Costly Grace | Review & Notes

Rob Schenck. Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, Hope, and Love. Harper, 2018. (324 pages)


Review


I really love this book, for several reasons.

First, the question that is American Evangelicalism–what it has become, and why it continues in the form that it does–is arguably at its most challenging moment in the movement’s history. The future of the religion is weighing in the balance, being itself consternation for its adherents, ammunition for its critics, and fodder for religious historians who pontificate future projections. This is quite important, for as we all know, Evangelicalism is profoundly influential to the body politic of the United States. What happens to the future of this faith is in many ways determinative of what happens in our country as a whole.

Second, Schenck’s memoir-style storytelling provides an incredible “behind-the-scenes,” viewpoint of one man’s trek into, through, and from a particular brand of American Evangelicalism. Costly Grace is an honest look at the inner workings of a religious person’s convictions, rationales, hopes, dreams, and most importantly, fears. It is from that “inside” perspective that we understand a bit better what is really going on with the religiously devout in our country.

Third, and most compelling about this read, is the reckoning that Schenck has with his inner demons and angels, and the strength of his refined convictions that emerge through (from?) it all. Though it takes years, Schenck finds a renewed faith, one that is paradoxically and painfully both familiar and foreign. It is, in essence, a Christianity that is quite easily confessed, but so difficult to be realized, especially when veiled behind the veneer of Americanism. Reborn, as it were, Schenck renews his covenant with his God, with his Christ, and rediscovers the core tenets of his faith once again.

I really commend this read to those who are searching for a better understanding of American Evangelicalism, and who may be wishing for a more authentic and humanitarian expression of this Christian sect. Reading this book will help you realize that religious evolution is possible. And, it will lay out for you, in story form, the intricacies and nuances of the various avenues by which that change comes.

Who knows? It may even provide a little hope, a little more compassion, and a little more grace.


Notes


Cheap grace is the mortal enemy of our Church. Our struggle today is for costly grace. – DIETRICH BONHOEFFER, THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP

Preface

Mine is not a story of faith discovered and then abandoned–a familiar trope. No, I’m determined to always be an evangelical, now and until the day I die. The gospel, the evangel, the Good News of God’s generous and permanent love for all of humanity, is at the heart of what I believe. I remain joyfully and with great conviction a believer in this evangel. (xiv)

Later, my doctoral work focused on Bonhoeffer’s theological insights. I found I could not master the German necessary for that level of research, so instead I looked at the evangelical church during the time in which he lived. What I discovered shocked me but also completely reorganized my thinking. I saw in those times a reflection of our own. My thesis is simple: for American evangelicals, the lines between theology and politics have become blurred, eroding the boundaries that distinguish the spiritual from the temporal, generating confusion among many believers about their Christian and political identities, exposing them to the temptation of political idolatry. What had happened to the German Christians was happening to us. (xvi)

Mine has been an odyssey of hope found, then lost, but rediscovered. In recounting my modern-day pilgrimage, during a time of great spiritual pain and national discord, I hope to give others reason to believe–maybe for the first time, or, after faith has been lost, to believe again. (xvi)

PART I My First Conversion

1 Coming to Jesus

Untethered to a synagogue or religious study, classic rebels without causes, we experienced what I now realize was spiritual hunger. (7)

2 Faith of Our Fathers

Why did I need it? I couldn’t answer that. What I did know was that I wanted it more than I had ever wanted anything in my life. At that point I was too exhausted to explain. The extremes of emotions buffeting me ranged from the deep joy of my time at church to the pain of this confrontation. (16)

3 End Times

4 Pastor and Father

This was as close as I would ever come to being present at the creation, and I felt the radiance of pure love: God’s love, mine for Cheryl, and our love for this marvelous new person. (37)

5 Missionary Evangelist

Most people think of ministers as faith filled and dutifully obedient, no matter their circumstances, but that wasn’t my experience, nor would it be for most of the men of God I would come to know and work with throughout my career. We all have breaking points, and clergy are no exception. … One well-known evangelist friend who landed in the hospital due to exhaustion recounted to me how he lay in his bed moaning, “Why, God? Why? I’m doing everything you told me to do, and I end up here?” Then he said he heard a voice from heaven thunder, “My servant, you’re full of shit.” It was his rather unconventional way of describing both his moment of reckoning and his irreverent humanity. (55)

Evangelicalism has always been built around personalities… (59)

Los Pepenadores

Freddy persisted and told me I could not walk away from this scene of anguish without doing something about it. (64)

