NEW FOREWORD BY ERIC METAXAS
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the most important theologians of the twentieth century, illuminates the relationship between ourselves and the teachings of Jesus in this classic book on living as a Christian.
What can the call to discipleship, the adherence to the word of Jesus, mean today to the businessman, the soldier, the laborer, or the government worker? What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us today? Drawing on the Sermon on the Mount, Dietrich Bonhoeffer answers these timeless questions by providing a seminal reading of the dichotomy between "cheap grace" and "costly grace." "Cheap grace," Bonhoeffer wrote, "is the grace we bestow on ourselves...grace without discipleship....Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the girl which must be asked for, the door at which a man must know....It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life."
The Cost of Discipleship is a compelling statement of the demands of sacrifice and ethical consistency from a man whose life and thought were exemplary articulations of a new type of leadership inspired by the Gospel, and imbued with the spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense of civic duty.
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Not For Most New Believers
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian who was caught in the planning of assassinating Adolf Hitler. Bonhoeffer was executed by the Gestapo by being hung at the Flossenburg Concentration Camp in 1945. He wrote The Cost of Discipleship almost 70 years ago at an age not much younger than I am. My wife read this book back in her Wheaton days, and I thought I should read it since it is considered by many to be one of the most important Christian books ever written. I zipped through Bonhoeffer's Life Together a few years ago, but I was not as motivated to complete The Cost of Discipleship. The Cost of Discipleship is an exposition of what it means to truly follow Christ, and it is not exactly light reading. The book provides us the true meaning of grace, gives an interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and explains what is required of followers of Christ.
"Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves... the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ... Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.... It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life."
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The cost of discipleship
I was so stricken by the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the awe-inspiring and indicting story of heroism, grace and boldness in the face of insurmountable Nazi-Germany circumstances as told in "Bonhoeffer" by Mataxes. Then, when I read this book by Bonhoeffer himself, it clearly shows his brilliance and determination, his grasp of the Word of God, and reflects his clarion beliefs. Reading this, I see the constitution on which he stands, and get a glimpse at the foundation of his determination and tenacity that drove him to stand up and fight for right. This is simply amazing! An inspiration to study.