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DEVOTION//Stay a church

DEVOTION//Stay a church

German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer's brilliant mind sometimes led him away from trusting Scripture's simple message of grace in Jesus. Nonetheless, he did leave us with a number of insights into Scripture truths which are worth considering.

In the following paragraphs he calls on Christ's Church -- including 316NOW, your local congregation, and each of us as members of his Body -- to remember our role in Jesus’ kingdom. And to respect the position that belongs to Jesus alone.

The grace that transformed us into victorious Easter saints prompts that respect.

Christ builds his church

It is not we who build. [Christ] builds the church. No man builds the church but Christ alone.

Whoever is minded to build the church is surely well on the way to destroying it; for he will build a temple to idols without wishing or knowing it.

We must confess—he builds. We must proclaim—he builds. We must pray to him—that he may build.

Christ follows his plan

We do not know his plan. We cannot see whether he is building or pulling down.

It may be that the times which by human standards are times of collapse are for him the great times of construction. It may be that the times which from a human point of view are great times for the church are times when it is pulled down.

It is a great comfort which Christ gives to his church: "You confess, preach, bear witness to me and I alone will build where it pleases me. Do not meddle in what is my province. Do what is given to you to do well and you have done enough. But do it well."

"Pay no heed to views and opinions. Don’t ask for judgments. Don’t always be calculating what will happen. Don’t always be on the lookout for another refuge!"

Christ's church confesses his grace

Church, stay a church!

But church, confess, confess, confess! Christ alone is your Lord; from his grace alone can you live as you are. Christ builds.

Source: Treasury of Daily Prayer, p. 840-41.