“There is no Theology here.” A quote from Eric Metaxas’ book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life. This quote was from the time Bonhoeffer spent in the United States. He was born and raised in Germany and attended theological university there. During his time in university he had many professors that taught the Bible in different ways. Bonhoeffer would openly dispute and disagree with many of them. Some of them he liked and agreed with.
Fast forward to his time in the United States in New York City. His first observation was the group thinking here in the United States that still is a problem even today. Especially when pertaining to the church. There were two churches he attended in New York City the Riverside, a liberal church, built by John D Rockefeller. The other church was a fundamental church called the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, a “negro church.”
The difference between these two churches was like night and day. Bonhoeffer quickly grew weary of the sermons in places like Riverside, so when he was invited to go to the Baptist church, he was eager to go.
(The Union Students) talk a blue streak without the slightest substantive foundation and with no evidence of any criteria. …They are unfamiliar with even the most basic questions. They become intoxicated with liberal and humanistic phrases, laugh at the fundamentalists, and yet basically are not even up to their level.
In New York they preach about virtually everything, only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I have been to many churches and can relate with Bonhoeffer’s experience as an American Christian. I have heard all kinds of preaching/teaching with no substance. I had been in and out of churches since I was a little girl and was well “churched”. I knew how to behave in a church, how to listen in a church, and how to make friends, and I even had had the experience of love from other church members with gifts. I went on a mission trip to India and helped out in fundraisers and community meals. Looking back on it, I would give it all up for them to come to a Bible believing church that preached Christ Crucified, every time we meet, so that others can be saved from Eternal Hell. There is nothing more loving and compassionate than winning a soul to Christ.
One last point I would like to make is that Bonhoeffer’s life in Germany was has an individual life. He was not trying to be like the members of the church, at least in his thinking, and in Germany it was the norm. Everyone still got along even if they disagreed on Theology. This doesn’t mean they were united in fellowship, it just means they where civil and got along. Here in the United States if you criticize a church or their pastor you are “unfriended” or given dirty looks. Yep, that’s happened to me. But it’s fine. I love our fundamental church and am glad Jesus saved me on March 20th, 2017. If I had never went to First Baptist Church I would have never excepted Christ. It was the love, caring, and concern of Pastor John, who asked me at my dinning room table, “How do you know you are saved?”
I will be writing more about Bonhoefer’s time in the United States as a read through the book because I “think not feel” it’s so important to have a good understanding of what has happened to Christianity in this country. And for people who say they are Christians to start living on God’s Word. We are commanded by God himself to do so.