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

Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship
Book 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.
Christianity Today named Bonhoeffer's book one of the ten most influential books of the twentieth century, but although the book still has a loyal readership, it has not been adequately viewed through the eyes of the twenty-first century, until now.
Costly Grace, Walker, who worked with Rick Warren for several years and recently authored Growing with Purpose (Zondervan, 2009), writes a book that will challenge contemporary teachings and lifestyles.
Grace is a foundational doctrine for Christians, yet it is one of the most misunderstood. Bonhoeffer watched as many used the doctrine of grace as an excuse to do whatever they wanted, and in response, he wrote his classic work on what it truly means to follow Jesus. We cheapen grace, he declared, when we use it to compromise our behavior or to lower the standards of God s Word. In a modern retelling of this Christian classic, Walker explains what Bonhoeffer meant when he taught that grace is free but will cost us everything.

My Review:  My husband "found" Dietrich  Bonhoeffer about 3 years ago.  Ever since then we've read everything that has been written about him.  So, when I was offered the chance to read the manuscript of COSTLY GRACE by Jon Walker I jumped at the chance to learn more of Bonhoeffer's life.  
In COSTLY GRACEA Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Grace Bonhoeffer challenges christians!  In the very first sentence of the book "Dietrich Bonhoeffer declared cheap grace the deadly enemy of our church in 1937.  'We are fighting today for costly grace,' he said.  We are in that same fight today."  With this opening statement I was stricken in my heart to find out what is cheap grace?  "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolutions without personal confession, says Bonhoeffer.  'Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."  Oh.the.truth.hurts!
As I read this book I wanted my heart to be cleansed.  I don't want cheap grace but costly grace because it costs my Savior everything!  
When I got to the middle of the book on page 123 "Is It Ever Appropriate To Tell A Lie?"  I was curious to know and was not disappointed to find that Bonhoeffer states, "The issue is not whether a particular lie is more forgivable, the issue is that we all need to be forgiven.  A lie is a lie, and a lie is a sin, and that brings us short of God's standards."  Bonhoeffer tells us that if we're looking for a way to make lying acceptable we will BUT if "we look to Jesus, we see our sins are forgiven, so stop arguing about the acceptability any form of lie." 
As I read this chapter I was reminded of a short story that Corrie ten Boom told of her niece during this terrible regime:  She told of how the her niece and her husband taught their children that lying was NEVER acceptable and if you always told the truth God would make a way.  The story continues with Corrie telling of how the  Nazis would go house to house looking for men and teenage boys to capture.  Her niece and husband and their children, two of which were teenage boys, were home when they heard the terrible knocking of the Nazis on their door.  Her niece went to open the door but before she did her husband and her two sons hid in a hiding place that was a trap door under the kitchen table with a throw rug on top.  As the Nazis stomped in guns pointed at the girls, one of the soldiers yelled at Corrie's young grandniece, "Are there any men hiding here?" Her grandniece was terribly frightened but she would only tell the truth.  She replied while nervously giggling, "Yes, they are under the table."  The guards looked under the table and saw nothing.  Thinking it was a joke all the guards began laughing and left the house.  Corrie's nephew and his boys were saved that day by truth!
This is a FANTASTIC 5 star read!  Not a fantasy story but the truth of God's Word is revealed!  This is one of THE best books I have read that opened my eyes to God's will for us....COSTLY GRACE requires obedience to the ONE who loves us most!  
If you don't want cheap grace but costly grace then this is the read for you!  Bonhoeffer will pierce your heart with his timely words for such a time as this.  Be encouraged in the Lord!

