Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quote

The church is the church only when it exists for others. To make a start, it should give away all its property to those in need. The clergy must live solely on the free-will offerings of their congregations, or possibly engage in some secular calling. The church must share in the secular problems of ordinary human life, not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men [and women] of every calling what it means to live in Christ, to exist for others…. It must not under-estimate the importance of human example (which has its origin in the humanity of Jesus and is so important in Paul’s teachings); it is not abstract argument, but example, that gives its word emphasis and power. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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8 Responses to “Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quote”

  1. Alan Knox says:

    Rick,

    Thank you for this post. It melds perfectly with several conversations between me and some friends. We’ve been talking about the importance of living as examples. I love the last line: “it is not abstract argument, but example, that gives its word emphasis and power”.

    -Alan

  2. Rick Meigs says:

    Alan: That last line is the real kicker.

    Along the same lines, Bob Robinson over at Vanguard Church said the following once (which I journaled): “To merely have ‘better arguments’ reduces the situation to bantering and who has better debating skill. But to have a life that projects ‘this is the real Christ — compassion and love and a resurrection life filled with hope — gives credence to our reasoned statements that simply cannot be argued with.”

  3. Webb says:

    Bonhoeffer is one of my most influential heroes. He was essential in my formative missional development. I like Robinson’s quote too though. Just had a conversation about this tonight with a fellow musician who is close to having a God encounter. This was the very kind of thing that was ministering to him–discovering believers who actually loved people rather than judging them.

    Rick, could you please email me? I seem to have lost your email when transferring my outlook to a new laptop. I’ve been so busy and I wanted to share some things about what is going in this crazy life of mine.

  4. Rick Meigs says:

    Webb: Great example of how this does work.

    I’ll fire off an email right now.

  5. Paul says:

    thanks Rick, it is a great quote, which reminds us to do/be practical as well as theoretical. Existing for others rather than just for me is the struggle of my soul.

  6. Rick Meigs says:

    My struggle also Paul!

  7. […] Quotation of the week. Rick Meigs: The Blind Beggar The church is the church only when it exists for others. To make a start, it should give away all […]

  8. […] argument, but example, that gives its word emphasis and power. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer (via) Rather than being shocked and appalled by surveys that demonstrate our moral mediocrity, we should […]