Dr. Mark Powell shares some thoughts from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Toghether (available free here) as an example for us to follow during the time of this global health crisis. During the Nazi regime, Bonhoeffer’s church and seminary were forbidden from meeting publicly. Here is a key quote:
It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us … Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren. (Bonhoeffer, Life Together, p. 20)
The church and Christian community are a gift of God that we come to appreciate more reading it in our current context. During these difficult times we will be called on to care for one another with real physical and spiritual needs. Reflecting on this work by Bonhoeffer can give us ideas as we navigate what it means to be the church in our own day and time.
Dr. Mark E. Powell, Professor of Theology, has been at HST since 2002. He teaches courses in systematic theology, historical theology, ethics, and philosophy of religion. He is a Shepherd at the Sycamore View Church of Christ in Memphis and has over 25 years of ministry experience in preaching, urban ministry, and adult education. He is passionate about applying Christian theology to worship, ministry, and discipleship.
Harding School of Theology (HST), a seminary in Memphis, TN, has been equipping ministers since 1958. Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, and offering degree programs at the master’s and doctoral levels, HST equips Christian leaders to higher standards of ministry scholarship and challenges them to a deeper faith in God. Combining academic rigor and interpersonal connections, HST emphasizes student engagement in ministry as they study. HST is associated with Churches of Christ, is part of the Stone-Campbell Movement, and is part of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.