Rather than being misery and desperation, therefore, discipleship under the cross is “peace and refreshment for the soul, it is the highest joy.”. It was with this topic that he opened The Cost of Discipleship. We can never appeal to our confession or be saved simply on the ground that we have made it. He had already dealt with it during his pastorate in Spain in the late 1920s. At this time, and especially during the prison years, Bonhoeffer introduced ideas – such as “this-worldliness,” “religionless Christianity,” and especially the “weakness and suffering of God” – that disturbed orthodox believers and were, in turn, used by liberal theologians to claim him as the father of their “progressive” and “death-of-God” movements.1 For some decades their interpretation was widely accepted. The first chapter, entitled “Costly Grace,” caught me hook, line, and sinker. It also allowed him to put into practice his conviction that education for the pastorate should focus not only on the teaching of theological knowledge and preaching skills, but also on spiritual training. Within the first few pages of the first chapter, I fell in love with this book. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. Bonhoeffer devotes two separate chapters to the call to discipleship and, in connection therewith, to the relationship between faith and obedience. His Old Testament studies not only influenced Bonhoeffer’s view of Christian this-worldliness, they also played a part in his demand for a “religionless Christianity.” His use of this term has caused questions among the orthodox and was explained by liberal theologians as referring to a Christianity without Christ and without the supernatural. I think this is a good read because the enemy of cheap grace is so rapid in our churches today. Writers are entitled to their opinions like everyone else, and I'm entitled to dis. Similarly, Christ’s office is not simply to fulfil our religious needs; he is Lord of our entire life. Themes are repeated over and over. We can, Bonhoeffer writes, refuse to bear it: But only to find that we have a still heavier burden to carry – a yoke of our own choosing, the yoke of our self. (Perhaps not more important than the matter itself, but more than bothering about it)” (94). Bonhoeffer tackles such tough issues that were prevalent in Lutheran Germany previous to National Socialist Germany and WWII in his 'Cost of Discipleship.' That place is not at all pleasing to the natural man – for it is the place of the cross of Christ. This book is chock full of wisdom and deeply profound insights, but it took me almost two months to get through it simply because its readability is quite low. Teresa Gurizzian replied on Fri, 05/15/2020 - 17:28 Permalink. Wow. “We confess that, although our Church is orthodox as far as her doctrine of grace is concerned,” he wrote, “we are no longer sure that we are members of a Church which follows the Lord.”. Look, I hold Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the highest regard and respect. Perhaps the situation is different, but principle remains, all christians must live understanding the cross as the most important issue. This book is very complex and takes much contemplation and I don’t know if I agree with all he says. The step into the situation where faith is possible is not an offer which we can make to Jesus, but always his gracious offer to us.” As the work of Christ in the believer, faith and obedience, justification and sanctification are inseparable, and are gifts of grace. Cheap grace, Bonhoeffer writes, established itself in the medieval church. The two go together. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. As for readability, it was a bit of a slog at points as Bonhoeffer's style is quite academic, though his insights are broadly relevant. To do so would be legalistic. What is the cost of discipleship? But this does not mean that we are to disregard the penultimate. Doctrine was more important than life. It therefore implies a complete conversion – a dying of the old nature and a coming to life of the new. I wish I could have read this book in its original language - German - because I'm just just a bit of the brilliance is lost in translation. Of the sections in the book, I enjoyed the most the exposition of the Sermon on the Mount as it was challenging as well as sanctifying. What is cheap grace? Bonhoeffer lived in a time where cheap grace could not be afforded and so do we. Religionless Christianity, then, is for Bonhoeffer a Christianity wherein the believer lives out his faith in the midst of the world. If, for instance, we give away all our possessions, that act is not in itself the obedience he demands. The Cost of Discipleship consists of four parts. They are inextricably linked and the two propositions must therefore always be placed alongside each other: obedience to the call of Christ is the consequence of faith, but it is also its presupposition and condition. The second characteristic is Bonhoeffer’s conviction that in the Bible we are given the actual Word of God and that this Word is reliable. Bonhoeffer's criticism of the church in those days is also mentioned, as well as his view on the suffering of God. It is a call to believers to be disciples of Jesus Christ and to be one faithfully. It is he whom the disciple finds as he lifts up his cross. Dietrich had a strong balance of standing on foundational truths and the deep desire to live out the Christian life through “costly grace.” He was known as a great theological and spiritual leader for Germany during a difficult time for the country. Moreover, as already mentioned, the gospel speaks of the redemption of not only the believer, but of all creation. For many people of the Way, this will likely come as a shock to their system...but it has a very powerful message that all people who claim to follow Jesus should not only hear, but apply to their lives as well. He writes on May 20, 1944: God requires that we should love him eternally with our whole hearts, yet not so as to compromise or diminish our earthly affections, but as a kind of cantus firmus to which the other melodies of life provide the counterpoint. His interest in the Old Testament increased, however, with time. Bonhoeffer combats what he coins "cheap grace" (i.e., grace with no demand, no cost, no cross). Discipleship is a decision. In this connection he issued a criticism of his book The Cost of Discipleship. Two characteristics that stand out in Bonhoeffer’s writings are his Christology and his submission to the authority of the Bible. Perhaps this is because of the translation, or because Mr Bonhoeffer wrote in a different era, but whatever the reason, it's a tough read. I did not take the book to have a missional or evangelistic message (in a direct sense). Bonhoeffer tackles such tough issues that were prevalent in Lutheran Germany previous to National Socialist Germany and WWII in his 'Cost of Discipleship.' “Are we not really under the impression,” he writes, “that there are more important things than bothering about such a matter? To clarify his idea of the relationship between the present world and the world to come, between penultimate and ultimate, Bonhoeffer liked to use the metaphor of polyphony in music. But I have to say, the first part is the best. This book is chock full of wisdom and deeply profound insights, but it took me almost two months to get through it simply because its readability is quite low. Much of Bonhoeffer’s work was collected and edited by his close friend Eberhard Bethge, a former student and the author of the definitive Bonhoeffer biography. He goes on to say that Christians "must not fear men. ", Within the first few pages of the first chapter, I fell in love with this book. In Bonhoeffer's work, he describes the many ways in which the Christian will have to sacrifice himself in order to follow Christ. The centre of Christian life is the cross and the risen Lord. Only in this manner can I speak rightly of the great things which God does in his congregation.Kamphuis, “Christus in het midden,” pp. During this period he published his two most popular writings, The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together. Righteousness and the Kingdom of God on this earth are central there. They are still central today. But this is not from some pussified metrosexual pastor, wearing his tight button-down, throwing around terms like "imitatio christi."
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