Chapter 30, “The Visible Community”
Although Bonhoeffer has repeatedly emphasized the Christian as an individual he now talks about the Church as a community. The doctrine of the Church, the concept of Christianity, the idea of belief on Christ takes no space. But the Church is a gathering of real people in a real place, in fellowship with Christ and with one another. The people are gathered around the apostolic teaching. They receive the testimony and live in light of it. The word of God dwells in the Church, the assembly of believers.
How does God’s Word form the Church? It comes to gather people through preaching, baptism, and communion (Loc. 3405), a very orthodox Lutheran view. Through baptism and communion we receive the forgiving presence of God. Because of this importance of Word and Sacrament Bonhoeffer urges his readers to consider the value God has placed in the Church. This is where Christians are bound together and strengthened for life and service. We remain, then, both in our life in society and in new life within the context of the Church.