Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dogs, Pigs & Pearls again: for the Lord's Day

Angry that the German Christians wanted to rewrite and reinterpret scripture in order that Germans would more freely come to church, disappointed that the Confessing Church did not preach about the suffering of grace or the power of the proclamation of the word clearly enough Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:

“Christ has given his church power to forgive and to retain sins with divine authority (Matt 16:19, 18:18; John 20: 23) Eternal salvation and eternal damnation are decided by its word. Anyone who turns from his sinful ways at the word of proclamation and repents receives forgiveness. Anyone who perseveres in his sin receives judgment. The church cannot loose the penitent from sin without arresting and binding the impenitent in sin.

'Do not give dogs what is holy and do not throw your pearls before swine lest they trample them under foot and turn and attack you.’ (Matt 7: 6) The promise of grace is not to be squandered, it needs to be protected from the godless. There are those who are not worthy of the sanctuary. The proclamation of grace has its limits. Grace may not be proclaimed to anyone who does not recognize or distinguish or desire it. Not only does that pollute the sanctuary itself, not only must those who sin still be guilty against the Most High, but in addition the misuse of the Holy must turn against the community itself. The world upon whom grace is thrust as a bargain will grow tired of it, and it will not only trample upon the Holy, but also will tear apart those who force it on them. For its own sake, for the sake of the sinner, and for the sake of the community, the Holy is to be protected from cheap surrender. The Gospel is to be protected by the preaching of repentance which calls sin sin and declares the sinner guilty. The key to loose is protected by the key to bind. The preaching of grace can only be protected by the preaching of repentance. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from The Way to freedom, 151, found in Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas 2010,


Dave Moody said...

oh Amen Vi, Amen. The grace of Christ is a costly grace. Thank you.

Clay Allard said...

Amen, Viola. But the German Church had to go through a catastrophe which ultimately claimed Bonhoeffer himself before this truth could shine. We are just headed in. If we are faithful, perhaps our children will live to see a new church rise.