Cheap Grace, Again

You don’t need me to tell you why this famous passage from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s great work, Nachfolge (“Following”–called The Cost of Discipleship in the first English edition), pertains here and now:

Is the price that we are paying today with the collapse of the organized churches anything else but an inevitable consequence of grace acquired too cheaply? We gave away preaching and sacraments cheaply; we performed baptisms and confirmations; we absolved an entire people, unquestioned and unconditionally; out of human love we handed over what was holy to the scornful and unbelievers. We poured out rivers of grace without end, but the call to rigorously follow Christ was seldom heard. . . .

. . . It could not happen any other way but that possessing cheap grace would mislead weaklings to suddenly feel strong, yet in reality, they had lost their power for obedience and discipleship. The word of cheap grace has ruined more Christians than any commandment about works.

4 Responses to “Cheap Grace, Again”

  1. Abigail

    JUST translated this today. And was thinking how pertinent it is!

  2. Jim

    Do you really think that ritual and doctine trump grace…pardon the pun?

  3. Jim

    The point of the question is that we are not in control and that grace prevails regardless of our fallen human idiosyncrasies. No matter how wrong we get it, it works out in the end. Would it not be better of us to rely and focus on the application of grace as an inclusive agent rather than the administration of the institution and it’s ordnances. We are Christians by grace and the indwelling presence of the holy spirit, not by church governance.


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