Dietrich Says Yes to the Earth

Though its size rivals the Death Star, Alex Metaxes’ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy is one of the best biographies I have read in a while. His talent as a writer shines as the pages read more like a movie than an archaic archive of dates.  It has become one of my favorites (it even has pictures!) and I strongly recommend it to anyone who can read.

As for the content, I blew through two highlighters and found many fresh ideas to dwell on.  Aside from the obvious topics, such as how to live as a Christ-centered citizen of a militant nation bent on global destruction and the elimination of a people group, one of the concepts this book raises is how to live in “this world”. Bonhoeffer’s passion for Christ and His church, as well as his loyalty to his country stem his “saying Yes to the world”. He believed that God has not abandoned “this world” and neither should we.  Bonhoeffer’s love of his nation and people were based on a right reading of the Bible and lead him to act within his contextj. He believed that this world is not a “waiting room” to be endured while we await “the other side of glory”.

Here is what Metaxes says about it:

“Bonhoeffer’s theology had always leaned towards the incarnational view that did not eschew “the world,” but that saw it as God’s good creation to be enjoyed and celebrated, not merely transcended. According to this view, God had redeemed mankind through Jesus Christ, had re-created us as “good”. So we weren’t to dismiss our humanity as something “un-spiritual.” As Bonhoeffer had said before, God wanted our “yes” to him to be a “yes” to the world he had created. This was not the thin pseudohumanism of the liberal “God is dead” theologians who would claim Bonhoeffer’s mantle as their own decades to come, not was it the antihumanism of the pious and “religious” theologians who would abdicate Bonhoeffer’s theology to the liberals. It was something else entirely: it was God’s humanism, redeemed in Jesus Christ”.

Though scarred by the fall, this earthly home is God’s good creation, made for our enjoyment and his glory. Our mission, stated in the beginning of the Bible, is to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28).  Moreover, at the “end” of the Bible, we see that ultimately, we don’t spend an eternity in some ethereal cloud city in the sky (i.e. Bespin). Rather, in the end, “heaven” comes to Earth (Rev 21:2). God never throws away his Earth (though He certainly does make it new. See Rev 21:1).  Jesus cares enough about this world to redeem it.  Perhaps we should give a hoot too. Moreover, I’ll bet there’s something in God’s Word that tells us what He wants us to do while we are here on His good earth.

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