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The Cost of Discipleship (1937)

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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7,02338956 (4.33)33
What can the call to discipleship, the adherence to the word of Jesus, mean today to the businessman, the soldier, the laborer, or the aristocrat? 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."… (more)

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» See also 33 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
This title was given to me as part of a curriculum for a Christian Leadership College. I found it challenging to read and stopped and started many times. Written by a highly educated German, the language was lofty/scholarly and unusual having to be translated into English. I found the biography of the author (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) at the beginning intriguing -- he was a man of conviction in a time when such views and voiced opinions could get you killed (WWII in Nazi Germany). But that made his faith stronger and his convictions more powerful. He did not back down when given a choice, he remained in the center of conflict, proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. He was executed for treason to his homeland of Germany shortly before the war ended.

I have to confess I did not read the whole book. By the time I got to the second part about the Sermon on the Mount I was exhausted and wanted to move on to something else. There was a lot of information there, good information, but I had to read fast to not get bogged down. I identified several major themes in the first part of the book -- The Authority of Jesus -- The Call of Discipleship -- Obedience & Faith -- Costly vs Cheap Grace -- Discipleship is a Daily Choice

I will have to revisit this title again and contemplate its deep truths.


Therefore, wherever it pleases God to put man in this world, the Christian must be ready for martyrdom and death. It is only in this way that man learns faith. (p24)

If you dismiss the word of God's command, you will not receive his word of grace. (p67)

...only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes. (p63)

What had happened to all those warning of Luther's against preaching the gospel in such a manner as to make men rest secure in their ungodly living? (p54)

...Jesus must therefore make it clear beyond all doubt that the "must" of suffering applies to his disciples no less than to himself. (p87)

The call of Christ, his baptism, sets the Christian in the middle of the daily arena against sin and the devil. Every day he encounters new temptations, and every day he must suffer anew for Jesus Christ's sake. (p90)

The acts of the early Christian martyrs are full of evidence which shows how Christ transfigures for his own the hour of their mortal agony by granting them the unspeakable assurance of his presence. (p91) ( )
  pjburnswriter | Aug 16, 2020 |
This is the first thing I have read that is theologically Lutheran. It is interesting, but not compelling. I'm glad I read it, but did not come away with much. ( )
  JohnKaess | Jul 23, 2020 |
While there is much to admire in this scholarly book, this collection of sermons didn't really let me into the heart of its author. It was hard to shake the feeling that this makes it hard for someone used to the more modern, personal style of preaching, and this is why it took me over a year to finish it. I know it isn't a biography of Bonhoeffer, who was active in the resistance to Hitler and ultimately executed by him during the war, but his character and indomitability just peek through in glimpses. I highlighted a number of passages which made an impression on me for his conviction of the Christian message which he backs up by citing specific passages out of the Bible. ( )
  rmagahiz | Jul 9, 2020 |
Originally translated as 'The Cost of Discipleship'; A classic text on nature of Christian discipleship from the celebrated German Lutheran theologian.
  ajgoddard | Jun 4, 2020 |
This was a tough read. Not that the translation from the German was obtuse. No, what Herr Bonhoeffer had to say was quite clear. The difficulty arose from my conscience when Bonhoeffer talked about what is and isn't following Jesus. Like many, I like to think that since I trust Jesus to forgive my sins, the sins I do commit really don't matter. That just isn't so. As the book points out, when I sin, I stop following Jesus. That, friends, was a scary concept. I was resting comfortably on my salvation and to have that pulled out from under me was very troubling. So much so that the first time I attempted to read this tome I ended up putting it aside. This year I attempted it again and was able to handle it better. It's not that I'm less of a sinner now, but rather that confronting the harsh reality of the law forced me to take a look at God's grace. I realize that the forgiveness that Jesus offers is for the unfaithful disciple as well as for those who don't know better. Which is not to excuse my failures and rebellions. I certainly deserve to rot in hell for all eternity. I'm grateful that I don't have to, that my eternal life depends on God's mercy rather than my obedience. This is a book written for Christians, so if you believe that God is willing to forgive you for Jesus' sake, then go ahead and read this book. I'm putting it on my shelf, where it's ready to be read again. If you don't believe, go read the Bible instead.
--J. ( )
1 vote Hamburgerclan | Apr 8, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (53 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bonhoeffer, Dietrichprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Booth, IrmgardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuller, Reginald HoraceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Metaxas, EricForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michael, PaulNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Niebuhr, ReinholdForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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[Bonhoefer, Introduction:] "Revival of church life always brings in its train a richer understanding of the Scriptures. Behind all the slogans and catchwords of ecclesiastical controversy, necessary though they are, there arises a more determined quest for him who is the sole object of it all, for Jesus Christ himself."
"When Christ calls a man he bids him come and die."
“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”
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What can the call to discipleship, the adherence to the word of Jesus, mean today to the businessman, the soldier, the laborer, or the aristocrat? 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."

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