The Authority of the Bible and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I am quite thankful to be able to read about a man who held to such great faith and to the Truths of the Bible amid the challenges that Dietrich Bonhoeffer faced. He grew up in with parents of prestige, especially his father, who was a scientist. He also grew up in an intellectual neighborhood and studied under some great minds. He had great respect for his father and his teachers, even though he disagreed with their conclusions in their theology. He was able to think for himself and come to some great theological and biblical conclusions that truly shaped his life and the way he lived it.

He also faced some great social and political turmoil, much similar to what the Church faces today. Preaching the true Gospel was not popular socially, and, in spite of Germany’s rich theological past, became politically incorrect as well, and eventually got him put in jail, then into a concentration camp, and eventually killed.

In spite of all of these things, Bonhoeffer unapologetically preached the absolute authority, and thus the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible, and from that, the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. He also encouraged his students to “feel at one with the doubter; …he did not indulge in cheap apologetics which from their lofty base fire upon the battlements of natural science. We must think with the doubter, …even doubt with him.”

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I was particularly inspired by the following letter he wrote to a brother-in-law who was said to be “as theologically liberal as he was conservative.”

First of all I will confess quite simply-I believe that the Bible alone is the answer to all our questions, and that we need only to ask repeatedly and a little humbly, in order to receive this answer. One cannot simply readthe Bible, like other books. One must be prepared really to enquire of it. Only thus will it reveal itself. Only if we expect from it the ultimate answer, shall we receive it. That is because in the Bible God speaks to us. And one cannot simply think about God in one’s own strength, one has to enquire of him. Only if we seek him, will he answer us. Of course it is also possible to read the Bible like any other book, that is to say from the point of view of textual criticism, etc.; ther is nothing to be said against that. Only that that is not the method which will reveal to us the heart of the Bible, but only the surface, just as we do not grasp the words of someone we love by taking them to bits, but by simply receiving them, so that for days they go on lingering in our minds, simply because they are the words of a person we love; and just as these words reveal more and more of the person who said them as we go on, like Mary, “pondering them in her heart,” so it will be with the words of the Bible. Only if we will venture to enter into the words of the Bible, as though in them this God were speaking to us who loves us and does not will to leave us along with our questions, only so shall we learn to rejoice in the Bible….

If it is I who determine where God is to be found, then I shall always find a God who corresponds to me in some way, who is obliging, who is connected with my own nature. But if God determines where he is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not immediately pleasing to my nature and which is not at all congenial to me. This place is the Cross of Christ. And whoever would find him must go to the foot of the Cross, as the Sermon on the Mount commands. This is not according to our nature at all, it is entirely contrary to it. But this is the message of the Bible, not only in the New but also in the Old Testament.

And I would like to tell you now quite personally: since I have leart to read the Bible in this way-and this has not been for so very long-it becomes every day more wonderful to me. I read it in the morning and evening, often during the day as well, and every day I consider a text which I have chosen for the whole week, and try to sink deeply into it, so as really to hear what it is saying. I know that without this I could not live properly any longer.

I find this particularly inspiring because, although I had much less education, I too went through theological training in 5 years of Bible College, but it wasn’t until after that that I came to truly love and appreciate the Bible in the way Bonhoeffer described above. His words are far more eloquent than mine, but what he shared in that letter are my thoughts exactly.

I wanted to share this to encourage some and for others, to help them better understand why I think and believe the way I do.

Thanks for reading! Grace, love and peace!

*all quotes taken from ‘Bonheffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy’ by Eric Metaxas

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How Do We Grow to Love God’s Word? – Sermon

I was blessed with a second opportunity to encourage and admonish my church by preaching about how to grow in our love for God’s Word, the Scriptures and why it is so important.

The Tragic Loss of the Gospel

One of the biggest questions we need to answer to find the true meaning of the Gospel is, “Why did Jesus come into the world?” Ultimately, we know that He came to die and to be raised again because that was God’s eternal plan.  But we also see from Jesus’ own words that He came to call sinners to repentance.  John MacArthur sums it up well in his book The Gospel According to Jesus:  “Why did Jesus come into the world?  To call sinners – those who know they have a terminal disease, those who are hopeless and desperate, those who are hurting, those who are hungry and thirsty, those who are weak and weary, those who are broken, those whose lives are shattered – sinners who know they are unworthy yet long to be forgiven.”

Sadly, many have lost sight of this, and sometimes, this can result in incredibly disturbing, angering, sickening, heartbreaking and tragic results like in this video.

 

This “pastor” shows a disdain for God and His Word and for the people that are involved, and, ultimately for the Gospel itself.  He was willing to allow this church to die in order to please a few people rather than upholding the Truths of God’s Word.  He shows an incredible immaturity by swearing from the pulpit, and shows an extreme lack of Biblical knowledge and understanding, and an extreme lack of understanding of the Gospel.  And my heart breaks for him and for those he has short-changed.  MacArthur continues the idea of why Jesus came into the world:

“The truth is that unless people realize they have a sin problem, they will not come to Christ for a solution.  People do not come for healing unless they know they have a disease; they do not come for live unless they are conscious that they are under the penalty of death; they do not come for salvation unless they are weary of the bondage of sin.

Thus Jesus came to expose us all as sinners.  That is why His message was so penetrating, so forceful.  It tore our self-righteousness away and exposed our evil hearts, so that we might see ourselves as sinners.

…those who think they are good enough – those who do not understand the seriousness of sin – cannot respond to the Gospel.  They cannot be saved, for the Gospel is a call to sinners to repent and be forgiven.

No one who neglects to call sinners to repentance is preaching the Gospel according to Jesus.  Our Lord came to save sinners.  But to those who are unwilling to admit their sin, He has nothing to say – except to pronounce judgment.”

 

Sadly, this pastor doesn’t seem to have a grasp on this.  Instead, he essentially asks like a skeptic why he should listen to a 2,000 year old book to tell him how to love others (sounds like he’s been listening too much to Rob Bell).  Fortunately, it seems that many in this congregation were more wise to the Truths of Scripture than their pastor, and, “after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him” (Titus 3:10).  What this pastor did reeks of the Enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  He stole the Truth of the Gospel from his congregation, killed the faith of some of them and ultimately, destroyed that church.

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident.  Many are giving up the authority of God’s Word, which has been questioned from the beginning by the Enemy.  “Did God really say…” is behind each challenge to Scripture and the question continues to come up in the same ways it has throughout the history of God’s Word.  The Word of God has withstood every test thrown at it.  The trends have come and gone and this one will be no different.  But the Word of God and the Truths of Scripture will remain the same and will stand firm just as they always have.  It’s time we got back to preaching the Gospel according to Jesus!  But, as always, we must do so in an attitude of humility, thankfulness, love and compassion.  Many don’t understand that to truly love someone is to warn them of God’s coming judgment on those who refuse to repent.  They instead think the loving thing to do is to affirm people in their sin and encourage them to live as they please, but nothing could be further from the truth.

My point in saying all of this is not to bash anyone.  My heart truly breaks for those who question God’s Word and lead others astray because of it.  Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey My commandments.” So if we truly love Jesus and others, it will drastically change our lives so that we will not be able to help but want to obey Him.  Will we stumble?  Sure, all the time.  But we will never live in a constant state of rebellion against what He has clearly laid out in His Word.

Much love in the Truth!