Pastor Fritz Foltz

Pastor Foltz is Pastor Emeritus of Saint James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, PA and author of the the Frontline Study content.

Lesson 8: Final Thoughts on Bonhoeffer

Lesson 8: Final Thoughts on Bonhoeffer

I really have been overwhelmed rereading Bonhoeffer. As I have repeatedly reported, I was not that impressed when I first studied him in divinity school. At that time, I was caught up in the civil rights movement and naively felt we had learned how to speak truth to power. Now, I feel he has a […]

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Lesson 7:  Letters and Papers from Prison (Part 4): Conclusions and Consequences

Lesson 7: Letters and Papers from Prison (Part 4): Conclusions and Consequences

Throughout his writings, Bonhoeffer repeatedly contends the Church must commit herself to living in complete honesty and by the standards found in the scriptures if she is to save the world from self-destruction. Only in this way can she avoid the sickening religiosity that ignores the real dangers in a modern evil culture. In the […]

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Lesson 6: Letters and Papers from Prison (Part 3): The Real Meaning of Christian Faith

Lesson 6: Letters and Papers from Prison (Part 3): The Real Meaning of Christian Faith

The second chapter in Bonhoeffer’s proposed book on religionless Christianity in our world come of age examines the real meaning of faith. He repeatedly claims this demands the absolute honesty of repentance that admits our failures and accepts divine guidance as well as an accurate reading of the Biblical message. The latter acknowledges that the […]

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Lesson 5: Letters and Papers from Prison (Part 2): Stocktaking of Christianity

Lesson 5: Letters and Papers from Prison (Part 2): Stocktaking of Christianity

I thought the best way to report what Bonhoeffer meant by the need for a religionless Christianity in this world come of age would to be to use an outline he himself provides. At one point in the Letters, he reports he wants to write one more book, no longer than 100 pages with three […]

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Lesson 4: Letters and Papers from Prison: Observations

Lesson 4: Letters and Papers from Prison: Observations

My primary goal when I started rereading the Letters was to examine what Bonhoeffer means about the need for a religionless Christianity in our world come of age. He repeatedly claims that this demands brutal honesty in reading the scriptures and analyzing our society. It’s obvious he thought his two years in prison forced him […]

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Lesson 3: Ethics

Lesson 3: Ethics

Bonhoeffer’s arrest prevented him from finishing what was meant to be his greatest work. Back in seminary, I rather hurriedly read what we have of the Ethics as an academic study and was unimpressed. I reread it in the past few days as a historical statement and found much to ponder and admire. In fact, […]

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Lesson 2: The Cost of Discipleship

Lesson 2: The Cost of Discipleship

I first read The Cost of Discipleship my first year in divinity school when a classmate, Gene Outka, who went on to teach ethics at Yale, recommended it as something every Lutheran pastor should read. It was good advice. Bonhoeffer laments that the Church has made Luther’s justification by grace through faith into a doctrine […]

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Lesson 1: Life

Lesson 1: Life

When Paul suggested we do something on a Lutheran theologian and mentioned Dietrich Bonhoeffer, my ears went up. A number of my other friends have named him recently when discussing how the church should relate to government activities they think are unchristian. Lutherans have special problems, because Luther’s two kingdoms theory makes obeying the ruling authorities […]

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Lesson 11: Opposition to Pope Francis

Lesson 11: Opposition to Pope Francis

As I wrote this series on the theology that informs Francis’ papacy, I became more cognizant of the opposition that has risen against him. I knew it was there, but did not comprehend how deep it ran in certain groups or the strategy these used in attacking him. In closing this series, I want to […]

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Lesson 10: The Spirit in Daily Life

Lesson 10: The Spirit in Daily Life

My plan was to spend the summer casually examining Pope Francis’ theology. It seemed an easy assignment, simply posting summaries of readings I have been wanting to tackle. Those hopes for some quiet academic study quickly went up in flames. Some respondents vociferously chided me for passing indifferently over life-and-death issues. Their chief argument was […]

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