Monthly Archives: February 2014

DANCING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS: Bonhoeffer Files

I have recently finished reading through Eric Metaxas biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and have preached an entire series to celebrate his birthday for the month of February. The podcasted sermons can be found at this link:

http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630 

I have said it again and again that I believe Dietrich Bonhoeffer to be an excellent example of a well-lived Christian life, therefore I am taking this opportunity to share what I have learned about him through this rather lengthy blog.

“…He grew up in a family that believed the essence of learning lay not in a formal education but in a deeply rooted obligation to be guardians of a great historical heritage”. – Eberhard Bethke

Imagine if Christians truly started to understanding “the essence of learning” in that manner. It is not about obtaining knowledge, but about living out the heritage and being “guardians” of the truth contained in the gospel, and what we as kingdom ambassadors know through Jesus Christ…. ahh just imagine. I believe we are living on the threshold of this realization in the Church. It’s high time we begin taking this seriously.

In was said that in Bonhoeffer’s family, “Each had his special trait, but common to them all was an idealistic streak, with a fearless readiness to act on their convictions”.

As G.K. Beale noted about Bonhoeffer:

“He was crystal clear in his convictions; and young as he was, and humble-minded as he was, he saw the truth, and spoke it with a complete absence of fear”.

Reading through Metaxas biography was enlightening to say the least. I have the opportunity to learn about Bonhoeffer’s family life, which clearly led to many of his convictions regarding truth. Bonhoeffer’s father was devoted to Empirical Science, which builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. It would be the contention of Bonhoeffer that: “The validity of Christianity lies within the realm of rational inquiry”. I am inclined to agree. Below are some links to help you understand an Empiricist way of looking at Christianity.

http://faculty.som.yale.edu/jameschoi/whychrist-empiric.html

http://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2012/04/christianity-knowledge-and-empiricism/

Many who know me personally can attest to my contant plea for Christians to truly understand, teach, and preach a TRUE AND REASONABLE GOSPEL. As Bonhoeffer said:

“One must consider every possibility and avoid predisposing oneself to where it would all lead. During his lifetime, Bonhoeffer brought this critical and “scientific” attitude to all questions of faith and theology”.

In the Bonhoeffer home it was said that there was no place for “false piety” or “any kind of bogus religiousity”, and those are direct statements from his sister Sabine. The rising generation of Christians can surely find appreciation for that. We call that “being real”.

Bonhoeffer knew we must find God and not allow our presuppositions create an “idol god” of our own. As goes the cliche saying, “God created man in his image, and man returned the favor”. No instead as Bonhoeffer rightly notes:

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”.

I totally love the fact that Bonhoeffer saw the need for theology to leak into the practical aspects of living as a Christian. Our understanding of God and His kingdom should place us in a sort of “holy rebellion” to this world. Dietrich Bonhoeffer would have called this a “religion-less Christianity” which compared and contrasted “cheap grace” and “costly grace”.

Again Bonhoeffer’s upbringing would have led him to understand this in this fashion because he was raised to not only live out his convictions but to also think before you speak, aswell as the self-deception of being led by emotions. Sadly, many who refer to themselves as “Christians” today, have adopted an emotional attraction to to a gospel they have made up.

For example, recently I was listening to a Christian rap song by Andy Mineo called “Where the Wild Things Are” and he quotes this:

“When I talk about Jesus, all the Christians love me. But if I try to walk like Jesus, all the Christians judge me”.

The “secularization of Christianity” (something Bonhoeffer continually spoke out against) had led many to create a sort of ‘moralistic deism” and call it Christianity. What I mean by “moralistic deism” is that Christianity is all about rules and regulations on how to live your life with a spinkle of belief in God. That IS NOT CHRISTIANITY.

“Christianity is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will. The essence of chastity is not the suppression of lust, but the total orientation of one’s life towards a goal. Without such a goal, chastity is bound to become ridiculous”. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This is so important because another aspect of Christianity that Bonhoeffer was so passionate about was the fact that it must be made real to the man in the street.

