Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi, and special friend of Greenville Community Church. That friendship developed when Bonhoeffer spent a school year, 1930-1931, in New York.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is known to the world through his books such as The Cost of Discipleship, Life Together, and Letters and Papers from Prison. He is known to Greenville Community Church as a friend to church members Richard and Frances Ern and family. Bonhoeffer spent many hours visiting at the Ern family home, playing the piano, and walking in the nearby woods where Edgemont High School is now located. It was Richard Ern who loaned a 1924 Oldsmobile for Bonhoeffer's summer road trip to Mexico. Upon returning from the trip, Bonhoeffer gave several souvenirs to the Ern family, including a small drum that is now included in Greenville Community Church's archives.
Much time has passed since Dietrich Bonhoeffer left New York in order to return to Germany and join the anti-Nazi movement, but Bonhoeffer's advice still points the way in our time.
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession...Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. 'The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared' (Luther).” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together