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COST OF DISCIPLESHIP, THE Paperback – Sep 1 1995

4.7 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster (April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684815001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684815008
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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"When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." With these words, in The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave powerful voice to the millions of Christians who believe personal sacrifice is an essential component of faith. Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor and theologian, was an exemplar of sacrificial faith: he opposed the Nazis from the first and was eventually imprisoned in Buchenwald and hung by the Gestapo in 1945. The Cost of Discipleship, first published in German in 1937, was Bonhoeffer's answer to the questions, "What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us to-day?" Bonhoeffer's answers are rooted in Lutheran grace and derived from Christian scripture (almost a third of the book consists of an extended meditation on the Sermon on the Mount). The book builds to a stunning conclusion: its closing chapter, "The Image of Christ," describes the believer's spiritual life as participation in Christ's incarnation, with a rare and epigrammatic confidence: "Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord," Bonhoeffer writes, "we recover our true humanity, and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with the whole human race." --Michael Joseph Gross


Without a doubt, the book that has most changed my life is Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship. It is incredible. I first read it at Bible college and then read it again three years ago. Bonhoeffer writes about cheap grace - how we can make the gospel what people want to hear so that we get a bigger response- and how we must fight against that. As an evangelist, I can sometimes feel the temptation to give a softer message to get more people responding, but actually we need to be true to the message that belongs to God. You can change the style, but don't change the substance. -- Gavin Calver Christianity Magazine, Jan 2016 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I agree with the others who have praised this book; even their minor criticisms I share. I have read it through very carefully twice (once in my 30's; later in my 50's) and have moderated a Sunday School discussion class who took on Bonhoeffer and read him very carefully and critically against the Bible. Bonhoeffer (who, amazingly, wrote this book at age 31) did his Lord proud.
This is not an easy book to read. It is meat, not milk. Yes, you do have to be a saint, i.e. a believer, i.e. a disciple in order to be a Christian. Having faith means being faithful. Having faith means bearing fruit. Having faith means being a disciple. Calling Jesus, "Lord" means obeying Him. Jesus, not Bonhoeffer, not the RC Church nor Luther nor Calvin nor whoever else may "speak to you" is the One Who says, "Take up your cross and follow me." Pastor Bonhoeffer leads the reader through some fairly profound meditations on discipleship. One does not simply read this book as though it were a magazine story; he must read and re-read and re-read again passage after passage as he works his way through it.
If you are quite comfortable in knowing you are "saved by grace through faith," and freed from the tyranny of the works of the flesh and the Law, wonderful. But ask yourself whether Jesus suffered and died on the cross just so you could be comfortable in your "faith." If it occurs to you that there may be more to faith than creeds, confessions, and church attendance, that you were given the gift - and gifts - of the Spirit for some purpose other than as a voucher for your personal ticket to Heaven, you may find this book very helpful. In any event, should you read it, it will challenge you in many marvellous ways.
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Format: Paperback
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one who knew of that which he spoke when dealing with the issue of cheap grace versus costly grace. Bonhoeffer's commitment to the principles of his vocation and being cost him his life - executed in the closing days of World War II, Bonhoeffer walked a dangerous path through exercising his vocation faithfully in the midst of the twin evils of warfare and Nazi domination of Germany.
Bonhoeffer's life, from the earliest days, probably seemed like it was set on an idyllic path - the son of a professional family with strong roots in a prosperous and civilised culture, Bonhoeffer would seem to have 'had it made'. His early days in school showed him to be a minister and academic of great promise. However, his experiences at Union Seminary in New York City, an academic environment very different from the German academy, and at the Abyssian Baptist Church, an African-American congregation, vastly different from his Germanic Lutheran background, prepared a way for Bonhoeffer to expand beyond his upbringing and learning to become someone striving to find God in all people, and the will of God in all that he did.
The subject of this book is grace - too often, in Bonhoeffer's day and our own, people seem to look at grace as something free, instead of something freely offered. Bonhoeffer points out that the call of God and the gift of God's grace is not to be taken lightly - 'the call to follow Jesus always leads to death'. This may seem an unusual call in our day; after all, the more prosperous of our churches would seem to espouse a conventionally respectable lifestyle (far from the 'death' Bonhoeffer speaks about) as the reward for following God.
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Format: Paperback
Staggering in its theological depth and its unflinching call for the crucifixion of self, "The Cost of Discipleship" is a true classic, an essential book for any Christian library.
That Bonhoeffer truly lived what he wrote is reflected in his martyr's death at the hands of the Nazis mere days before the liberation of Germany. Given plenty of chances to leave the country, he instead stayed, claiming that the raising up of pastors in Germany during the time of war was essential to the nation's future.
But back to the book...
"Cost of Discipleship" is a challenging call to more radical discipleship. The famous line from this book, "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die," is the bedrock upon which Bonhoeffer bases his entire premise. That Christ paid a penalty for our sins that cannot be acquired by any means except through His grace and faith in Him alone seems like a given in the Christian life. But Bonhoeffer renews a concept that was under attack in his day by the growing liberal theology: following Christ means dying to self. In the shadow of the rise of psychology that simultaneously arrived with the deconstructionist theology, the idea that must one abandon self to Christ seemed outdated, but Bonhoeffer stayed the course. Dying to self flew in the face of what the intelligentsia were espousing and what the general populace were beginning to believe.
Bonhoeffer also broke with his Lutheran predecessor, Martin Luther, who once said, "Sin boldly, but love God more boldly still." What this book asks is a consideration of the cost Christ paid for us on the cross. What comes with knowledge of this is the realization that to take sin lightly is to trample on the very blood of Christ.
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