Christians Should Give More Offense

Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christians should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong.

 --Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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7 thoughts on “Christians Should Give More Offense”

  1. The greatest self-deception among Evangelicals is that the weak and the poor during the times of the prophets and of Jesus had a legitimacy, even a "holy nature" that those who claim to be needy and weak today do not have. The accusation of "feeling entitled" is used too freely, while freedom is defined as fighting for the strong to help them keep the power and the goods they have used their freedom to accumulate.

    I think the challenge is to accept the truth, as much as it may crumble our illusions, that as we walk through each day, among those who have who cry, even among those who complain, if we traded times and places with Jesus, we would be walking through the same world.

  2. Thanks for sharing this someone living 20 minutes from Ferguson, MO this hits close to home! Thankfully, I can say there are Christians standing with the "weak" (powerless) in Ferguson. However, Bonhoeffer's indictment still looms.

  3. My first thought was that this was a trenchant critique of American Evangelicalism, and especially its imperialism. And it does apply there. But then I recalled that this is the genuine motivation behind those Christians who oppose abortion (exploited though it no doubt is by politicians). And yet the term "pro-life" is the pariah of not just the world but most of the social justice Christians who most heartily "amen" Bonhoeffer's quote.

    This isn't to imply that the politics-based "pro-life movement" per se has gone about things in the right way, of course. But when I think of the many dear folks I know who are against abortion for sincerely good motives, I am convinced that their insistence on championing the cause of those they consider the very most weak and vulnerable is worth acknowledging and even encouraging. We can't allow the shortcomings of the movement to justify self-righteous derision of the Evangelical on the street who can't see a way to stop abortion apart from political action (can politically liberal Christians blame them?). Common ground should be sought by de-emphasizing means that entail state intervention and that instead fan the sparks of social concern based on sympathy for the plight of unwed or otherwise burdened mothers-to-be. And there are things that can be learned in the other direction, too, I daresay.

    Just a few thoughts.

  4. Where the search for the truth is conducted with a wink and a nod

    And where power and position are equated with the grace of God

    These times are famine for the soul while for the senses it's a feast

    From the edge of my country, as far as you see, looking east

    Looking East by Jackson Browne

  5. Steve,
    What do you think of organizations like "LifeSite" who want to either place state of the art "Ultrasound Scanners" in Abortion clinics or between them, giving women the option to see their developing fetus beforehand.

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