Christianity 201

January 7, 2014

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Sin

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:03 pm
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Today’s reading is rather short, but there’s a link that will take you through a 40-day set of readings from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that includes a study in the Beatitudes from The Sermon on the Mount.  These 40 devotionals appeared at starting in February of this year.  To start at the beginning, click here and then click on successive dates on the February/March calendars. To simply read today’s item at source, click here.

Dietrich BonhoefferWhen another Christian falls into obvious sin, an admonition is imperative, because God’s Word demands it. The practice of discipline in the community of faith begins with friends who are close to one another. Words of admonition and reproach must be risked when a lapse from God’s Word in doctrine or life endangers a community that lives together, and with it the whole community of faith. Nothing can be more cruel than that leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than that severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin. When we allow nothing but God’s Word to stand between us, judging and helping, it is a service of mercy, an ultimate offer of genuine community. Then it is not we who are judging; God alone judges, and God’s judgment is helpful and healing.

Biblical Wisdom

My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Galatians 6:1

Questions to Ponder

  • Is sin taken seriously in today’s church and by today’s Christians? How is it, or how is it not?
  • Why might it be “cruel” not to admonish someone whose behavior is obviously sinful? What are the dangers in admonishing someone?
  • How might the church and individual Christians avoid being hypocritical and judgmental when admonishing a Christian brother or sister?

Psalm Fragment

Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us. Psalm 85:4

Journal Reflections

  • Have you ever been admonished by another Christian? If so, write about the experience. How was it done? How did it feel? What were the results?
  • Have you ever offered a word of admonition to another person? If so, write about the experience. How did it feel? What were the results?
  • If you answered no to the above two questions, spend some time in writing reflecting upon the idea of taking sin seriously enough to admonish another and receive admonition from another.

Prayer for Today

Lord, open my ears that I may hear from your Word whatever words of admonition I need to hear that I might grow in love and faithfulness.

40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.


  1. The admonition is a lost skill, and an important skill that would help build and restore community and strengthen the backbone of the Body of Christ.

    Comment by George Hartwell — January 7, 2014 @ 8:10 pm | Reply

    • A lost skill, yes; but also one of many other similar lost skills. If blogs existed 50 years ago, we could go back and compare what was being written then to what is being written now. Of course, by comparing books, we can see a number of themes that have disappeared from modern Christian thought.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — January 7, 2014 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

    • So true, so true. If it is not done correctly, then true healing will not occur. Sometimes we help too soon or we soften the fall by not letting them hit the bottom.

      Comment by 2b14u — January 13, 2014 @ 10:59 am | Reply

  2. My sister shared that book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer with me. For some reason I couldn’t get into that book and I like to read. My sister really liked it. He understood the signs of the times of his day. I just like to connect people up. I’m not a writer and that’s why I post videos and links. I won’t do that here, because you post that it will be deleted.

    I have to go back to school and learn how to write, this next year. Please pray for me. I’m doing a study on another blog. I like what you posted on Demons on another post and why we really don’t know that much about them or hear about them in the church. That’s why I posted on your blog and hers.

    Comment by Kittii — January 8, 2014 @ 8:14 am | Reply

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