The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

Bonhoeffer posts a comment, or, Man, that was heavy

Bonhoeffer sheds a little light on our doctrinal disputes by considering Jesus' approach to such matters (It sounds a bit like McLaren's "above the line" idea from A New Kind of Christian): the New Testament there is no single question put by men to Jesus which Jesus answers with an acceptance of the human either-or that every such question implies. Every one of Jesus's answers, to the question of his enemies and of His Friends alike, leaves this either-or behind it in a way which shames the questioner. Jesus does not allow Himself to be invoked as an arbiter in vital questions; He refuses to be hald by human alternatives. "Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?" (Luke 12.14)

Jesus often seems not to understand at all what men are asking Him. He seems to be answering quite a different question from that which has been put to Him. He seems to be missing the point of the question, not answering the question but addressing Himself directly to the questioner. He speaks with complete freedom which is not bound by the law of logical alternatives. In this freedom Jesus leaves all laws beneath him; and to the Pharisees this freedom necessarily appears as a negation of all order, all piety, and all belief. Jesus casts aside all the distinctions which the Pharisee so laboriously maintains....He lives and acts not by the knowledge of good and evil but by the will of God. There is only one will of God.

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics (33-4)