So Christian, I now ask you….. Are you walking worthy? Please take this admonishment and example given to us through the life of Christ seriously.

Even my asking you this question is in the fashion of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who made the point that we need more Christians who are willing to do “suprise visits” and ask other brothers and sisters in the faith- “How goes it with your soul?”.

As Bonhoeffer was arrested he took his Bible with him. This reminded me of my recent agreement to “treat my Bible like my cellphone”. In other words just as I would make sure I have my cellphone on me at all times, I will do the same with my Bible- no matter where I go (anywhere I would naturally bring my cellphone).

FAST FACT: Did you know Martin Luther introduced the idea of Congregational singing?

Congregational singing had been halted since the close of the fourth century, when the church leaders decreed: “If laymen are not to interpret the Scriptures for themselves, so they are not to sing the songs of the church”. Martin Luther declared, “Let God speak directly to His people through the Scriptures, and let His people respond with grateful songs of praise”.

You can read more about this by visiting the following link:

http://ctl.cedarville.edu/musicology/wordpress/?p=62

“It wasn’t until 1920, when Dietrich turned fourteen, that he was ready to tell anyone he had decided to become a theologian”.

In Bonhoeffer’s time, much like the time we are living in, the Church seemed weak, oppressive, and more like a business than ‘the light of the world’, but when God calls men like Bonhoeffer, He leads them to say:

“In that case, I shall have to reform it”.

Bonhoeffer understood:

Revival of church life always brings in its train a richer understanding of the Scriptures”.

The real trouble is that the pure Word of Jesus has been overlaid with so much human ballast- burdensome rules and regulations, false hopes and consolations- that it has become extremely difficult to make a genuine decision for Christ”.

As a Christian, the health of the ‘body of Christ’ stays at the forefront of my mind, therefore I fully recieve this admonishment that Bonhoeffer gave to himself as my own:

Paul writes that he thinks of his congregation “without ceasing” in his prayers and yet at the same time he devoted himself completely to the task at hand. I must learn to do that. It will probably only come with prayer. God, grant me in the next few weeks clarity about my future and keep me in the communion of prayer with the brethren”.

It cannot be reiterated enough the need for us to ask ourselves, WHAT IS THE CHURCH? This is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer sought to explain in his writings, Sanctorum Communio & Act and Being. Both of which I look forward to reading myself fairly soon.

Due to the apathy that was alive and well in the church in Bonhoeffer’s time, he helped initiate the rise of what was called THE CONFESSING CHURCH. You can learn more of the details of that by visiting the following link:

https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/confessing-church

Bonhoeffer knew it was important that the Church was exhibited as “Christ existing as church-community”. He would go on to say,

“The body of Christ is the spiritual temple built out of living stones (1 Peter 2:5). Christ is its sole foundation and cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 3:11) but at the same time He is in His person the temple (Ephesians 2:21), in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, replenishing and sactifying the hearts of the faithful (1 Corinthians 3:10; 6:19). The Temple of God is the holy people in Jesus Christ. The body of Christ is the living temple of God and the new humanity”.

Since the ascension, Christ’s place on earth has been His body, the Church. The Church is the real presence of Christ. Once we have realized this truth we are well on the way to recovering an aspect of the Church’s being which has been sadly neglected in the past. We should think of the Church not as an institution but as a person, through of course a person in a unique sense”.

One student of Bonhoeffer’s noted that:

He pointed out that nowadays we often ask ourselves whether we still need the Church, whether we still need God. But this question, he said, is wrong. We are the ones who are questioned. The Church exists and God exists, and we are asked whether we are willing to be of service, for God needs us”.

The Church is called to stand with those who suffer”. We read in Galatians 6:2 – Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”.

