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Paperback Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community Book

ISBN: 0060608528

ISBN13: 9780060608521

Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community

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Book Overview

In Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, renowned Christian minister, professor, and author of The Cost of Discipleship recounts his unique fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years in Germany. Giving practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups, Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

A book that challenges how we do fellowship in the home and church.

This short book is excellent. When thinking of Church—what it means for Christians to live as a community—Bonhoeffer excellently helps the reader to realise that being the Church is never about looking within yourself but outside yourself (extra nos). He develops this in chapters one and two. Yet as being Christian is fundamentally centred around the gathering of Christians (church), one must also be wary of being alone if they are never in the Christian community. Likewise, just as there is a time to speak the Word, so there is a time for silent meditation on the Word and therefore a time to be alone while being in community. Bonhoeffer expertly fleshes out these two paradoxes in chapter three. In chapter 4, Bonhoeffer addresses the Church fellowship’s tendency to debate who’s the greatest among them (Luke 9:46) and how to eradicate it at the outset, lest it destroy the community. Lastly, in chapter 5, he undertakes the vitality of confession, that is, repentance in the Christian community through the Office of the Keys. It is not good to conceal your sin; rather, it is for your good that your brother (especially your pastor) exposes your sin so that you may receive the grace of Christ. Confession & Absolution, therefore, draws us into community rather than away from it. The Church’s superlative gathering, then, is around the Sacrament of the Altar where Christ is truly present.

What you need to know about church!

Life Together was written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer while he was in a Nazi Gestapo prison during WWII. The book's Introduction is a 6 page mini-bio of Bonhoeffer, which will inform the reader as to why he was in a Nazi Gestapo prison. He was executed by the Nazi's just weeks before the end of the war. Life Together was written while Bonhoeffer was being held by the Nazi's. It is his short treatise on Faith in Community - what it means to be the Body of Christ. During his time in prison, Bonhoeffer undoubtedly had interaction with Christians of many denominations. This probably led to contemplation of what it meant for all of them to worship together, even in a prison camp. The book is just five chapters: 1. Community 2. The Day with Others 3. The Day Alone 4. Ministry 5. Confession and Communion Amazingly enough, Bonhoeffer thinks seriously and deeply about what it should be like for Christians to experience Life Together as the Church. Few current authors are packing so much in so little a book. In the first chapter he looks at relating to one another as Jesus would have us relate to one another. He distinguishes between the worldly and the biblical concepts of living in community. His observations are astounding and would do many churches a great deal of good today. In chapters 2 and 3, he looks at one's relationship with God as it should be lived both corporately and individually. He even gives us a glimpse of what family worship was expected to look like at that time. Again, his observations would do Christians much good today. The chapter on ministry is outstanding, but one really cannot do it justice in just a few sentences. The final chapter on confession and communion was a mixed bag for me. His ideas on confession were pretty good. However, his beliefs on communion are different from my beliefs (he was a Lutheran, I am a Baptist). Even still, I would recommend reading this chapter with one's eyes open. When all is said and done, this is a wonderful book. It was written in 1940's German and translated to English, so there are some places where the translation is not always the clearest. The reader should know that Bonhoeffer was not only a pastor, but also a theologian - his writing is meaty, not fluffy. For those brave enough to sink their teeth in, this book will be a great read (and probably a great re-read). There is much to learn in this little book. I even found that much of this book can be applied within the marriage context. Read, enjoy, apply it to all aspects of your life.

Slim book, packed with great ideas

Christain martyr Deitrich Bonhoeffer wrote this book to aid its Christian reader in Christian living through the miriad of daily activities. Although it's only about 100 pages, it's a whale of a helpful book.It takes a little reading to get used to Bonhoeffer's style (prose), but once you can read "Life Together" fluidly, it hits you like a machine gun: practical advice followed by rationalle; practical advice followed by rationalle; etc. Among the topics covered are components to daily, family devotions, the relationship between work and worship; a new way of looking at Psalms and hymns; the importance of daily showing love through your actions so that you can spread the word of Christ; ways to guard against conflict in a church (as if there is ever conflict at voters meetings. Ha!)This book won't take you very long at all to read, but the thoughts you take away from it will churn in your head for weeks. You'll find yourself turning back to the book re-read a section or two. You'll kick yourself for not reading it sooner. I know I have. HIGHLY recommended.

Excellent Read of a Famous Theologian

Bonhoeffer talks about Christian fellowship. As a Lutheran, he doesn't fail but to let this talk of community revolve around anything else but the body and blood of Christ, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.This for Bonhoeffer is the beginning and end of fellowship. This must be revolting and new for many who would call themselves Christians today, due to our wanting to be individuals who agree to unite around our diversities, rather than what Bonhoeffer writes from the Bible, our unity in Christ crucified. To call any other kind of intimacy close to this is unbiblical and un-Bonhoeffer. Evidence this quote: "It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God's Word and sacrament." Also, "All we can say, therefore, is: the community of Christians springs solely from the Biblical and Reformation message of the justification of man through grace alone; this alone is the basis of the longing of Christians for one another." "Without Christ there is discord between God and man and between man and man."Probably my favorite quote which will bring huge rewards for those that discern its truths: "We must center our attention on the Word alone and leave consequences to its action. For may it not be that God HImslef sends kus these hours of reproof and dryness that we may be brought again to expect everything from His Word? "Seek God, not happiness"--this is the fundamental rule of all meditation."

A book that should have a dramatic impact in your life.

Bonhoeffer hits home! Life Together is especially for the Reformers of today. This book deals with issues that we keep hidden for the sake of piety. I rarely use the word "hero" but Bonhoeffer certainly fits that category. Any young (or for that matter old) theologian needs to get a hold of this book and not let go!

These works will change your life

Besides the Word of God (the bible), there are three other books every Christian should read, if he/she is serious about their faith.Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan; The Cost of Discipleship by D. Bonhoeffer, and this book, Life Together, by the same author. This book changed my perspective...totally, on how to live with 'my neighbour.' Think you really do love your neighbour? What about your brother and sister in the Lord? With so many church splits, arguments over trivial doctrinal issues, petty squabbles, and gossip justified as 'good ol' christian concern', this book is needed. It shows how we are REALLY to treat one another. Patterned after Christ, and based in scripture--this book is a must.
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