Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Costly Grace

My oldest is taking a Church History class at our homeschool co-op and I have been reading along myself, learning for the first time about a lot of the great martyrs of the faith. So, when the opportunity to review Costly Grace came along, I was interested.

Costly Grace by Jon Walker is a re-write of the 1937 book, The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer fits in well with our study of the Holocaust this semester also. He opposed Hitler, was sent to prison for his beliefs & anti-Hitler activities and eventually was beheaded by the Nazis for his part in a plot to assassinate Hitler.

The Cost of Discipleship is a very difficult book to understand -hence Jon Walker's rewrite Costly Grace. Costly Grace is not just a "modern rewrite," it goes a bit deeper to explain and analyze parts of Bonhoeffer's book in depth, which is very helpful.

All in all, I wouldn't say Costly Grace is a "fun read." It remains pretty deep. I had to read sections several times to truly grasp the point, but the message is strong and clear. Bonhoeffer wrote his book as a reaction to the complacent German Christians of his day who were accepting and justifying some radical political views into their religious beliefs. I couldn't help but think as I read through this book how relevant his cautions are to us today in our society.

Here's a quote from Bonhoeffer, “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. 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, living and incarnate."

This wasn't an easy book, but it is some good, tough Biblical theology and an admonition to wake up, quit playing church, and live out your faith in a radical way. One more quick quote that kind of struck me. Walker kind of speaks out against the "What Would Jesus Do" way of looking at things. His complaint is that we are not independent of Jesus, like we have to wonder what he would do, He is here, we can just ask Him. "So shouldn't the question be, "Jesus, what do you want me to do? How else would you speak to a living person?" Neat insight!

You can buy Costly Grace for $15.99 and a great 90 Day Devotional Bible study that goes with it for $13.99 - click HERE for a link to the Leafwood Publishers site.

Costly Grace was provided by B & B Media Group and Leafwood Publishers for the purposes of review only.

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