It is high time we broke with our theologically based restraint towards the state’s actions- which after all, is only fear. “Speak out for those who cannot speak”. Who in the church today realizes that this is the very least that the Bible requires of us”. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Here is how Bonhoeffer saw CHURCH REFORM:

“I think I am right in saying that I would only achieve true inner clarity and honesty by really starting to take the Sermon on the Mount seriously. Here alone lies the force that can blow all this idiocy sky-high- like fireworks, leaving only a few burnt-out shells behind. The restoration of the church must surely depend on a new kind of monasticism, which has nothing in common with the old but a life of uncompromising discipleship, following Christ according to the Sermon on the Mount”.

In regard to living out the necessary reforms in the body of Christ, “he knew that to act freely could mean inadvertently doing wrong and incurring guilt. In fact, he felt that living this way meant that is was impossible to avoid incurring guilt, but if one wished to live responsibly and fully, one would be willing to do so”.

I call this “living lightly”. I seek to live out the teachings of Jesus Christ by conviction therefore ‘free from condemnation’, yet I just live, I don’t focus on not sinner. If indeed during my efforts to glorify God, I offend, then repentance is necessary.

Yet again in regards to CHURCH REFORM. Bonhoeffer would have it stated that one church could have differences with another church, but engage in dialogue for further mutual understanding. This is what we NEED in the body of Christ today. I am actually in the middle of writing up a letter/ document to give local leadership in my region to further stimulate mutual edification and understanding among churches in our area.

I plead with my brothers and sisters in the faith to begin the “leg work” of reform because ideas and beliefs are nothing if they do not relate to the world of reality outside of one’s own mind.

As I learn from Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a pastor, I desire to preach sermons that stimulate the congregation both Spiritually and intellectually. It’s said that His style as a lecturer was “very concentrated, quite unsentimental, almost disspassionate, clear as crystal, with a certain rational coldness, like a reporter”. It was this combination of an adamantine faith with a logician’s sparkling intellect that was so compelling”.

“A truly evangelical sermon must be like offering a child a fine red apple or offering a thirsty man a cool glass of water and then saying: Do you want it?”. -Bonhoeffer

It was Ruth von Kleist-Retzow who said the following statement about Bonhoeffer:

“When you saw him (Bonhoeffer) preaching you saw a young man who was entirely in God’s grasp”.

Bonhoeffer’s notice for the necessity of the Psalms being alive and well in the Church is interesting and an understanding I desire to come close to. Bonhoeffer said:

“The Psalter filled the life of early Christians. But more important than this is that Jesus died on the cross with words from the Psalms on His lips. Whenever the Psalter is abandoned, an incomparable treasure is lost to the Christian church. With its recovery will come unexpected power”.

A prominent Preterist writer, David Chilton has noted:

There is a very important connection between the Church’s worldview and the Church’s hymns. If your heart and mouth are filled with songs of victory, you will tend to have an eschatology of dominion; if, instead, your songs are fearful, expressing a longing for escape-or if they are weak, childish ditties-your worldview and expectations will be escapist and childish. Historically, the basic hymnbook for the Church has been the Book of Psalms. The largest book of the Bible is the Book of Psalms, and God providentially placed it right in the middle of the Bible, so that we couldn’t miss it! Yet how many churches use the Psalms in musical worship? It is noteworthy that the Church’s abandonment of dominion eschatology coincided with the Church’s abandonment of the Psalms.”

WE MUST OFFER “INCARNATIONAL MINISTRY”.

The following link is a good “primer” on what exactly ‘incarnational ministry’ is:

http://www.releasetheape.com/two-blocks-to-incarnational-ministry/

It’s important that we recognize the truth in what Bonhoeffer has said:

“In Jesus Christ the reality of God has entered into the reality of this world”.

We are the ‘body’ of Christ in this world. We are His hands and feet. His work is done through us. When ‘the many’ want a physical form of Jesus- we offer them the Church. It is our duty to show the world what ‘life in Christ’ means. We are resurrecting the world to life in Christ.

