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Transcript of Bonhoeffer's Ethics
of God's reality is the meaning of the
Christian question about the good" (53). "What matters is participating in the reality of God and the world in Jesus Christ today, and doing so in such a way that I never experience the reality of God without the reality of world, nor the reality of the world without the reality of God" (55.) "In Jesus Christ the reality of God has entered into the reality of this world" (54). "In Christ all things exist (Col. 1:7). From now on we cannot speak rightly either of God or the world without speaking of Jesus Christ" (54). "... the will of God is nothing other than the realization of the
Christ-reality among us and our world. The will of God is therefore not an idea that demands to be realized; it is itself already reality in the self-revelation of Jesus Christ... ... The question of the will of God is not asking about something
hidden or unfulfilled, but about what has been revealed and fulfulled.
It remains, however, a genuine question insofar as I myself, together
with the world around me, am placed into this question by the answer
given by the revelation and fulfillment" (74f). The Call to Simple obedience History and Good "The moment a person accepts responsibility for other people - and in so doing does the person live in reality - the genuine ethical situation arises... ... The [ethical] action's norm is not a universal principle, but the concrete neighbor, as given to me by God. The choice is made no longer between a clearly recognized good and a clearly recognized evil;
instead it is risked in faith while being aware that good and evil are hidden in the concrete historical situation... ... Responsible action is neither determined from the outset and defined once and for all;
instead it is born in the given situation" (221). Situationalism? "Only God's becoming human makes possible an action that is
genuinely in accord with reality. The world remains the world.
But it only does so because God has taken care of it and declared
it to be under God's rule" (224). This is not relativism or situational ethics because of the reality of the world reconciled to Jesus Christ Coup d'etat? "The deed that is done, after responsibly weighing all circumstances in light of God's becoming human in Christ, is completely surrendered to God the moment it is carried out. Ultimate ignorance of one's own goodness or evil, together with dependence upon grace, is an essential characteristic of responsible historical action. ... Those who act on the basis of ideology consider themselves justified by their idea. Those who act responsibly place their action into the hands of God and live by God's grace and judgment" (226f). on the Mount and Ethics "The Sermon on the Mount is the word of the very one who is the lord and law of reality. The Sermon on the Mount is to be understood and interpreted as the word of God who became human" (231). "The sayings of Jesus, for example, those in the Sermon on the Mount, can then only be understood as words of the one who lives in concrete responsibility for all human beings, really standing in their place and acting on their behalf (and not by confronting them with ideals they cannot fulfill), as words of the one whose responsibility consists in freely given love for the real human being (and not in the realization of some kind of idea of the human), as words of the one whose pure love manifests itself by entering into the guilt of human beings (and not by isolating itself from this guilt)" (235). "The truthfulness of our words that we owe to God must take on concrete form in the world. Our word should be truthful, not in principle, but concretely. ... 'Telling the truth', therefore is not solely a matter of moral character; it is also a matter of appreciation of real situations and of serious reflection upon them" (DBWE 16, 603). "When the various orders of life no longer respect one another, then words become untrue" (605). "How does my word become true? 1) By recognizing who calls on me to speak and what authorizes me to speak; 2) by recognizing the place in which I stand; 3) by putting the subject I am speaking about into this context" (608). "The Natural Life" Four Mandates "What truly defines [the mandates] is not the continuity of unchanging 'orders', but their structuring of our existence so that it is for one another. When they do not do this, they are no longer God's mandates" (Larry Rasmussen, Cambridge Companion, 222). Bonhoeffer's Christian Peace Ethic' (Clifford Green) Bonhoeffer's peace ethic is an ingredient and implication of his theology as a whole Speak deliberately of tyrannicide, not assassination or murder Not a vigilante: not an individual on a self-appointed mission
a judgment shared by international consensus of governments and church leaders
the coup was an absolute last resort
background of established moral tradition, allowed tyrannicide under certain strict criteria
- Barth, Aquinas, Calvin, Beza, and Knox Bonhoeffer describes the 'tyrannical despiser' of humanity in Ethics, 85-87 Free, responsible action, from the christological foundation "... before God, he only hopes for grace" "Basic Questions of a Christian Ethic" existing as church-community Formation form of Jesus Christ