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Abstract

The paper’s authors undertake the reflection on the stages of the evolution of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s views on the Church and its role as it is played in the lives of its singular members and in the context of the Reformation’s ethical heritage. One can distinguish among three stages of the Bonhoefferian ecclesiology, deepening his vision of the Church. As far as the first one is considered, the Church is defined as the spiritual community of believers, outside of which salvation is impossible. At the second stage the German theologian accentuates the sinfulness of man as a member of the Church. Its recognition constitutes the basis for the transformation that can take place in the human individual due to accepting Christ into oneself. The third stage is stepping into the world of „before-final” matters in the full responsibility for the choices made by particular members of the ecclesial community. The Church, as Bonhoeffer saw it, was supposed to support itself on strong pillars: on freedom, personal responsibility, imitating Christ, neighbourly love, on sacraments and Gospel. In this aspect Bonhoeffer was the faithful continuator of the Reformation program.
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