|Posted on January 15, 2017 at 7:15 AM|
Wie kommt es, dass sich vieles, was manche Christinnen und Christen so im Internet von sich geben, wie Sekten-ähnliche Parolen anhört? Wie ein fanatischer Hype, der genauso schnell vorbei ist, wie er kam - oder gar ins Gegenteil umschlägt? Kürzlich sah ich gar einen "christlichen" Online-Prediger, der sich für mich genauso wie ein Anhänger von ISIS anhörte. Ich musste mehrmals nachsehen, ob er nicht gar einer war... Zumeist sind die von diesen Predigern vertretenden Thesen auch theologisch sehr armselig. Kein Wunder, da wohl die wenigsten dieser Menschen überhaupt eine theologische Grundausbildung haben und die Bibel nach eigenem Gutdünken lesen, aber nicht studieren. Zur Verdeutlichung: Wenn ich heute sage: "Das Auto ist im Eimer", weiß jeder, was gemeint ist. Wenn ich das aber aufschreibe und 2.000 Jahre später liest dies jemand und macht daraus einen Glaubensgrundsatz, dass Autos zerlegt und in Eimer verteilt werden müssen, bekomme ich in etwa das, was manche dieser Prediger vertreten. Überzeugen werden sie mit ihren Thesen wohl niemand - am allerwenigsten sich selbst.
|Posted on December 17, 2016 at 11:25 AM|
Some churches have become religious clubs where like-minded people meet to have a good time and get affirmation by those who have the same mindset. If that is all you do, however, and if giving and supporting one another is only for those within your own community, you miss out on the Great Commandment (go OUT, make discuples and baptize them!) and the Great Commandment (Jesus made no condition for reaching out to others. His love was unconditional and selfless). Such a "church" deserves nothing less than to die.
|Posted on August 9, 2016 at 2:10 PM|
In Germany, evangelizing, mission work, making disciples or whatever you might call it, is a touchy subject. At best, smaller evangelical churches might practice it - the way it should be done. The two big ones - Lutheran and Catholic - have (if at all) a totally different concept. For most of the Christians here, this is at best something fundamentalists do. Ar members of religious orders when they go to Africa. We donate a little money. This is what we contribute to mission work.
Evangelizing Jews is something the big churches won't even think of - or reject straight away (where in the Bible does God exclude the Jews from the Great Commission?).
Even Muslims or members of other religions are "non-touchables" when it comes to evangelizing.
What lacks, is an understanding of what discipleship is all about to begin with. You cannot pass on what you do not love. And you cannot love what you do not know.
At the moment, God blesses us with pastors, priests and nuns from Africa, India and similar countries that used to be the object of mission and evangelizing work. They sometimes painfully remind us of what being a disciple of Jesus Christ is all about (though German Christians would never call themselves like that. They are Lutherans or Catholics - and not disciples of Jesus Christ).
The idea that both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission is something EVERY Christian is called to and will be held accountable for lacks completely.
Lukewarm cafeteria Christianity and moral relativism reign.
So far, so bad.
But! It does not end there.
In the worst of times, God sometimes calls the least of the least. Simple laypeople stand up for Him, even though others attack them. Simple people like Peter was one. It is easy to spread the faith when everything goes easy street. When things get rough though, it becomes a challenge. Jesus did not come to heal the healthy, but the sick.
The situation in Europe is very grave - spiritually and politically. Things can escalate and explode very fast. The current times remind me of the Weimar Republic - the political system here before Hitler got to power. Likewise today people do not seem to be able and willing to read the sign of the times.
To live in such times is both very hard and very rewarding. It has been a long time when being a true disciple was such a challenge. Then again - it was worse for the early Christians and reading their testimonies, we get an idea of what discipleship is all about.
Our hearts must burn for the love of God, neighbor and self. Burn so much we set others on fire!
"What are we so afraid of," Fr. Bill Casey from the Fathers of Mercy in Kentucky, USA, might say now. That we get angry emails? That others will not talk with us anymore?
So be it! Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world at the moment. Many are brutally murdered for their faith.
And yet - their light will continue to shine. They will not be forgotten.
Some time ago, I visited the memorial site of the former concentration camp in Dachau near Munich, Germany. The tour guide showed us the cells where the priests were at. Technically, they were even allowed to celebrate mass there. In reality, it could happen that someone took the chalice and smashed it into their face.
People like Dietrich Bonhoeffer were there (I had also been at the site where he was finally killed in Flossenbürg). He wrote a book that fascinated me: "Life together".
Or take people like Mother Theresa. She could not care less when she was talking in the USA in front of the President and other celebrities. She said what needed to be said, not would people wanted to hear. Among others, she very strongly condemned one of the most horrible crimes - abortion.
However, it has always been the most simple people that touched my heart deeply. Those that nobody knows and talks about and whose life witness had been a tremendous testimony for the hope and love within them. They evangelized in a way that puts me to shame.