*I reviewed this book for B & B Media Group, Inc*

About the Author: An interview with Jon Walker
Question --- Give us a quick synopsis of 'Growing with Purpose.' Where did you come up with the idea?
Answer --- This book grew out of my frustration at trying to live the Christian life and constantly failing. I'd try to 'be holy as our Heavenly Father is holy' (1 Peter 1:16), and some days I'd feel I was doing pretty well on this Jesus-walk, and the other days I was a complete failure. I set out to determine the 'I' quotient - what else do I have to do - only to discover that I couldn't do a thing except depend upon God to develop holiness in me. His grace is the most powerful tool for change in our lives; we're saved by grace, but we're also transformed by grace. I accepted that God saved me, but I still had an independent streak in me, where I believed I could then work myself into saintliness.
Question --- If I read 'The Purpose Driven Life," why read your book? In what way does it press further into the Purpose Driven Life?
Answer --- In "The Purpose Driven Life," Rick does an incredible job of teaching that God created and shaped us for a purpose. But, as I began to 'grow in purpose,' I found myself stumbling in the little things; it was like, 'What good is it if I tell the whole world they were created in the image of God, but then I don't treat my own children as if they are unique creations of God.' So I had to grow within my purpose, and as God taught me, he kept emphasizing that the same Spirit at work in me is the same Spirit at work in others (James 4:5). It forced me to focus on the truth that the Spirit God placed within us both is constantly at work, washing our windows and sweeping out the cobwebs, changing us for God's glory and his purpose. So my book drives deeper into grace and the role of the Holy Spirit in pursuing our purpose. Rick teaches that in "The Purpose Driven Life;" I'm just too dense to get it at first and I know there are others who have the same 'density propensity' when it comes to their walk with God. Hopefully, my book will help them see how the presence of the Holy Spirit is part of what connects us within God's family.
Question --- You mention that the faith walk can become tedious and stale. How would you recommend preventing this?
Answer --- My friend, Steve Pettit, says that we have a tendency to focus on the how of Christianity, and although well-intentioned, it causes us to lose sight of the "wow!"--that the Holy Spirit lives within us as proof (Paul refers to it as a down-payment) that we are infinitely valuable to God and that he is intimately available in our lives. Wow! If we can remember the 'wow!,' then our walk will remain fresh and exciting. As Eugene Peterson suggests in "The Message," we'll be constantly saying, "What's next, Papa?"
Question --- What are some simple steps anyone can take in order to establish a richer, deeper, more satisfying relationship with Christ?
Answer --- The most important step is that we've got to get to the place where we say 'I can't; only God can.' But this is the step we most often miss: we race past the 'I can't' and then get stuck in a cycle of following steps toward intimacy with Christ without ever growing because our pride is still in the way.
The 'step' that Jesus constantly encouraged was to be dependent on God. We have to get to a place where we really believe we have no other option: 'God, I have no where else to go. I can't even depend on myself. I can't; only you can.' Like the widow at midnight, we have to stay there, refusing to leave step #1 until our 'I can't' becomes a faithful certainty that 'God can.' That's when God will open the door to greater intimacy.
Question --- Was 'Growing with Purpose' difficult to write in any aspects?
Answer --- It was extraordinarily humbling to try to interact with God on what each message should be because my pride kept getting in the way. For instance, I kept wanting to really show off my writing talents, but then God would seem to say, 'Keep this one very simple.' Like the Apostle Paul, I was forced to agree with God that the transformation of a heart - including my own - would not result from the eloquence of my writing, but from the power of the Holy Spirit working through the words.
In addition, I knew that every time I would write on a particular aspect of the Christian walk, I would be tested on that, and it was painful to face those tests and downright humiliating to fail so many of them. But, then, God would pick me up and say, "See, this is why I offer Grace; you are still my beloved."
Question --- Who are some of the writers who have influenced your writing style?
Answer --- Eugene Peterson, Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, Walter Wangerin, Max Lucado, King David, The Apostles John and Paul. The music of Rich Mullins, John Lennon, Jars of Clay and Relient K; their creativity inspires my creativity.
Question --- Could you give us a preview of what's next for you?
Answer --- I'm working on a project related to "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonheoffer. He wrote about "cheap grace" in 1937 as he witnessed the winds of war sweep upon Germany and he struggled within a church that had disconnected belief from behavior.
We live in a similar time, when the things we've traditionally seen a stable and secure are crumbling and the church is discovering the current disconnect between belief and behavior. In these hard times, I believe God is calling believers to make an authentic assessment of how their beliefs connect--or remain disconnected--to the decisions and actions they make each day.
Jon's Bio:
Jon Walker has served with Rick Warren, 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 the Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox. His articles have appeared in publications and websites around the world.
Jon's Blog:

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