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Lutheran Peace Fellowship

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
24 Quotes


    Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) is known for his leadership role in the Confessing Church, efforts on behalf of peace and justice, opposition to antisemitism, and writings on theology and ethics that have been influential far beyond his German Lutheran context. He was was hanged by the Nazis on April 6, 1945 in the Flossenburg concentration camp. In addition to the quotes below, you can check out our Dietrich Bonhoeffer video series and other Dietrich Bonhoeffer Resources.

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotations:

    In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give; life can be rich only with such realization. source: Letters and Papers from Prison

    To be silent does not mean to be inactive; rather it means to breathe in the will of God, to listen attentively and be ready to obey. Meditating on the Word

    It is not necessary that we should discover new ideas in our meditation. It is sufficient, and far more important, if the Word, as we read and understand it, penetrates and dwells within us. Life Together

    When we come to a clearer and more sober estimate of our own limitations and responsibilities, that makes it possible more genuinely to love our neighbor. Letters and Papers…

    There is not a place to which the Christian can withdraw from the world, whether it be outwardly or in the sphere of the inner life. Any attempt to escape from the world must sooner or later be paid for with a sinful surrender to the world. Ethics

    You have granted me many blessings; let me also accept what is hard from your hand. Prayers from Prison

    The first call which every Christian experiences is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. The Cost of Discipleship

    Earthly possessions dazzle our eyes and delude us into thinking that they can provide security and freedom from anxiety. Yet all the time they are the very source of anxiety. The Cost of Discipleship

    The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them. Life Together

    From God we hear the word: “If you want my goodness to stay with you then serve your neighbor, for that is where God comes to you.” In the anthology, No Rusty Swords

    Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others, we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as ourselves. The Cost of Discipleship

    I can no longer condemn or hate a brother [or sister] for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me is transformed through intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died. Life Together

    We have learned a bit too late in the day that action springs not from thought but from a readiness for responsibility. Letters and Papers from Prison

    Which of us has really admitted that God’s goodness can also lead us into conflict. in anthology, No Rusty Swords

    Our enemies are those who harbor hostility against us, not those against whom we cherish hostility… As a Christian I am called to treat my enemy as a brother and to meet hostility with love. My behavior is thus determined not by the way others treat me, but by the treatment I receive from Jesus. The Cost of Discipleship

    So long as we eat our bread together, we shall have sufficient even for the least. Not until one person desires to keep his own bread for himself does hunger ensue. Life Together

    In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things, the figure of him who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger. Ethics

    For the working class world, Christ seems to be settled with the church and middle class society. Christology

    The future and the hope for the middle class church lies in the renewal of its lifeblood, which is only possible if the church succeeds in winning the working class. Sanctum Communio

    The believer is neither a pessimist nor an optimist. To be either is illusory. The believer sees reality not in a certain light but as it is, and believes only in God and God’s power towards all and over all that is seen. (in No Rusty Swords)

    There remains an experience of incomparable value . . . to see the great events of world history from below; from the perspective of the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed, the reviled ---- in short, from the perspective of those who suffer . . . to look with new eyes on matters great and small. Letters and Papers from Prison

    Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christian should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong. Sermon on II Cor. 12:9

    There is no way to peace along the way to safety. For peace must be dared. It is the great venture. Address at Fano

    The followers of Christ have been called to peace. . . . And they must not only have peace but also make it. And to that end they renounce all violence and tumult. In the cause of Christ nothing is to be gained by such methods. . . . His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. They maintain fellowship where others would break it off. They renounce hatred and wrong. In so doing they over-come evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate. The Cost of Discipleship


See also:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Video Series and other Dietrich Bonhoeffer Resources.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Biography

International Bonhoeffer Society: www.dbonhoeffer.org
Read other Peace Quotes and learn more about other Notable Peacemakers.

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