Dietrich Bonhoeffer On New Monasticism:
Old Monasticism: Ancient Celtic monastery ruins - Inishmurray, County Sligo, Ireland.
An Often Quoted Paraphrase:
"The renewal of the Church will come from a new type of monasticism which only has in common with the old an uncompromising allegiance to the Sermon on the Mount. It is high time men and women banded together to do this."
The Exact Quote:
'...the restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ. I think it is time to gather people together to do this...'
Extract of a letter written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer to his brother Karl-Friedrick on the 14th of January, 1935. (Source: John Skinner, Northumbria Community).
"Monastic life thus became a living protest against the secularization of Christianity, against the cheapening of grace."
“The expansion of Christianity and the increasing secularization of the church caused the awareness of costly grace to be gradually lost…. But the Roman church did keep a remnant of that original awareness. It was decisive that monasticism did not separate from the church and that the church had the good sense to tolerate monasticism. Here, on the boundary of the church, was the place where the awareness that grace is costly and that grace includes discipleship was preserved…. Monastic life thus became a living protest against the secularization of Christianity, against the cheapening of grace.”
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship, p.46)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran Pastor in Germany who was first imprisoned and later executed (by hanging) by the Nazis during World War II...just a few weeks before the end of the war. Nazi policy was to execute all prisoners before the arrival of the Allies' liberating armies could free them.
His Most Well-known Book:
"First they came for
the Jews, and I didn't speak out - because I was
-Pastor Niemoller (probably
spoken to a group of students in 1946 as his answer to the question: Why
didn't the churches get involved?)
German Citizens were allowed only two options in religion: to acknowledge Hitler and the Nazi Party as their only "secular religion," or to worship Thor and Odin and the other "old gods". In all Christian Churches the Bible was replaced on the altar or lectern with Hitler's book, Mein Kampf, and the Cross of Christ on the central wall facing the congregation was replaced with a German Officer's Sword. Many of the orthodox Lutheran Pastors resigned at this point. Some would join the underground "Confessing Church" (and of these, many would end their lives in concentration camps). They were replaced in the Churches with loyal Nazi Party members wearing military uniforms in place of clerical vestments. Many of the more theologically liberal clergy simply donned the brown uniforms and began preaching from Mein Kampf. (Source: William Schirer, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".)
Copyright © 2002 S.G.P. All rights reserved.