Dorothee Soelle once wrote, “Dietrich Bonhoeffer is the one German theologian who will lead us into the third millennium.” Today, Bonhoeffer continues to inspire new generations as a spiritual guide for their actions on behalf of peace and social justice. This book by Geffrey Kelly provides a critical analysis and reading guide to two of his spiritual classics, Discipleship and Life Together. Reading Bonhoeffer offers a running commentary on each segment of these popular texts, along with discussion questions suitable for the university and seminary classroom, as well as parish adult-education programs. In a final section of the book, Kelly excerpts and analyzes three significant texts by Bonhoeffer on the need for world peace against the rising militarism and continued glorification of war in Germany and other European nations.
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“Bonhoeffer, ‘following after’ (Nachfolge) this living Christ into all the world was the essence of discipleship. His theology was not about thoughts or abstractions or principles that were simply to be believed. To know God was to experience Jesus Christ as an active/personal presence in every nook and cranny of life.” (Page xi)
“God becomes tangible in the Christian community, where human beings are graced by God and shaped by Jesus Christ into a communion of loving people making visible Christ’s incarnate presence as the risen Lord.” (Page 4)
“Like Luther, Bonhoeffer argues that good works are not eliminated in the response to Jesus’ call. In fact, they emanate from the faith that justifies. Bonhoeffer makes the daring statement in this chapter that ‘the road to faith passes through obedience to Christ’s call.’” (Page 37)
“True, the disciples are free in their choices, but if they intend to follow Jesus, they will suffer. In” (Page 42)
“‘Cheap grace is the mortal enemy of our church. Our struggle today is for costly grace.’3” (Pages 32–33)
Geffrey Kelly fuses personal characteristics that define him—deep sensitivity for spirituality, ecumenical openness and knowledge, the discipline of individual and communal practice of devotion, a sharp eye for contextuality, and his unmistakable Irish passion—and mingles them into this study of two widely acclaimed works by Bonhoeffer. The combination of those elements, and his intimate knowledge of the literature by and on Bonhoeffer, make for a fresh, well-written, and compelling introduction . . . and highlight Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s relevance for living in today’s context as followers of Christ.
—H. Martin Rumscheidt, emeritus professor of historical theology, University of Windsor, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Reading Bonhoeffer—both vintage Kelly and vintage Bonhoeffer—will serve to introduce yet another generation to this important voice from the church’s immediate past. Specialists and those looking for an introduction to Bonhoeffer’s faith and witness, as well as the average Christian seeking to grow in faith, will benefit from this text. In this presentation, both Bonhoeffer’s and Kelly’s passion for Christian discipleship comes through.
—H. Gaylon Barker, vice president, International Bonhoeffer Society, English Language Section
Geffrey Kelley, a prolific writer in the field of theology and religion, has now provided what I think is his best and most helpful work in spirituality—a work useful for ordinary readers as well as scholars in living their own daily lives.
—Charles W. Sensel, emeritus board member, International Bonhoeffer Society, English Language Section
With Logos Bible Software, this volume is completely searchable, with Scripture passages appearing on mouseover and linking to your favorite Bible translation in your library. This makes this text more powerful and easier to access than ever before. With the advanced search features of Logos Bible Software, you can perform powerful searches by topic or Scripture reference—finding, for example, every mention of “discipleship” or “community.”