Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 
 
When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. 
 
 
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:
 
 
 
 
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QUOTES:
The Cost of Discipleship
    Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him….
    Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life…. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son…and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. 
 
Discipleship without Jesus Christ is a way of our own choosing. It may be the ideal way. It may even lead to martyrdom, but it is devoid of all promise. Jesus will certainly reject it. 
 
At this critical moment [when Christ calls a man to discipleship] nothing on earth, however sacred, must be allowed to come between Jesus and the man he has called—no even the law itself. Now, if never before, the law must be broken for the sake of Jesus; it forfeits all its rights if it acts as a barrier to discipleship. 
 
Although Peter cannot achieve his own conversion, he can leave his nets.

 

The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a standstill because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match. Of course this can only happen when the last ounce of resistance is abandoned, and the renunciation of revenge is complete. The evil cannot find its mark, it can breed no further evil, and is left barren. ... There is no deed on earth so outrageous as to justify a different attitude. The worse the evil, the readier must the Christian be to suffer; he must let the evil person fall into Jesus’ hands.

 

Ethics
 
Whoever wishes to take up the problem of a Christian ethic must be confronted at once with a demand which is quite without parallel. He must from the outset discard as irrelevant the two questions which alone impel him to concern himself with the problem of ethics, “How can I be good?” and “How can I do good?,” and instead of these he must ask the utterly and totally different question “What is the will of God?”
 
Ethical thought is still largely dominated by the abstract notion of an isolated individual man who applies the absolute criterion of a good which is good in itself and has to make his decision incessantly and exclusively between this clearly recognized good and an equally clearly recognized evil…. These isolated individuals do not exist and we do not dispose over any such absolute criterion of a good which is good in itself; nor do good and evil display themselves in history in their pure form…. It is, to say the least, very questionable whether one can at all regard as ethically relevant the notion of an isolated individual in detachment from his historical situation and from historical influences; such a notion is unreal and is therefore, in any case, a theoretical and peripheral matter which is entirely lacking in interest.
 
When a man takes guilt upon himself in responsibility, and no responsible man can avoid this, he imputes this guilt to himself and to no one else; he answers for it; he accepts responsibility for it. He does not do this in the insolent presumptuousness of his own power, but he does it in the knowledge that this liberty is forced upon him and that in this liberty he is dependent on grace. Before other men the man of free responsibility is justified by necessity; before himself he is acquitted by his conscience; but before God he hopes only for mercy.
 
It has not to decide simply between right and wrong and between good and evil, but between right and right and between wrong and wrong.
 
Poetry from Prison
 
 
 
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