Home > Non-fiction: Christianity > Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Non-Fiction: Christianity. Hardback from Harper Collins. Published in 1954. 122 pages. On loan from the Kent District Library.

I really liked how Bonhoeffer started off reminding us that unity is something that we already have in Christ, not something that we have to create. He says:

“Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate.” (p 30 of the 1954 edition)

He then goes on to talk about the different things that Christian family should be doing together, and apart. He reminds us that we aren’t necessarily going to like our Christian family all the time, but we put up with each other anyway. He tells us that in addition to offering advice we should remember to listen. He reminds us to pray for each other, and to confess our sins to each other. He ends with a reminder that our life together as Christians reaches it’s perfection in the taking of the Lord’s Supper.

Great book.

Publisher’s summary:

“When Dietrich Bonhoeffer was martyred by the Nazis late in the war, he left as a heritage the memory of a life of heroic resistance and saintly long-suffering and some extraordinarily provocative writings. “There may come a time when the name of Bonhoeffer will be linked with Woolman, Francis of Assisi, Wesley and John Huss.”
–Pulpit Digest

This book grew directly out of his own experience of the deep meaning of Christian community found in life together in an “underground” seminary established by the Confessing Church. What this experience should mean in the corporate fellowship of today’s Christian is here movingly documented by one whose peculiar strength lies in great religious ideas expressed in simple, incisive, almost Biblical language.

To Pastor Bonhoeffer, the Christian today is living in a world fully hostile and as pagan as that in which Paul and the early Christians moved. Sustaining the Christian fellowship is therefore all-important, and this is what gives Life Together its meaning and purpose.

It is a piece of exposition that, for our modern age, is as real and as relevant as the letters of St. Paul himself. Likewise, it makes the faith of the average church-goer seem a very pale shadow of what Christianity was meant to be.

The book is primarily a consideration of the meaning of Christian community, which some practical illustrations of how this life together in Christ works out in the family circle or in groups, containing some pointed directions for common worship. It also discusses the life of the Christian at his job, when he must leave the fellowship to do his work in the world, and the place of private devotions. Then fellows a gem of simple exposition of Christian service and our relationship to our “neighbor”. Finally comes a stirring discussion of “confession and the Lord’s Supper.

The translator, John W. Doberstein, is professor of practical theology at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, and author of books of prayer and related subjects.

Online book shopping:
Powell’s: Life Together
amazon.co.uk: Life Together
amazon.com: Life Together
Audible.com: not available as audio

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