Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther

Posted on October 8, 2017 by PLT Staff

Lecture given by Michael P. DeJonge at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA (September 2017). Drawing from his most recent publication of the same title, DeJonge centers the lecture on the argument that Bonhoeffer’s approach to political and ethical issues rests on a complex and balanced account of the relationship between theology and political life inherited through the Lutheran tradition. He begins by discussing how the structure or logic of Bonhoeffer’s thought is informed by the two extremes of ethical frameworks, the compromise approach and the radical approach. As Bonhoeffer seeks out the middle position of the two, he reclaims the authentic Lutheran position, DeJonge argues, using two tools from the Lutheran tradition of social ethics: the ideas of the two kingdoms and the orders. DeJonge concludes with a practical account of how this abstract conceptual frameworks should approach political projects. For a listing of all our Occasional Lectures, click here.

Excerpt: “Bonhoeffer is a two kingdoms thinker, and it is really crucial to see that if you want to understand the way he works with political and ethical issues… A key theological notion that is secured by the two kingdoms is the idea of preservation. So in the Lutheran tradition, there is a relatively clear distinction between preservation and redemption. Once creation falls into sin, God’s action towards the world isn’t straightaway redemption, but rather preservation and redemption. Preservation is God’s activity by which God prevents the world from falling into the total chaos that should follow from sin. Before God redeems the world, God needs to preserve the world in its fallenness, keep it out of nothingness. So God is doing that with one hand, and redeeming the world with the other.”

  • Audio Information
  • Date Recorded:September 2017
  • Location Recorded:Charlottesville, VA
  • Audio File:Download File »
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