Saturday, June 01, 2013

Bonhoeffer's 7 Principles for Unity in the Church

Green Lake, Wisconsin

At Redeemer we're preaching through the letters of Paul, focusing on Pauline Christology. Tomorrow's text is 1:27-2:4.

Here Paul focuses on suffering and persecution, and unity (again). There are divisions and fighting in the Philippian church, and Paul is addressing this.

Frank Thielman, in his commentary on Philippians, illustrates with Dietrich Bonhoeffer's seven principles  for eradicating selfish ambition from Christian communities. (106).

Christians should…
  1. Hold their tongues, refusing to speak uncharitably about a Christian brother;
  2. Cultivate the humility that comes from understanding that they, like Paul, are the greatest of sinners and can only live in God’s sight by his grace;
  3. Listen “long and patiently” so that they will understand their fellow Christian’s need;
  4. Refuse to consider their time and calling so valuable that they cannot be interrupted to help with unexpected needs, no matter how small or menial;
  5. Bear the burden of their brothers and sisters in the Lord, both by preserving their freedom and by forgiving their sinful abuse of that freedom;
  6. Declare God’s word to their fellow believers when they need to hear it;
  7. Understand that Christian authority is characterized by service and does not call attention to the person who performs the service.