Quote: Being ‘grasped’ by God


Title: Bonhoeffer
Author: Eric Metaxas
Page: 81

In a letter to Rossler, Bonhoeffer pushed the idea further:

I have long thought that sermons had a center that, if you hit it, would move anyone or confront them with a decision. I no longer believe that. First of all, a sermon can never grasp the center, but can only itself be grasped by it, by Christ. And then Christ becomes flesh as much in the word of the pietists as in that of the clerics or of the religious socialists, and these empirical connections actually pose difficulties for preaching that are absolute, not merely relative.

This was a very radical and dramatic thing to say, but it is the perfectly logical conclusion to the idea that apart from God’s grace, one can do nothing worthwhile. Anything good must come from God, so even in a sermon that was poorly written and delivered, God might manifest himself and touch the congregation. Conversely in a sermon wonderfully written and delivered, God might refuse to manifest himself. The “success” of the sermon is utterly dependent on the God who breaks through and “grasps” us, or we cannot be “grasped.”

— In crisis, God’s sovereignty is a wonderful comfort.

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