Cost of Discipleship
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

First, let me tell you this is a difficult book to read because it makes you pause every few pages and consider what you have read and think about what it has said.

Bonhoeffer challenges us today, as he challenged the church in Hitler's Germany, to put aside "cheap grace" in favor of the "costly grace" God calls us to. He defines cheap grace as, "forgiveness without repentance, baptism without discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without the cross, grace without discipleship, and grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

Costly grace is "costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it cost a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His Son: 'ye were bought with a price, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.' Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon His Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered Him up for us. Costly grace is the incarnation of God."

Bonhoeffer contends that we are not to be conformed to this world, but through the power of Christ in us, we are to withstand and condemn sin, never counting the cost, but instead to follow Jesus even unto death if necessary. Bonhoeffer did not take his own words lightly. He was part of the German Resistance and because of his activities with this group, he was executed in a concentration camp just days before the German surrender during World War II.

This is an excellent book and one that, in my opinion, should be required reading for every Christian.

James Shelton
Reviewed by James Shelton