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The Cost of Discipleship

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Dense, heavy, and occasionally antiquated theology but filled with brilliant, inspirational insights ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
When you start to read this book, you'll soon learn that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an amazing man. This novel includes in the introduciton a short biography of his life. If you read only one part of this book, read that--but, do read the rest. Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains that to be a disciple of Christ is costly. Grace is free to us because we are given it by Christ. It is costly, because it cost Christ His life.

Here's a bit from it (Spoiler? Is there spoiling when it's laying out the gospel? Just to be sure, I'll let you know this is in the 2nd to last chapter, so maybe you want to wait until you get there if you're reading it):

" But we believe and are well assured, "that he which began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1.6). In that day Christ will show us the good works of which we were unaware. While we knew it not, we gave him food, drink and clothing and visited him, and while we knew it not we rejected him. Great will be our astonishment in that day, and we shall then realize that it is not our works which remain, but the work which God has wrought through us in his good time without any effort of will and intention on our part (Matt. 25.31 ff). Once again we simply are to look away from ourselves to him who has himself accomplished all things for us and to follow him.

The believer will be justified, the justified will be sanctified and the sanctified will be saved in the day of judgment. But this does not mean that our faith, our righteousness and our sanctification (in so far as they depend on ourselves) could be anything but sin. No, all this is true only because Jesus Christ has become our "righteousness, and sanctification and redemption, so he that glorieth let him glory in the Lord" (1 Cor. 1.30). " ( )
1 vote erinjamieson | Jan 3, 2013 |
I found this book difficult to read. This is more a reflection on my state of mind and religious commitment than of the author and what he wrote. I stuck it out to the end because it's a Christian classic written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor, who gave his life when he elected to remain in Germany when Hitler came to power. ( )
  MrDickie | Jul 1, 2012 |
Reading "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
  gspostma | Sep 2, 2011 |
"Suffering, then, is the badge of true discipleship," Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in his classic "The Cost of Discipleship." "The disciple is not above his master." This sentiment lies at the heart of an exploration of the nature of mature Christian faith: accepting God's grace requires a lifetime of subsequent sacrifice, instructed by Christ's teachings and exemplified by Christ's death on the cross.

Centering on a detailed analysis of the Sermon on the Mount, Bonhoeffer explores the shape and scope of this life of suffering and sacrifice for the mature Christian. Consistently, he argues that true faith is the harder path, not the easier, and that it requires both the sacrifice of consistently serving others and the burden of vigilant self-assessment. Anything short of this, Bonhoeffer insists, is cheap grace and thus no grace at all.

As with his other writings, it is impossible to read "The Cost of Discipleship" without noting the overtones of his political struggles against the Nazi regime. Despite several opportunities to leave Germany, Bonhoeffer decided to maintain his Christian witness from within his homeland, eventually becoming heavily involved in the Nazi resistance, which led to his arrest and his execution.

Knowledge of Bonhoeffer's martyrdom, as well as his struggle to justify his political resistance, including the consideration of assassinating Hitler, make this book particularly fascinating. There are no easy answers to put faith in practice. While Bonhoeffer finds confidence in the promise of the Gospel, to the extent that there should be no anxiety for the Christian life, he also recognizes the significant obstacles offered by a violent dominant culture and ruling class and the smug piety of those who misunderstand and misappropriate religion.

In some ways, the book is poignant, not only for its persistent and earnest search for understanding, but for the way in which it points to the rationale for Bonhoeffer's own death. If the true cost of Christian discipleship is to suffer, the ultimate suffering is death. Even without this overtone, the insistent call to refuse cheap grace in pursuit of a fuller appreciation of Christ's teaching is engaging. ( )
1 vote ALincolnNut | Aug 22, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dietrich Bonhoefferprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Booth, IrmgardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuller, Reginald HoraceTranslatorsecondary 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."
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"When Christ calls a man he bids him come and die."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684815001, Paperback)

"When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." With these words, in The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave powerful voice to the millions of Christians who believe personal sacrifice is an essential component of faith. Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor and theologian, was an exemplar of sacrificial faith: he opposed the Nazis from the first and was eventually imprisoned in Buchenwald and hung by the Gestapo in 1945. The Cost of Discipleship, first published in German in 1937, was Bonhoeffer's answer to the questions, "What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us to-day?" Bonhoeffer's answers are rooted in Lutheran grace and derived from Christian scripture (almost a third of the book consists of an extended meditation on the Sermon on the Mount). The book builds to a stunning conclusion: its closing chapter, "The Image of Christ," describes the believer's spiritual life as participation in Christ's incarnation, with a rare and epigrammatic confidence: "Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord," Bonhoeffer writes, "we recover our true humanity, and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with the whole human race." --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:56 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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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