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As I begin my review of Jon Walker‘s Costly Grace, I should say up front that this is my first attempt at a book review.  I was thrilled when I asked to do this.  And since this a blog site devoted to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I will spread out this review over several posts.

Walker’s book is a contemporary view of Bonhoeffer’s classic work, The Cost of Discipleship.

Pastor and author Rick Warren wrote the forward of the book.  Warren and Walker are friends and associates in ministry.   Warren wrote how The Cost of Discipleship helped him to understand that Christian growth occurs through “struggles and storms and seasons of suffering” and most of all, through “obedience to Jesus.”

Warren went on and stated that the reading of The Cost of Discipleship as a young believer influenced him to spend his life “encouraging believers to follow Jesus with purpose, to surrender their lives wholeheartedly to him.” Warren summarizes Bonhoeffer’s theme in The Cost of Discipleship

Surrendered people obey God’s word, even if it doesn’t make sense.  Surrendered hearts show up best up in relationships.  You don’t edge others out, you don’t demand your rights, and you aren’t self-serving when you’re surrendered.  Being surrendered to Jesus costs us just as it cost Jesus when he surrendered himself to the cross for us.

Bonhoeffer made it clear that when we are called to follow him, we are called to come and die.  Jon Walker communicates that timeless message in Costly Grace. Warren continued in the forward…

The book Costly Grace is about the practice of surrender, which is a moment-by-moment, lifelong obedience to Jesus.  We cannot call ourselves disciples of Jesus without this daily obedience to him: “And he said to them all, ‘If you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, take up your cross every day, and follow me'” (Luke 9:23).

The Christian can tend to get watered-down and less risky in our American culture.  Walker takes Bonhoeffer’s “Costly Grace” message and remind us that following Jesus means losing everything.

One more statement from Warren…

I believer 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.

October 2010
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