bonhoeffer, Christianity

More on Bonhoeffer

In this post I wrote a portion about a quote I wrote in my common place book from Bonhoeffer’s book, The Cost of Discipleship.

Here it’s where the quote started (bold is mine):


The idea of a situation in which faith is possible is only a way of stating the facts of a case in which the following two propositions hold good and are equally true: only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes. 

It is quite unbiblical to hold the first proposition without the second. We think we understand when we hear that obedience is possible only where there is faith. Does not obedience follow faith as good fruit grows on a good tree? First, faith, then obedience. If by that we mean that it is faith which justifies, and not the act of obedience, all well and good, for that is the essential and unexceptionable presupposition of all that follows. If, however, we make achronological distinction between faith and obedience, and make obedience subsequent to faith, we are divorcing the one from the other -and then we get the practical question, when must obedience begin? Obedience remains separated from faith. 

Here it’s the rest of that section (pages 69 and 70):

From the point of view of justification it is necessary thus to separate them, but we must never lose sight of their essential unity. For faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience.

Since, then, we cannot adequately speak of obedience as the consequence of faith, and since we must never forget the indissoluble unity of the two, we must place the one proposition that only he who believes is obedient alongside the other, that only he who is obedient believes. In the one case faith is the condition of obedience, and in the other obedience the condition of faith. In exactly the same way in which obedience is called the consequence of faith, it mas also be called the presupposition of faith.

Only the obedient believe. If we are to believe, we must obey a concrete command, without this preliminary step of obedience, our faith will only be pious humbug, and lead us to the grace which is not costly. Everything depends on the first step. It has a unique quality of its own. The first step of obedience makes Peter leave his nets, and later get out of the ship; it calls upon the young man to leave his riches. Only this new existence, created through obedience, can make faith possible.

Likewise, we cannot remain perpetually in the theoretical why we homeschool. There’s more to do than be the perfect beholders of pious and righteous educational philosophy, there’s something to be done with that conviction. We must exercise it every day. But the opposite is also harmful and incomplete. We should never just go through the motions, (the lessons, the how to’s=. Our calling to educate our children has to be acknowledge as a new existence too. It has led to many moms leaving their previous identity in the world and to be, not only homeschooling moms, but wives, moms, caretakers with new identities. Even in the case of those women who also work outside (or have jobs they do at home), their new identity as Christians is now expressed in their new identity in the home.

And this gives me a renewed commitment to get up from bed each morning, wash the dishes, correct the girls in love, praise my family, cook meals, do lessons and learn along with the girls in a cheerful disposition, and do menial tasks with love and gratitude. 


2 thoughts on “More on Bonhoeffer”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s