Over the past few weeks, my evening devotional time has been spent reading from the book 40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. For those that don’t know, Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran minister in Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s. He fled Germany at one point as the Nazis were in power, and then returned to certain death. On one hand, he promoted peace and non-violent approaches to the Hitler. On the other, he was involved in plots to kill Hitler.
Day 18: “Because we cannot deny that we no longer stand in true discipleship to Christ, while being members of a true-believing church with a pure doctrine of grace, but are no longer members of a church which follows Christ…”
Translation: We love grace, the forgiveness of our sins. But actually following Christ? Not so much.
Day 21:”You complain that you cannot believe? No one should be surprised that they cannot come to believe as long as, in deliberate disobedience, they flee or reject some aspect of Jesus’ commandment. You do not want to subject some sinful passion, an enmity, a hope your life plan , or your reason to Jesus’ commandment? Do not be surprised that you do not receive the Holy Spirit, that you cannot pray , that your prayer for faith remains empty!”
Translation: Don’t want to follow God? Of course you cannot believe. There’s nothing for you to believe in.