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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores Bonhoeffer’s understanding of the Christian life in its public witness to God’s worldly presence. For Bonhoeffer, the Christian life unfolds as God’s word draws human beings into the story of Christ and as human beings in turn respond through practices of prayer and doing justice for others. The first section of this chapter explores the grammar of the Christian life as witnessing to the word of God. The second outlines Bonhoeffer’s distinction between the ethics of formation and of conformation, which sets apart Bonhoeffer’s approach to the Christian life from some other Protestant approaches. Third, there follows an account of the Christological grammar of the Christian life as life ‘in Christ’. The final section reflects upon the significance of Bonhoeffer’s doctrine of the mandates for understanding the publicity of the Christian life and its relevance for public theology today.

Keywords: Bonhoeffer, Christian life, ethics, witness, practices, Christological grammar, public theology

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