When the Bible speaks of following Jesus, it is proclaiming a discipleship which will liberate mankind from all man-made dogmas, from every burden and oppression, from every anxiety and torture which afflicts the conscience. If they follow Jesus, men escape from the hard yoke of their own laws, and submit to the kindly yoke of Jesus Christ”.

“And if we answer the call to discipleship, where will it lead us? What decisions and partings will it demand? To answer this question we shall have to go to Him, for only He knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us to follow Him, knows the journeys end. But we do know it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship means joy”.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3)”.

MEN’S GROUP

Recently, forming a sort of “men’s group” had been on my mind. The conviction of making this happen was enhanced when I read that Bonhoeffer led a discussion group of young men which covered many topics called The Thursday Circle.

I think a good platform has been created through The Good Men Project (goodmenproject.com).

It was no aimless gabfest, but a controlled, serious exploration of questions. It consisted of “pure, abstract theorizing, in the attempt to grasp a problem in its fullness”.

A good start would be learning from inspiring men that have blazed these trails before us. Men like Karl Barth who had a great take on “dead religion”.

How about Martin Niemoller who famously said: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out- because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out- because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out- because I was not a Jew. And then they came for me- and there was no one left to speak for me”.

Or Fabian von Schlabrendorff who wrote, ‘They Almost Killed Hitler’ & ‘I Knew Dietrich Bonhoeffer’.

I love the example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer though. It was said that he lived a full-life. He continually attended operas, movies, concerts, art exhibits, plays, spent alot of time with friendsfamilycolleagues, and was constantly traveling. He had a complete disregard for idle nonsense that fills most of our days. Bonhoeffer knew the importance of meeting all kinda of people:

“…here I meet people as they are, far from the masquerade of ‘the Christian world”, people with passions, criminal types, small people with small aims, small wages, and small sins- all in all they are people who feel homeless in both senses, and who begin to thaw when one speaks to them with kindness- real people, I can only say that i have gained the impression that it is just these people who are much more under grace than under wrath, and that it is the Christian world which is more under wrath than grace”.

Again that reminds me of a quote by the Christian rapper, Andy Mineo when he said:

I’ve chosen this lifestyle, you ever met my friends? Porn stars, dope dealers, they like, “Why you chill with them? I thought you was a Christian?” Yeah I’m on that team, but I’m with them cause my life’s the only bible that they’ve ever seen”.

Convicting, isn’t it?

Eric Metaxas notes that “Bonhoeffer strove to see what God wanted to show and then to do what God asked in response. That was the obedient Christian life, the call of a disciple. And it came with a cost, which explained why so many were so afraid to open their eyes in the first place. It was the antithesis of the “cheap grace” that required nothing more than an easy mental assent, which he wrote about in the Cost of Discipleship”. One of Bonhoeffer’s students speaking about Bonhoeffer said that he was truly“a man who believes in what he thinks and does what he believes in”.

While Bonhoeffer surely advocated “death to self”, he did not shun “earthly pleasure”. Instead as Metaxas noted in his book, “the “desire for earthly bliss” is not something we steal from behind God’s back, but is something that He has desired that we should desire”. I think John Piper in regards to “Christian Hedonism” said it quite well:

“God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him”.

“The religion of Christ is not a tidbit after one’s bread, on the contrary, it is the bread or it is nothing. People should atleast understand and concede this if they call themselves Christian”.

Is it understandable yet why this man is such a great example to follow?

I am starting a new idea called 3rd Sunday lectures this month. My motivation comes from Bonhoeffer taking intitiative to give lectures at another time besides Sundays, which I believe is important.

Why? Well, let’s consider Bonhoeffer’s remarks about New York:

“In New York they preach about virtually everything, only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin, and forgiveness, death and life”

“There is no theology here…They become intoxicated with liberal and humanistic phrases, laugh at the fundamentalists, and yet are not even up to their level”.

They seemed to know what the answer was supposed to be and weren’t much concerned with how to get there. They knew only that whatever answer the fundamentalists came up with must be wrong”.

