A New Bonhoeffer Generation
We’ve found that the focus on following Jesus in The Cost of Discipleship (by Dietrich Bonhoeffer) is striking a cord with a new generation of American pastors and ministry leaders. They have grown up in the era of church with all the bells and whistles. No matter what these leaders have done, there’s always some church doing it bigger and better down the street. They have felt the pressure to “put on a show” every Sunday morning, but they are sick and tired of having their ministry judged by others (and themselves!) according to the rise and fall of attendance and how much money people put in the offering plate each week.
This is an excerpt from The Discipleship Gospel (available in eBook and paperback). Get a discount by using code ‘TBP’ at checkout when you order here.
We see a new generation of women and men in the church who are repenting of preaching a cheap-grace, non-discipleship gospel that avoids calling people to follow Jesus and rarely mentions the cost of discipleship. We see this new generation of leaders in our work with The Bonhoeffer Project. They are learning to call people to follow Jesus no matter the cost, without conditions, without excuses, until the end—just as Bonhoeffer did.
We must include the call to follow Jesus in our preaching of the gospel. When we do, it’s a full-frontal attack on the false promises associated with non-discipleship gospels. It helps people grasp the fact that salvation is not a one-time decision, but rather a call to live a new life. It also gives them a sense that there is a cost associated with believing the gospel, a cost they need to count according to Jesus. The church needs to recover this essential element of the gospel in its preaching. But for this to happen fully, we need to restore our understanding of repentance and belief, which is what we’re focusing on in the coming weeks of the blog.