Bonhoeffer was concerned that church people in Germany were content to simply wear a thin “garment” of Christianity.
One biographer wrote about Bonhoeffer’s meaning of religionless Christianity:
In this process, religion itself, considered and historically conditioned, transient, dying form of Christianity, would undergo drastic changes as faith is freed from its more Westernized, self-serving constrictions and emphasis on inward piety and empty rituals.
…Bonhoeffer had criticized religion for its having inflicted on people a psychic posture of weakness and immature dependence and for having encouraged individualistic, self-centered attitudes toward God and others. Christians living a “nonreligious” form of Christianity, on the other hand, would draw on the example of Christ, the “man for others,” and live in a paradox of being called out of the world while belonging wholly to it.
Bonhoeffer’s prophetic voice is still calling today’s western church to divest itself of the veneer of religion so that the heart and essence of faith and communion with a holy God remains the core Gospel.
From the prison letters, one can deduce that Bonhoeffer was calling for a complete restructuring of ecclesiastical offices and for a reshaping of the churches so they can become more like Christ, divested of their possessiveness and encouraged to live only to serve others.
My hope, as we seek the wineskins that best serve and reveal Christ in today’s world, that we never give up the quest for re-shaping our personal and corporate lives around His person and the deep relationship with Him that He calls us to.
(My appreciations to bonhoefferblog from whom I drew most of this post from).