13 July 2022  |   by Andreas Bochmann

I rarely use the King James Version as an English Bible translation these days. But “self-control” and “self-discipline” (the usual modern English translations) sound a bit too much like a fitness studio to me, so don’t quite catch the idea of the word “Besonnenheit” which Bonhoeffer would have read in his German Bible in 2 Tim 1:7. 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

In fact, Bonhoeffer is remembered with this text: it is engraved on the execution wall at the concentration camp Flossenbürg where he was hanged just three weeks before the end of the Nazi regime in Germany. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer for me is not only one of the most notable theologians of the 20th century, but also somewhat of an enigma. Any interpretation of him and his work is likely to reveal more about the interpreter than Bonhoeffer himself. For myself, he is “the better Adventist,” a kind of ideal, a point of longing for what a prophetic movement like my church could be about. (Bonhoeffer might disagree.)

This ATSS presentation comes in the wake of the General Conference in St. Louis, and tries to understand the dynamic of the event. The question will be raised: where to go from there, not with fear, but with power, love, and a sound mind, as Paul admonished Timothy.

It is the prophetic wisdom of Bonhoeffer that helped me to better understand the failure of St. Louis. A good friend and colleague reminded me of Bonhoeffer’s short essay on Stupidity and Malice, an eye opener which you might want to read in preparation for our discussion.

In the first part of the presentation, I will try to give you a little bit of my take on Bonhoeffer, focusing especially on the German setting in which he lived, hopefully raising your curiosity for the man – not just the theologian. I intend to do so not as a historian, not as a scholar, but as a fellow sojourner and human being. 

In the second part of the presentation I will suggest and discuss the thesis that Bonhoeffer’s insights on stupidity and malice can provide some answers on how to deal with the aftermath of St. Louis, so as to encourage and empower those who feel disenfranchised, frustrated, or simply “lost” after the General Conference session. 


Andreas Bochmann is professor for counseling and pastoral care at Friedensau Adventist University, Germany.  


Loren Seibold is the Executive Editor of Adventist Today

How to join:

One-click link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84659980105
Passcode: He was the middle member of a trio of Jesus closest friends, along with Peter and John. FIVE CHARACTERS, ALL CAPS.

ATSS starting time depends on where you are. If you’re on the west coast of the United States, it’ll be 10:30 AM. On the east coast, 1:30 PM.

Times around the world:

    • Reykjavík: 5:30 PM
    • College Place: 10:30 AM
    • Lincoln: 12:30 PM
    • Denver: 11:30 AM
    • Bracknell: 6:30 PM
    • Loma Linda: 10:30 AM
    • Nairobi: 8:30 PM
    • Gackle: 12:30 PM
    • Hosur: 11:00 PM
    • Waco: 12:30 PM
    • Keene: 12:30 PM
    • Helsinki: 8:30 PM
    • Stockholm: 7:30 PM
    • Hamburg: 7:30 PM
    • Cape Town: 7:30 PM
    • Madrid: 7:30 PM
    • Paris: 7:30 PM
    • Honolulu: 7:30 AM
    • Cooranbong: 5:30 AM (Sunday)
    • Perth: 2:30 AM (Sunday)

The class is intended to last about 2 hours, though the conversation often continues to 4 PM (Eastern time).

About our class:

  • The AT Sabbath Seminar is intended to be a courteous forum. We discuss and ask questions politely. We don’t accuse, get angry, or put people down.
  • Stick to the topic in both comments and chat discussion.
  • Make your comments and questions short—don’t dominate.
  • Keep your microphones muted unless you are called upon to make your comment or ask your question.
  • Indicate your interest in speaking by raising your electronic hand—under the “reactions” button.
  • Please use your name when you sign in! Not your phone number, not your initials. This will help us differentiate you from unwelcome guests who want to disrupt us. You can set your name after signing on by clicking on the 3 dots next to your picture, which drops down a menu.
  • If it should happen that we are attacked so that we have to stop the meeting, we’ll quickly post a new meeting link on our AT Facebook page.

We look forward to getting acquainted with you!

Coming up:

  • Lisa Clark Diller
  • Tom de Bruin
  • Bryan Ness
  • Gil Valentine
  • Gerald Winslow
  • Jon Paulien

To comment or question, click/tap here