Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Good book: Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life

Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life: From the Cross, for the World by  Stephen J Nichols

Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life    In this book, author Stephen Nichols guides the reader through the life  and writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer which especially pertain to living the Christian life.
   Bonhoeffer seems to have had remarkable insight  on the decline of the contemporary church; the unhealthy patterns which he observed and felt concern over have certainly continued and worsened over the years.
   Living in a nation ruled by power-hungry Adolf Hitler,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer's thoughts and writings stress the truth that true greatness and power come not from one's own strength but through the blood of Jesus Christ. Bonhoeffer stressed that humility is true strength.  ''We tend to prefer the language of victory, of achievement and accomplishment, and of success and overcoming....'' (-Bonhoeffer) but again the author quotes Bonhoeffer: ''It is in our weakness that God's strength is displayed.''

Stephen Nichols explains: ''Bonhoeffer saw clearly that the church must have Jesus at the center...must have room for Jesus who suffered. Bonhoeffer spoke of Jesus the crucified as the model for us.  Jesus suffered rejection, came and acted and lived for others, lived a sacrificial life for others, died a sacrificial death in love for others....He is the model for the Christian life.''

I found this book greatly convicting, and am thankful that I had such a well-rounded introduction to the works of Bonhoeffer, whose writings I had never personally read until now.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer only lived thirty-nine years and the final years of his life were spent in prison, as the punishment for his courageous stand against the terrible regime of the evil man whom most Germans considered their ''savior''! His writings bring forth the importance of cross-centered theology.

Nichols quotes Bonhoeffer: ''...'His cross is the triumph over suffering.' We are called to such a life. We follow Christ 'under the cross'.''

''Bearing the cross does not bring misery and despair....rather, it provides refreshment and peace for our souls; it is our greatest joy. No longer laden with self-made laws and burdens...It is He Himself who disciples find when they take up their cross...''

As I pray that these truths would help change my persistently selfish view of life, I trust that this book would enable you to seek true ''greatness'' in Christ as well. We have so much to learn.

''Only he who lives by the forgiveness of his sin in Jesus Christ will rightly think little of himself. He will know that his own wisdom reached the end of its tether when Jesus forgave him. 

I received Bonhoeffer On the Christian Life by Stephen Nichols from Crossway publishers in exchange for my honest opinion of the book.