The Cost of Discipleship

DISCIPLINE: The Call To Discipleship (Part 1) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

March 9, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship And as he passed by he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the place of toll, and he saith unto him, “Follow me.”  And he arose and followed him. (Mark 2:14) The call goes forth, and is at once followed by the response of obedience.  The response of the disciples is an act of obedience, not a confession of faith in Jesus.  How could the call immediately evoke obedience?  The story is a stumbling-block for the natural reason, and it is no wonder that frantic attempts have been made to separate the two events.  By hook or by crook a bridge must be found between them.  Something must have happened in between, some psychological or historical event.  Thus we get the stupid question: Surely the [...]

DISCIPLINE: Costly Grace (Part 4) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

March 2, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship We Lutherans have gathered like eagles round the carcass of cheap grace, and there we have drunk of the poison which has killed the life of following Christ.  It is true, of course, that we have paid the doctrine of pure grace divine honors unparalleled in Christendom, in fact we have exalted that doctrine to the position of God himself.  Everywhere Luther’s formula has been repeated, but its truth perverted into self-deception.  So long as our church holds the correct doctrine of justification, there is no doubt whatever that she is a justified church!  So they said, thinking that we must vindicate our Lutheran heritage by making this grace available on the cheapest and easiest terms.  To be [...]

DISCIPLINE: Costly Grace (Part 3) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

February 23, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship At the end of a life spent in pursuit of knowledge Faust has to confess: I now do see that we can nothing know. That is the answer to a sum, it is the outcome of a long experience.  But as Kierkegaard observed, it is quite a different thing when a freshman comes up to the university and uses the same sentiment to justify his indolence.  As the answer to a sum it is perfectly true, but as the initial data it is a piece of self-deception.  For acquired knowledge cannot be divorced from the existence in which it is acquired.  The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ.  Such a man knows that the call to discipleship is a gift of [...]

DISCIPLINE: Costly Grace (Part 2) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

February 2, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship When the Reformation came, the providence of God raised Martin Luther to restore the gospel of pure, costly grace.  Luther passed through the cloister; he was a monk and all this was part of the divine plan.  Luther had left all to follow Christ on the path of absolute obedience.  He had renounced the world in order to live the Christian life.  He had learnt obedience to Christ and to his church, because only he who is obedient can believe.  The call to the cloister demanded of Luther the complete surrender of his life.  But God shattered all his hopes.  He showed him through the scriptures that the following of Christ is not the achievement or merit of a select few, but the divine command to all [...]

DISCIPLINE: Costly Grace (Part 1) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

January 19, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church.  We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares.  The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices.  Grace is represented as the church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits.  Grace without price; grace without cost!  The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing.  Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite.  What would [...]

DISCIPLINE: The Cost Of Discipleship, Introduction, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

January 12, 2019

From The Cost of Discipleship 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.  What did Jesus mean to say to us?  What is his will for us today?  How can he help us to be good Christians in the modern world?  In the last resort, what we want to know is not, what would this or that man, or this or that church, have of us, but what Jesus Christ himself wants of us.  When we go to church and listen to the sermon, what we want to hear is his Word – and that not merely for selfish reasons, but [...]