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Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community Paperback – Oct 25 1978

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Harperone (Oct. 25 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060608528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060608521
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1 x 20.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"When I think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, some words Gorky used of Tolstoy come into my mind--'Look what a wonderful man is living on the earth.'" -- Malcolm Muggeridge, author of Jesus

From the Back Cover

After his martyrdom at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer continued his witness in the hearts of Christians around the world. His Letters and Papers from Prison became a prized testimony to Christian faith and courage, read by thousands. Now in Life Together we have Pastor Bonhoeffer's experience of Christian community. This story of a unique fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years reads like one of Paul's letters. It gives practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups. The role of personal prayer, worship in common, everyday work, and Christian service is treated in simple, almost biblical, words. Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship.

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Inside This Book

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"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donald S. Meador on July 8 2004
Format: Paperback
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 13 2004
Format: Paperback
The entire world was embroiled in a battle for the existance of the human race. Where was God? Several sharp minds wrestled with that most difficult part of faith where the rubber meets the road. One of those was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In this short, but extremely profound, work, he wrestles with the Christian's relationship to the Christian community. I'll throw out a couple of my favorite quotes from this book. If you find them challenging, buy the entire book and get a lot more like them:
"LET HIM WHO CANNOT BE ALONE BEWARE OF COMMUNITY. He will only do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when he called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God."
"LET HIM WHO IS NOT IN COMMUNITY BEWARE OF BEING ALONE. Into the community you were called, the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone, even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ."
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Format: Paperback
Satan is the accuser, the Bible says. But Christ, with the Spirit, intercedes for us, as the Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:26 "with sighs too deep for words".
A beautiful book, my copy freely given me by a Lutheran pastor who shared my love for Bonhoeffer. I wanted to lead a Bible study, he said if he ever led one he would use this book!
I first heard of Bonhoeffer from someone at my church. I discovered Bonhoeffer for myself when I watched the documentary Hanged on a Twisted Cross, the life and times of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which I highly, highly recommend.
The parts of the book which spoke to me most were the sections in chapter 1 entitled through and in Jesus Christ and in chapter 3, the section on intercession. Here are some excerpts I love:
"A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner......Intercession means no more than to bring our brother into the presence of God, to see him under the cross of Jesus as a poor human being and sinner in need of grace....His need and his sin become so heavy and oppressive that we feel them as our own, and we can do nothing else but pray: Lord, do Thou, Thou alone, deal with him according to Thy severity and Thy goodness."
I do believe Bonhoeffer has " the mind of Christ" on that one.
Beautiful, beautiful book.
P.S. I challenge you to examine and compare the lives of Noah, Daniel, and Job
to find out what was so pleasing to God about them. How do their lives reflect Christ's and what about everyone else's?!!! Please see Ezekiel 14:14-23. So I leave you with some homework, I just couldn't resist!
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Format: Paperback
This brief book contains one of the most passionate calls to Christian community of any book I have read. Bonhoeffer does not mince words; he boldly and succinctly tells us that whether we feel it or not, we are bound in community with other Christians. And, like a good Lutheran, Bonhoeffer makes it clear that this community finds its origin and existence only in Christ and in what *Christ* has done to each believer. He emphasizes that Christian community is not an ideal to be worked towards, but rather a divine reality; which differentiates this work from most other works on community which focus on how to "make community happen."
On that same token, the reason I give this book 4 stars instead of 5 is that the second chapter called "The Day with Others" is much weaker than the other four chapters. In this chapter Bonhoeffer strays from laying theological foundations and giving general exhortations, to giving very specific instructions for how the community's daily life should look. He communicates these instructions with the same "this is the only truth" tone that runs through the rest of the book--but in this chapter it seems annoying and pretentious, rather than deeply challenging.
All in all, he does much better when laying out general theological principles and describing the foundations of Christian community; which is thankfully what 4/5 of the chapters consist of. This book is obviously written from a deeply convicted place in Bonhoeffer's own heart, and for that reason it has tremendous power to convict and move the hearts and minds of the readers. I recommend it highly.
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