Friday, April 4, 2014

Bonhoeffer, 1937. Chapter 3, "Single-Minded Obedience"

Chapter 3, “Single-Minded Obedience”

Bonhoeffer turns his attention to the application of Jesus’ call to our lives by means of a number of illustrations from Scripture. In the instance of the rich young man, he particularly says the Lord commands all people to obey. It is slightly ambiguous within this chapter whether the obedience is meant to be the same for all, i.e., sell our possessions, give it away, and follow. He does, however, say clearly that Jesus does not give faith to those who do not obey him literally and single-mindedly. What truly matters (Loc. 1163) is not our action, whether rich or poor, but our faith. Yet the faith never occurs without action.

All the action Bonhoeffer discusses in this chapter is radical and obvious action. He does not seem to leave room for the historic doctrine of vocation. Granted, with the disciples we ask how anyone may be saved. Yet God is the one in whom all things are possible (Matt. 19:23-26).

Is Bonhoeffer binding his readers with a law of works? It is unclear at this point.

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