Even going as far as saying, “Tomorrow is Sunday. I wonder if I shall hear a sermon”. He noted that what he heard from the pulpit was a “very forced application of the text” and “too much analysis, too little gospel”.

All of that being said, it is high time we have plenty of the gospel being preached in New York, amen? As a pastor, I don’t believe I can “preach too much”, plus Ms. Vicki Chua, an amazing woman of God in my congregation recently brought up the idea and reading about Bonhoeffer doing so just convinced me that such an idea is “of God”.

I am also inspired to start an apprenticeship. This will be modeled after the illegal seminary that Bonhoeffer ran. Shh…it’s illegal 🙂

The first and foremost requirement will be to understand that “When Christ calls a man, He bids him- come and die”. We will foster understanding this by requiring that every student read ‘The Cost of Discipleship’.

Many Christians question their calling. My usual advice is to take a “five fold survey” as a beginning step. Bonhoeffer notes:

But how is the disciple to know what kind of cross is meant for him? He will find out as soon as he begins to follow his Lord and share his life”.

This is all demonstrated through“life together” .

‘Living together day by day produces a strong spirit of comradeship, of mutual readiness to help. The thousandfold “hullo” which sounds through the corridors of the hostel in the course of the day and which is not omitted even when someone is rushing past is not as meaningless as one might suppose…No one remains alone in the dormitory. The unreservedness of life together makes one person open to another, in the conflict between determination for truth with all of its consequences and the will for community, the latter prevails..”.

The entire education of the younger generation of theologians belongs today in church cloister-like schools, in which pure doctrine, the Sermon on the Mount and worship are taken seriously- as they never are (and in present circumstances couldn’t be) at the university”.

L.I.F.E. – Learning Institute of Fulfilled Eschatology/ Living In the Fulfilled Eschaton

I think I am right in saying that I would only achieve true inner clarity and honesty by really starting to take the Sermon on the Mount seriously. Here alone lies the force that can blow all this idiocy sky-high- like fireworks, leaving only a few burnt-out shells behind. The restoration of the church must surely depend on a new kind of monasticism, which has nothing in common with the old but a life of uncompromising discipleship, following Christ according to the Sermon on the Mount”.

I had the opportunity of visiting Reba Place Fellowship located in Evanston, Ill. It was such a blessing to experience “intentional community” in that fashion, and I aspire to see it all the more in the future.

Here on the outer fringe of the Church was a place where the older vision was kept alive. Here men still remembered that grace costs, that grace means following Christ….Thus monasticism became a living protest against the secularization of Christianity and the cheapening of grace”.

I remember a while back reading through Church History and being in awe of the seeming structure that the ‘body of Christ’ had and wondered where it went. Through this understanding of a “new monasticism” I see a sort of structure returning to the body of Christ.

Confirmands today are like young soldiers marching to war, the war of Jesus Christ against the gods of this world. It is a war that demands the comittment of one’s whole life. Is not God, our Lord, worthy of this struggle? Idolatry and cowardice confront us on all sides, but the direst foe not confront us, he is within us. ‘Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief”.

Theological work and real pastoral fellowship can only grow in a life which is governed by gathering around the Word morning and evening and by fixed times of prayer”.

Hey, that’s Bonhoeffer’s advice. Maybe, I need to more firmly advocate “fixed times of prayer”? There sure is power in knowing that your brother or sister is reading through Scripture and/or praying at the same time as you.

I have endeavored to create a daily routine that will be for me and any visiting guests. I will pretty much open my home for anyone who would want to experience a “life in fellowship” in this manner. This is modeled after the way Bonhoeffer’s community was organized:

Morning Prayer: “O God, early in the morning do I cry unto thee. Help me to pray, and to think only of thee. I cannot pray alone. In me there is darkness, but with thee there is light. I am lonely, but thou leavest me not. I am feeble in heart, but thou leavest me not. I am restless, but with thee there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with thee there is patience, thy ways are past understanding, but thou knowest the way for me”. – Bonhoeffer

-Forty-five minute service before breakfast, and ended with a service just before bed

Bonhoeffer requested us not to say a single word to each other before the (morning) service. The first word to come was supposed to be God’s Word”. – student, Albrecht Schoner

These services did not take place in a chapel, but instead each man gathered humbly around a dining room table.