Among many, I want to mention my mom. She died last year after 30 (!) years of illness. No, she was no saint. She was an ordinary woman. Except for the way she dealt with her pain. I had been with her the last months when it got really bad. The way she bravely coped with her deteriorating health while at the same time keeping a strong faith very much impressed me.
In her last days she fell into a coma after water got into her lungs. They put a tube down her air pipe so she would get oxygen and also many cables into her arms to supply her with what her body needed, to watch over the body functions, to put her on dialysis and so on. I was told that even if she woke up she would not be the same as her brain was damaged through the lack of oxygen. Anyways she would notice nothing as she was in a coma, they said.
The family gathered around her bed and we had a priest come for the anointing of the sick. We prayed over her and the priest performed the rite. I stood beside her head and my sister near me.
When the priest made the cross on her forehead with the chrisam oil, I thought my heart would stop beating and my blood would freeze. Tears were rolling down her cheek. I nudged my sister to show her.
There was no dry eye in the room.
Sometimes God shows you through the weakest of the weakest that He is still there, that He is in control and that He is - and will always be - God.
In her hardest hour, my mother most likely drew more people to God than in her whole life.
Munich. August 9th 2016
Robert Anton Gollwitzer
|Posted on December 14, 2015 at 1:40 PM|
"At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders." Acts 14:1-3 (NIV)
So the Apostles preached to the Jews, Jesus preached to the Jews - they even were Jews themselves! - and my Catholic brothers at the Vatican have the guts to condemn "institutionalized" mission to the Jews? What's wrong with you guys??
|Posted on December 9, 2015 at 2:25 PM|
What I think of the new document by the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews called "The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable" (Rom 11:29) A Reflection on Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic–Jewish Relations on the Occation of the 50th Anniversary of "Nostra Aetate" (No.4)?
I have only glanced through it, but from what I saw so far I consider it highly dangerous and misleading - almost to the point of heresy. Like any other wrong teaching coming from within the Church, there is a lot of truth in it. That makes the error ever so much more dangerous as it becomes invisible as error and appears as truth. In short: I believe the leaders of the Church are leading their flock into the wrong direction and it is up to us to stand up and fulfill both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission (which makes no difference of nationality or religious affiliation, institutions or individuals). To exclude anyone from that opens a door that will lead to even worse error.
|Posted on June 29, 2015 at 12:20 AM|
So I just watched "Audacity". To make it short: I will not join the ranks of those who praise this movie on "homosexuality". It's just bad. If you think this is what it takes to reach out to people with same-sex attractions, you are very wrong. First, it focuses completely on the spiritual side of the issue. So, let's begin with that. The guy behind it follows a very annoying formof street-evangelism that reminds me of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Aside some serious theological errors he seems to believe in (like regarding salvation), you do not win over or even help people by winning a Bible verse competition by throwing set patterns at them much like the JWs do. Even if you "got them around" for now, they will be faced with serious problems soon afterwards - and most likely feel worse than ever before, because now they have guilt as an additional area to struggle with. Guilt of not being able to "make it". Human sexuality is influenced by many different factors, and so are same-sex attractions. Spirituality is just one of many causes that have somehow to do with the development of same-sex attractions (I deliberately do not use the word "homosexuality", as there is not such thing. There are people with same-sex attractions - for whatever reason - but no homosexuals. Anyway - there are unmet needs these people have, maybe hurts in their lives, and much more. None of those legitimate needs, problems and hurts will be met or even addressed just by throwing a Bible verse at them. To think that giving them flyers or tracts and winning them over like that is something we should all do, is an approach that I reject with all of my heart. This reminds me of those terrible "Chick-Tracts". So for all those who really have questions - go to a serious ministry and ask for help there. Whatever you do, please do not believe that the approach displayed in "Audacity" is in any way helpful. It will likely cause more hurt and damage and thus miss its great goal: winning souls over for Christ. Yes, I believe the authors had the best intentions, but as the saying goes: The opposite of "good" is "well intentioned".
Munich, June 28th 2015
|Posted on July 31, 2014 at 2:35 PM|
Of course they should! “Proselytizing” has a bad sound to it, but it need not be so. It is just another aspect of evangelizing. Yes, we should also convince others through our own life example – through our works of love, through the way we act and talk, and through the way we worship. But this is not all there is to it. We can and should also try to challenge other people’s beliefs and try to win their hearts and minds! Outreach is not just a matter of the heart, it also affects the intellect. Peter taught us we should always be ready to give an account of the hope that is within us. That also includes the knowledge about this hope. Knowing what the Church and with it the Bible teaches. Knowing what we believe and why we believe it. Giving our faith a reason and being ready to defend it when necessary. We can only love what we know, so a solid foundation is essential for our faith. This knowledge and foundation can help us convincing others. Now I said it. And with full intention – this is something we MUST do. And we must be able to do it. Yes, we should avoid being arrogant, prideful and the like. We should not try to win the argument, but the heart – and soul. Bottom line: As bad as it might sound to some, but there is nothing wrong with it – on the contrary, it is a must for every Catholic.