Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship  -     By: Jon Walker
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Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship

ACU Press / 2010 / Paperback

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Product Description

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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: ACU Press
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 0891126767
ISBN-13: 9780891126768

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Publisher's Description

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.

Author Info

Jon Walker has worked closely with Rick Warren for many years, first as a writer/editor at, 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


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

Product Reviews

4.8 Stars Out Of 5
4.8 out of 5
4.8 out Of 5
(4.8 out of 5)
4.8 out Of 5
(4.8 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.8 out Of 5
(4.8 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 5
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  1. Apopka, FL
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    May 31, 2011
    Carolyn Dorman
    Apopka, FL
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Warning! This book is very convicting. I read it more slowly than I usually read a book because there is much to absorb and think about. I am reading it because I do want to be an obedient Christian and walk closer with Jesus.

    Great training book!
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Best Non-fiction of the Year
    December 7, 2010
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Costly Grace is by far the deepest, most convicting, thought provoking non-fiction book that I've read this year. I was not convicted just once, but again and again. Page after page, statements were made that pricked my heart, made me pause and pray, moved me to confess my own wrong thinking and wrong actions.

    At the last book club meeting I told my group about this book and it was unanimous that this would be our next book for discussion.

    From the previous statement above I'm sure you are curious as to what exactly did I read that convicted me?

    In the foreword Pastor Warren wrote, "Our lives must change or we have to question if we're really following Jesus. Our only certainty is in Jesus."

    I asked myself has my life changed? I took the question a little deeper, has my life changed to where Jesus would have it to be?

    A second example: "Discipleship may mean sacrificing for others who will have no appreciation for what you've done-much like Jesus who was ridiculed as He died on a cross..... How much of your service to Jesus is based upon what is convenient for you and how much of it is based upon you doing what Jesus tells you to do?" page 41

    This question strikes me at the heart of what I've been doing for many years and that is caring for my dad.

    I've got to get it into my thick head that the work that I have been doing is not just for dad; but for Jesus. And Jesus knows, far greater that I ever could the whys and how longs. This service of care-giving is for a season and it will last as long as He ordains.

    Costly Grace is 28 short chapters, with at the end of each chapter a pause for further reflection, not with questions; but with examples of fallen thinking and kingdom thinking, followed by a your choice question. These are meant to stir our hearts and minds further towards the right way of discipleship.

    I felt the book was straightforward, never did I feel looked down upon in judgmental-ism; instead the authors words were firm, honest, and written in love.

    The words cheap grace was expressed several times in defining the "arrogant presumption that we can receive forgiveness for our sins, yet never abandon our lives to Jesus."

    We have to let go. I know you've heard this before, let go and let God. It is as if we are hanging on to the sides of the swimming pool afraid of the deeper end, we are white knuckling it. Costly Grace means we let go and trust God with it all. All of it. It means we trust Him letting go of those things we thought we needed and that life we thought was safe and fun, and instead live the gut altered radically changed Christ exalting life.

    One of my favorite chapters was on stopping the toxic judgmental view of others that have not accepted Jesus. We are not to look down upon them, nor be critical or hateful. "They are in need of grace just as we are." Amen.

    Thank you to Leafwood Publishers and B and B Media for my free review copy.

  3. Texas
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Grace - the costly gift
    November 7, 2010
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book came to me at such a pivitol moment in my life and I am ever thankful for God's provision of this book and the message hidden between the covers. Costly grace, a picture of what grace truly is - a beautifully tragic gift of Christ that cost everything and should be valued more than any earthly possession. I had not studied Bonhoeffer but had been interested in this book for it's use in home school and personal literature. However, the lessons are so powerful, the truth so evident in the scriptures that this book helped me see a new picture of this wonderful thing we take for granted and do not seem to fully comprehend - GRACE. One is challenged to lay it all down at the cross just as it was once given up for each of us. During the past months my faith has been tried and daily I have had to decide to see the grace of God in the midst of the lies of the enemy and to embrace this grace and claim it as my reality. This book is a book that should be in the hands of every person who claims their identity in Christ, to everyone who takes on the mark of christian, to everyone who talks the talk of christianity. It will change the lives of those truly seeking God's will becuase you can not come face to face with the true magnitude of grace and remain the same. In the light of the cost of grace you begin to handle your life differently - more aware of the costly gift that was lavished on an underserving soul.

    Thank you B&B Communications for this review copy
  4. Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    every Christian needs to read this book
    October 23, 2010
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Bonhoeffer wrote The Cost of Discipleship over 70 years ago. Walker has interpreted Bonhoeffer's work for the present generation.

    Walker's book is penetrating. Almost every paragraph required careful thinking. His writing is not difficult, just very convicting. If you read only a couple of Christian books this year, this needs to be one of them.

    Walker notes that many Christians today end up living a life of quiet desperation, trying harder rather than trusting more. "The essence of discipleship," Walker says, " to know Jesus at a level of intimacy that can only be sustained by his constant presence in our lives." (21)

    Bonhoeffer was concerned about cheap grace, "the arrogant presumption that we can receive forgiveness for our sins, yet never abandon out lives to Jesus." (25) Most Christians go to church a couple of hours a week, go to a Bible study, but rarely do we see radically changed lives. We have allowed cheap grace to be the norm of Christian living today.

    Walker says Jesus' call is a command to abandon our life so he can fill us with his life. It is an intimate journey down a difficult path. We must listen to Jesus and do what he says. Paul says we have the mind of Christ and we access Christ's mind by meditating on God's Word and listening to the Spirit. Jesus calls us to a life of total dependency on him as we are called to do things that are impossible for mere humans.

    Walker is specific with the cost. "The cost of discipleship, then, is this: The way we become like Jesus is through suffering and rejection." (61) "Everything that touches you is designed to de-center you from your self-for-self mentality in order to be recentered in God's self-for-others nature." (196)

    Walker summarizes each penetrating chapter with bullets of kingdom thinking and questions upon which to meditate.

    I'd read Bonhoeffer's book several months ago. It certainly did not have the impact that Walker's book has had. Every Christian should read this book.

    This book was provided for review by The B & B Media Group, Inc.
  5. USA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A Good Value On Costly Grace
    October 21, 2010
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Contemporary. Refreshing. Challenging. Thought-provoking.

    Just a few of the words I use to describe this book which is a contemporary view of Bonhoeffer's book titled The Cost Of Discipleship. Not only is it an updated version of the previous book, but it's easy to read all the while being challenging to your thinking and traditional beliefs. I really enjoyed the casual feel - almost as if in a conversation. And the bullet-pointed questions and thoughts to contemplate at the end of each chapter were incredibly helpful and convicting. Not only does this book give you good thoughts and theology, but great application as well.

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone - young or old. It will be worth your time to read and appreciate the cost of grace in our lives.

    * * * * *

    This review copy was provided by The B&B Media Group.
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