Then came breakfast, which was very modest. Then came half an hour of meditation. Then everybody went to his room and thought about the Scripture until he knew what it meant for him today, on that day. During that time there had to be absolute quite…we were suppose to concentrate completely on whatever it was that God had to say to us”.

One meditated on the same verse for an entire week, a half hour each day.

Prayed the Psalms everyday

Confession to one another…Luther’s idea that Christians should confess to one another..

Afternoons set aside for recreation or whatever one might want to do.

After dinner and recreation, around 10pm, there was another service of 3/4 of an hour, “as the last note of a day with God. After that, silence and sleep. That was how the day went”.

SPEAKING ABOUT DEATH

As I was reading through Eric Metaxas book, I had the unfortunate circumstance of losing a friend. As I contemplated what the right things to think and say were I found these inspiring words of Bonhoeffer:

“Where God tears great gaps we should not try to fill them with human words. They should remain open”.

“Who can comprehend how those whom God takes so early are chosen? Does not the early death of Christians always appear to us as if God were plundering his own best instruments in a time in which they are most needed? Yet the Lord makes no mistakes. Might God need our brothers for some hidden service on our behalf in the heavenly world? We should put an end to our human thoughts, which always wish to know more than they can, and cling to that which is certain. Whomever God calls home is someone God loved. “For their souls were pleasing to the Lord, therefore He took them quickly from the midist of wickedness (Wisdom of Solomon 4)”.

After reading that last quote, I thought that Enoch and Elijah should immediately come to mind. John Bray wrote an awesome article about the “catching away” of these men of God, and I would encourage all to read it. Link:

http://www.worldwithoutend.info/wwe321wp/were-elijah-and-enoch-raptured-to-haven-evangelist-john-l-bray/

I have determined that I must watch the film “All Quiet on the Western Front”. It’s been said that “…it was the movie more than the book that would change Bonhoeffer’s life”.

The major issue in the Church during Bonhoeffer’s time is what I will call a “Misplaced Nationailism” On the Sunday before President’s Day, I preached a sermon in light of what Bonhoeffer would have taught about this topic. You can listen to that sermon by clicking on the following link:

http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630/150930-misplaced-nationalism-bonhoeffer-series

The church has only one altar, the altar of the Almighty…before which all creatures must kneel. Whoever seeks something other than this must keep away, he cannot join us in the house of God…The church has only one pulpit, and from that pulpit, faith in God will be preached, and no other faith, and no other will than the will of God, however well intentioned”. – Bonhoeffer

This example from history should be a strong admonishment for Christians to “study to show thyself approved, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” or “Search the Scriptures”, since it clearly shows the danger of a false faith, a false assurance, and a false hope.

Lacking Biblical context, the German Christians – “preached Christianity as the polar opposite of Judaism, Jesus as the arch anti-Semite, and the cross as the symbol of the war against the Jews’.

In 1937, a group of them stated that the written word of Scripture was the problem. “Whereas the Jews were the first to write out their faith”, they said, “Jesus never did so”. They even forced an understanding that A demon always resides in the written word”.

Astonishing, isn’t it? How can one completely ignore what the Bible says yet still pass that off a Christianity? Sadly because many ‘Christians’ are content not knowing anything about Scripture or having any contextual understanding. I am so glad that there is a rising tide happening within Christian scholarship regarding understanding the Jewish context of the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.

Now that this has turned into a short novel, I want to end with some strong admonshments regarding living the Christian life. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s sister once said this to him, “You Christians are glad when someone else does what you know must be done but it seems that somehow you are unwilling to get your own hands dirty and do it”.

