Greg's Reviews > The Cost of Discipleship

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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's review
Sep 27, 12

Read from May 30 to September 23, 2012

Discipleship is hard. Really, really hard. What I liked most about reading this book is that Bonhoeffer doesn't make it easy, like other popular spiritual books (cough The Secret cough cough). You get to work hard, every day, to follow Jesus' example. In exchange, you get Costly Grace. No further reward: no wealth, no happiness, no personal sense of fulfillment, etc. Just grace. It is up to the reader, then, to infer that the value is far greater than any of those other grandiose promises.

I especially enjoyed the chapters on Love Thy Neighbor (forgiveness), and the introductory four or five on Discipleship / Grace. Also liked the section on why it is folly to work to build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth - a common trap, which should be avoided by remembering that 1. only God can do that, and 2. nothing on this world shall last, work for the next eternal one instead.

The author was a huge proponent of the Confessional Church, and uses that perspective to blast tenets of the Reformation ("No salvation by Good Works"), Baptist ("Baptism without confession amounts to bestowing Cheap Grace on others"), and other sects. Much of it may ring true, some of it perhaps not so much.

What I disliked about the book is that it is tediously, needlessly complicated. Much of it reads as hard religious debate, with a fair amount of scripture-wrangling to prove a point. Biblical quotes are flipped and twisted to prove points that should be blatantly obvious from the start. It's dense text, and tough bedtime reading that often put me to sleep.

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