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Bonhoeffer’s Reminder About Our Attitude Towards Our Congregations

31 January 2012

I am re-reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together (for the umpteenth time) and am struck anew by these words:Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.

This applies in a special way to the complaints often heard from pastors and zealous members about this congregations.  A pastor should not complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God.  A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men.   When a person becomes alienated from a Christian community in which he has been placed and begins to raise complaints about it, he had better examine himself first to see whether the trouble is not due to his wish dream that should be shattered by God; and if this be the case, let him thank God for leading him into this predicament.  But if not, let him nevertheless guard against ever becoming an accuser of the congregation before God.  Let him rather accuse himself for his unbelief  Let him pray God for an understanding of his own failure and his particular sin, and pray that he may not wrong his brethren. Let him, in the consciousness of his own guilt, make intercession for his brethren.  Let him do what he is committed to do, and thank God.

Life Together, pp. 29-30.

No commentary needed.  I am sufficiently chastened.  

Church, Pastoral Care, Prayer, Relationships, The Preacher

One Comments to “Bonhoeffer’s Reminder About Our Attitude Towards Our Congregations”

  1. Maribeth Pippenger

    Bonhoeffer was so young and yet had such spiritual wisdom.

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