I can only imagine the dilemma that was ever present for men and women of God during the Third Reich. I am sure glad that “a major theme for Bonhoeffer was that every Christian must be “fully human” by bringing God into his whole life, not merely into some “spiritual” realm. To be an ethereal figure who merely talked who merely talked about God, but somehow refused to get his hands dirty in the real world in which God had placed him, was bad theology”.

Bonhoeffer knew it was required that he as a Christian- suffer faithfully”. It is fitting to quote that, “A human being’s moral integrity begins when he is prepared to sacrifice his life for his convictions”.

I am bewildered by the humbling fact that Bonhoeffer was brought to safety in the United States and then left because he stated:

“I shall have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people”.

Wow. I can only hope I would have courage like that is any given situation.

“Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to be obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God- the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God”.

“That requires faith, and may God grant it to us daily. I don’t mean faith that flees the world, but the faith that endures in the world and loves and remains true to that world in spite of all the hardships it brings us….I fear the Christians who venture to stand on earth on only one leg will stand in heaven on only one leg too”. -Bonhoeffer

Eric Metaxas notes that “the Christian life as something active, not reactive. It had nothing to do with avoiding sin or with merely talking or teaching or believing theological notions or principles or rules or tenets. It has everything to do with living one’s whole life in obedience to God’s call through action. It did not merely require a mind, but a body too. It was God’s call to be fully human, to live as human beings obedient to the One who had made us, which was the fulfillment of our destiny. It was not a cramped, compromised, circumspect life, but a life lived in a kind of wild, joyful, full-throated freedom- what is what it was to obey God”.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a living monument of that life described above- lived out!

It was said that Bonhoeffer never tired of repeating that the only fight which is lost is that which we give up. This is because he knew that God is not interested in success, but obedience. If one is willing to obey God and willing to suffer defeat and whatever else may come one’s way, God will show a kind of success that the world cannot imagine. But this is the narrow path, and few consider taking it.

Will you walk worthy?

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Michael Miano

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Making ‘sense’ of the “Creation Account”

  For the past couple days, I have had the privilege of having Dr. Jeff Vaughn and Tim Martin (authors of Beyond Creation Science) join me on live broadcasts on “The Power of Preterism Radio”. 

  Here are both of the links:

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepowerofpreterism/2014/02/11/discussing-the-creation-account-with-dr-jeff-vaughn

     http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepowerofpreterism/2014/02/12/miano-gone-wild

 I had sought out the wisdom of these men because of the recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye dealing with creation. Sadly, Ken Ham representing the “Biblical” model instead forced many presuppositions and ideas upon the Biblical text that are not there- leading many people, even close friends of mine wondering if that is indeed the Biblical account. One friend told me specifically, “Damage control is needed”. Thank God for giving wisdom to men like Jeff and Tim whom were willing to give of their time to offer a true and reasonable response. 

  If you have yet to hear the “hiding” behind “the Bible” that Ken Ham did during his debate, here is a link so you can watch the debate for yourself:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6kgvhG3AkI

 Glory to God answers can be found but they must be sought. 

  Being that we are sort of “snowed in” here in New York, I took some time this morning to watch a video from Dr. John Walton in regards to his view and understanding of Genesis. Dr. Walton is the author of an amazing read- The Lost World of Genesis One. I must say, Dr. Walton’s explanation of Genesis and his discussion was so enlightening that I just had to write this blog and encourage YOU to look into these things. Here is the link to Walton’s video:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUb9P5HXueo

 If that is not enough…Derek Lambert and I will be on our program “Truth Be Told” tonight at 5pm eastern, talking about this video and where we are at in regards to “the creation account”. You can tune in internationally by clicking on the link below at 5pm eastern:

     http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepowerofpreterism

 Also, Monday nights at 7pm, we are doing a book study on “Beyond Creation Science”. If you are around the area, get involved!

   Blessings in and through Jesus Christ,

       His servant,

               Pastor Michael Miano

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