A Christian Viewpoint

Seen as a classic of Christian thought, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ is one of the most difficult reads I’ve encountered, featuring the best breakdown of the Sermon on the Mount I’ve ever read. The first 5 chapters had me repenting every turn of the page, my intellect dwarfed, what I believed I knew from the word ‘Discipleship’ has been blown out of the water, giving an entire new definition and outlook when considering scripture such as Matthew 16:24Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also](AMP).

The book deals with the terminology of what Biblical ‘Grace’ is, anyone who is familiar with the doctrines of Christianity know that grace is featured quite predominantly and is at the centre of Christianity, it was Christ’s livelihood. Bonhoeffer, who lived in the early 20thCentury, was a respected theologian and Pastor in Germany when the Third Reich, led by Adolf Hitler, rose to power. Bonhoeffer stood up to Hitler, was locked away into a concentration camp before eventually being executed before the end of the Second World War. He died a martyr.  This book was his life, his words over the page weren’t just theories in which he had meditating on scripture, he lived it out.

He approaches the book breaking down what he sees in society as a large amount of ‘cheap grace’ and the difference between that and ‘costly grace’. One of the quotes of the book which is consistently quoted (and a favourite of mine) is: “Cheap grace is 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.”

The first sentence of that quote really resonated with me, concerning the sinner’s prayer and the way it is worded. This book heavily touched me. Later on a breakdown of what the body of Christ is called to do in this world is thoroughly detailed. The book is weighty, but is good meat for your spirit. This is a must read for any Christian who wants to delve into the meaning of following Christ. Discipleship is a lifestyle.

I was in awe of the prelude which was included in this version of the book as well, a general overview of his life outside of the cover title was touched upon, how when he was imprisoned in the concentration camps, the guards would apologise to him every night when putting him back in his cell, he was a gentle man and even the Nazi guards following orders, felt bad for keeping him in their captive.

This is one of my favourite books and would recommend it to anyone, this is true Christianity, I must read this again, it is a timeless classic from an iconic figure of 20thCentury Christianity. It’s brilliant. A must have in your collection.

Quotes:

God will not ask us in that day whether we were good Protestants, but whether we have done His will”

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

“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.”