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Bonhoeffer, Barth, and Luther: Preaching as Prayer
Author Pasquarello, Michael
Format Journal Article
Description 10 pages
Language English
Subject Preaching
Notes Copyright © 2016 Michael Pasquarello III. Presented here with permission of Michael Pasquarello III and the Academy of Homiletics.
Abstract This paper considers preaching as a liturgical act, or prayer, by looking at the example of Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Luther. The historical setting of the paper is Hitler’s Germany, in the early to mid - 1930’s, when the German Protestant Church was swept up into the nationalistic and racist ideology set forth by National Socialism. This paper will look at the homiletical lectures of Barth and Bonhoeffer during this critical time in the life of the church in Germany, Barth at the University of Bonn; Bonhoeffer at the underground seminary of the Confessing Church in Finkenwalde. Their lectures bear a number of similarities, particularly their emphasis on preaching as grounded in worship and prayer, an acknowledgement of God as God who speaks a revelatory word, rather than the god of National Socialism, who was supported and promoted by preaching that began with human reason and experience as shaped by the German “Volk.” The last part of the paper will show how Bonhoeffer moves beyond his dependence on Barth’s homiletical insights, taking a “Lutheran” turn to appropriate the work of Martin Luther, offering a sacramental vision of preaching grounded in the Word incarnate in Christ, present in the words of the sermon and the life of the community.
Collection Academy of Homiletics
Contributor Academy of Homiletics