Sunday, July 16, 2017

Books read in 2017: No. 20 -- The Cost of Discipleship

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Started: June 30
Finished: July 14

Notes: Since I just finished reading a biography of Bonhoeffer, a pastor executed for conspiring against Nazi Germany, I thought I would delve into some of his own readings with this, perhaps his best-known work.

Mini review: Not light reading by any means, as this delves pretty deep into Christian theology and what true discipleship means, which in no small way concerns doing God's will and sacrificing oneself for God, but also in helping others. The central portion of this book was my favorite, focusing upon the Sermon on the Mount, which I believe is something many Christians and so-called Christians seem to forget about. I couldn't recommend this one for the casual Christian reader, but for those with want to go deep into religion, this could be right up their alley. Below are some of my favorite quotes from this book.

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

"At the end of a life spent in the pursuit of knowledge Faust has to confess: 'I now 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."

“Jesus will not accept the common distinction between righteous indignation and unjustifiable anger. The disciple must be entirely innocent of anger, because anger is an offence against both God and his neighbour.”

“Luther had said that grace alone can save; his followers took up his doctrine and repeated it word for word. But they left out its invariable corollary, the obligation to discipleship ... The justification of the sinner in the world degenerated into the justification of sin and the world. Costly grace was turned into cheap grace without discipleship.”

“When a man really gives up trying to make something out of himself — a saint, or a converted sinner, or a churchman (a so-called clerical somebody), a righteous or unrighteous man ,… when in the fullness of tasks, questions, success or ill-hap, experiences and perplexities, a man throws himself into the arms of God … then he wakes with Christ in Gethsemane. That is faith, that is metanoia and it is thus that he becomes a man and Christian.”

“The real trouble is that the pure Word of Jesus has been overlaid with so much human ballast — burdensome rules and regulations, false hopes and consolations — that it has become extremely difficult to make a genuine decision for Christ.”

“What are the disciples to do when they encounter opposition and cannot penetrate the hearts of men? They must admit that in no circumstances do they possess any rights or powers over others, and that they have no direct access to them. The only way to reach others is through him in whose hands they are themselves like all other men.”

No comments: