew Root discovers that DB’s theology was shaped by his ministry to youth. All found in Andrew Root, Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker. Which leads to a question many of us have perhaps asked: When [Read More...]

Asking the Bible to do More than it does

The issue can be settled into two terms: the Bible teaches truth but it does not teach the path. These two terms are Bonhoeffer’s and emerged from the intense discussions in the Confessing Church on whether their pastors should pursue legalization under Hitler or remain “illegal” and dependent on free will offerings by the parishes [Read More...]

What Happens to Church Ministry When…?

What happens to church ministry when we turn from the “phraseological” to the “real”? The terms need fleshing out. The phraseological is theology as words, ministry as didactic and indoctrinating, the congregation/members/Christians as empty minds in need mostly of filling or the congregation in need of becoming passive before the fountain of pastoral wisdom. The [Read More...]

Rethinking “Youth” Ministry

What does it mean to “do theology” with youth? or in youth ministry? Andrew Root has been exploring this question for years and he points the way in today’s post by showing how Bonhoeffer was a theological kind youth pastor. Not one who so much taught theological answers but one who introduced youth to thinking [Read More...]

Where is the kingdom?

D. Bonhoeffer, Christmas Night sermon, 25 December 1940 (DBW 16.616). It is no longer a worldly throne and kingdom as it once was but a spiritual throne and kingdom. Where are Jesus’ throne and kingdom? They are where he himself is present, reigns, and governs with his word and sacrament, in the church, in the [Read More...]

Who Owns Bonhoeffer?

I have been with a wide variety of theologians and pastors who love Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In fact, Bonhoeffer seems to be on every one’s side. Is there a “real” Bonhoeffer beyond the ownership? We might wonder where he’d locate himself in our theological spectrum but that’s speculation. Andrew Root, in his new book on Bonhoeffer, [Read More...]

Taking Sides in Theological Disputes

Every generation has its theological disputes. Some are much more significant than others, though some suggest that each of the debates concerns the most essential elements of the faith. Which translation to use is not as important as the Trinity but some of the voices in the former debate suggest apocalyptic doom if we get [Read More...]

Church and Government, Under Christ

We don’t think enough about the relationship of the church to the state; we assume what exists in our world is what is supposed to be. Any experience in other countries, however, reveals considerable and substantive differences, and those differences lead to different strategies for churches and Christians on how to relate to the state [Read More...]