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Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship
Acu Press / 2010 / Paperback
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In 1937, on the threshold of Nazi Germany's war on the world, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote what turned out to be one of the most influential books of the century, The Cost of Discipleship. In it, he challenged the flabby faith and compromises of German Christians, famously writing, "When Christ calls a man he bids him come and die."
Now, seventy-three years after the book was first published, Jon Walker writes Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship. Walker brings to a new generation the timeless message of Bonhoeffer against the background of today's political upheaval and societal change and what it means to those who claim to follow Christ's teachings.
In 1937, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote "The Cost of Discipleship." Walker brings to a new generation the timeless message of Bonhoeffer against the background of today's political upheaval and societal change and what it means to those who claim to follow Christ's teachings.
Jon Walker has worked closely with Rick Warren for many years, first as a writer/editor at Pastors.com, later as vice president of communications at Purpose Driven Ministries, and then as a pastor at Saddleback Church. He's also served as editor-in-chief of LifeWay's HomeLife magazine and founding editor of Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox. His articles have appeared in publications and Web sites around the world. You can learn more about his ministry at www.gracecreates.com.
Contrary to popular book titles, there are no Easy Steps to Christian Maturity or Secrets of Instant Sainthood. Mature Christians are grown through struggles and storms and seasons of suffering. But most of all they are grown through obedience to Jesus.
The Cost of Discipleship helped me understand this when I read Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book as a young believer. In fact, it is one of the reasons I've spent a lifetime encouraging believers to follow Jesus with purpose, to surrender their lives wholeheartedly to him.
Sadly, millions of Christians are confused about what it means to surrender to Jesus and so they go on living their lives without ever changing the way they live. The "cheap grace" that Bonhoeffer describes in The Cost of Discipleship has so deeply saturated our congregations that, despite our evangelical theology, the idea of surrender is as unpopular and misunderstood as the idea of submission.
Surrender implies losing, and no one wants to be a loser. Yet, Jesus says we must be losers, losing our lives in order to find life in him (Matthew 16:25-28). We speak too often of winning, succeeding, overcoming, and conquering and too little of yielding, submitting, obeying, and surrendering. Yet, we can only follow Jesus when we obey Jesus and his commands. To say "No, Lord" is to speak a contradiction. Surrendered people obey God's word, even if it doesn't make sense. Surrendered hearts show up best in relationships. You don't edge others out, you don't demand your rights, and you aren't self-serving when you're surrendered. Being surrendered to Jesus costs us just as it cost Jesus when he surrendered himself to the cross for us.
Costly Grace by my friend and associate, Jon Walker, teaches that God will do his deepest work in you when you surrender to God and become obedient to the commands of Jesus (James 4:7). Instead of trying harder to be a Christian, you must trust Jesus more. Nothing under his control can ever be out of control. Mastered by Christ, you can handle anything.
The book Costly Grace is about the practice of surrender, which is a moment-by-moment, lifelong obedience to Jesus. We cannot call ourselves disciples of Jesus without this daily obedience to him: "And he said to them all, 'If you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, take up your cross every day, and follow me'" (Luke 9:23 TEV).
My prayer is that this book will remind the evangelical community that our lives not only can be changed when we follow Jesus, they must change or we have to question if we're really following Jesus. I believe Costly Grace may be one of the most important books published during this time of economic uncertainty and world turmoil. It strips discipleship down to its essentials, where we discover again that, when we face uncertainty, our only certainty is in Jesus. --Rick Warren, Author of The Purpose Driven Life
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