Thursday, November 18, 2010COSTLY GRACE
By Jon Walker
A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship
OVERVIEW: 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 challenges 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 published, Jon Walker brings to a new generation and a different social environment the timeless teachings of Jesus that stirred Bonhoeffer to address the "cheap grace" of his time. Grace is a foundational doctrine for Christians, yet one of the most misunderstood. In a fresh engagement with this Christian classic, Walker explains what Bonhoeffer meant when he taught that grace is free but will cost us everything. Focused around a study of the Sermon on the Mount, Costly Grace is an excellent resource for small groups and congregation-wide study.
AUTHOR: Jon Walker has worked closely with Rick Warren for many years, first as a writer, editor at Pastors.com, 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 Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox. His articles have appeared in publications and Web sites around the world.
MY REVIEW: I agree with Rick Warren who said: "I believe Costly Grace may be one of the most important books published during this time of economic uncertainty and world turmoil. It strips discipleship down to its essentials, where we discover again that, when we face uncertainty our only certainty is in Jesus." If you are looking for a book that you can feel comfortable reading--this is not it! When the mailman dropped this book into my mailbox I was deep into reading Eric Metaxas's excellent book, Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. I am still reading it. It is a big book! I paused in my reading of it long enough to read Costly Grace and I am glad I did. Ron Walker gave me new insights into the heart and mind of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Twenty-five out of the twenty-eight chapters are titled: Becoming Like Jesus. We are encouraged to become like Jesus in obedience, suffering, righteousness, loyalty and many other ways. This is tough stuff. You will be made to think and challenged in every way possible. Mark Tabb said, "Costly Grace is an uncomfortable, but oh so necessary, read. Jon Walker not only brings Bonhoeffer's timeless message of costly grace into the twenty-first century, he awakens the soul's desire for intimacy with Christ that will change every single bit and piece of our lives." I recommend this book to every person serious about being a Christian.