Book Review: The Cost of Discipleship

A classic that most Christians have heard of and probably read is The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book is most famous for his discussion on “cheap grace” and “costly grace”. This launches into a discussion into what it actually means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He suggests that the church of his time (think Nazi Germany) was handing out grace while not requiring any transformation. Essentially, it was freedom to continue living in the life of sin without repercussions. Bonhoeffer believes “cheap grace” is an injustice to grace and to Christ. The opening line of the book reads:

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace.

After defining “cheap grace” and “costly grace”, Bonhoeffer delves into the importance of discipleship in Christianity. His infamous line, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die,” gets at the heart of what being a disciple of Christ means to Bonhoeffer. It is forfeiting life as we know it in order to follow Christ and Christ alone. The second part of the book is an exposition of the Sermon on the Mount. He then closes the book discussing the life of discipleship and how it pertains to the church and the world.

A good (but not great) book; it may seem a bit daunting at being almost three hundred pages. At times, I felt as if I was trudging through the book. It was quite repetitive at times, almost to the point where one could know the next sentence before he got there. The section on “cheap” and “costly” grace, however, makes the book worth the read.

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