7 Our President, Our Prophet

When Reagan conflated biblical theology and Republican politics, the Bible and the GOP platform, my own world expanded immeasurably. All of my work had been geared to serving the Lord, but there was another force within me, a personal ambition, that had not yet found its full expression. I liked the idea of moving a large audience. The accolades, the occasional applause, the fund-raising results after a missionary appeal–all quantified my success. Reagan validated all these drives by showing they served a greater good for the nation. I had once wanted to be like Billy Graham, preaching Jesus to the multitudes and moving them to the altar rails for salvation. Now I wanted to be like both Graham and Reagan, moving those same people from the altar rails into the voting booths. (75)

8 FaithWalk

Part II My Second Conversion

9 Joining the Movement

Paul wasn’t arrested that day, but I was–and that arrest was sacramental in tis importance. It was another baptism, and I was converted. (96)

10 Spring of Life

These were two different forces at play: both potent, both playing beneath the surface to become a constant undercurrent in our marriage. The reasonable man I wanted to be, driven by a kind of gender-neutral egalitarianism, would time and again give way to the patriarchal fundamentalist forming in my psyche. (101)

Paul and I now played leading roles on the national stage. The price was high: we were in deep legal trouble, spending enormous sums we didn’t have. The emotional toll on our families was also enormous, and there were days I wondered if it was all worth it. Still, we soldiered on. We were getting attention for a noble cause. I could announce a news conference, often with only hours’ notice, and see twelve trucks with satellite dishes roll into the church parking lot. But I was blind to the human implications; I ignored the anguished expressions on women’s faces as they tried to enter the clinic for this procedure and had to face our censure. I ignored how much I was losing my perspective on what was truly important. (112)

11 Conventions and Courtrooms

There is a thin line between acts of demonstration, which are universally banned in courtrooms on every level of government to protect the integrity of justice from the intimidation of the mob, and the free exercise of religion guaranteed int he Constitution. (122)

When I returned home, Cheryl was exhausted from worry. … I emphasized that what we were doing was necessary and important work. She found my political activism at times deeply distressing, but she wanted to be supportive. Still, she couldn’t understand why a social cause was more important than our family’s well-being. I never had a good answer for that. (122)

I happen to believe very deeply in the worth of each individual human being, born or unborn. I believe in teaching our kids the difference between what’s wrong and what’s right, teaching them respect for hard work and to love their neighbors. I believe that America will always have a special place in God’s heart, as long as He has a special place in ours. – George H. W. Bush

12 “A Mighty Threshing Instrument”

For me, the gay issue was more complex. I knew a gay classmate in high school and had contact with gay people throughout my Christian life. I held to a quiet, internal conviction that God loved all people–all sinners–and I was one as much as anyone else. How could one category of sinner e any worse than another? But that notion wouldn’t fly in the climate in which I now ministered, so I capitulated to the zeitgeist and railed against Clinton for both his horrifying attack on the unborn and pro-lifers and his infatuation with all things homosexual. (130)

The, on Wednesday, March 10, 1993, an abortion doctor was murdered. (132)

Dr. David Gunn.

I didn’t appreciate, or allow myself to see, the contradiction between the pledge and our increasingly inflammatory rhetoric. We would use stark language–“baby killers,” “mass murderers,” “pro-aborts”–and outline battle plans in which we referred to abortion providers as “the enemy,” and asserted that sometimes people may break lesser laws to avoid committing the greater evil of murdering innocent children. This was in keeping with long-held Christian moral theology. But none of us (132) considered the vulnerability of those who, for one reason or another, could not discriminate between literal and figurative concepts. There were also people bent on doing harm, and all they needed was religious permission to do so. And one such person had just committed murder int he name of our movement. (133)

The fact was, deep inside, I thought the mission of changing the culture even eclipsed the needs of my family. I was losing sight of the message I had once preached form the New Testament, warning that a man who didn’t care for his family was worse than an infidel. (136)

13 A Reprieve and a Draconian Sentence

14 Planting and Replanting a Church

At this stage of my ministry I still harbored an inner conflict. The pastoral side of me just wanted to care for souls, but my political ambitions were quickly gaining control over my way of seeing the world. The measurement of a Christian, in my mind, was no longer Jesus and his timeless Sermon on the Mount, but fealty to a party, its platform, and its personalities. More than proclaiming the gospel, I wanted to keep our pro-life, pro-family message on the front pages. (153)

If we ever were going to stem the tide of abortion blood, if we were ever going to hold back the runaway train of immorality in the culture–if we were ever going to acknowledge God as we should, and needed to–it was going to be because those who operated the levers of power acted to do it. My little flock was precious but powerless. I would exchange it for members of Congress. (155)

15 Faith and Action

16 Rev. Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western N.Y.

17 Christmas with the Clintons

Back then, the real human consequences of this policy [Defense of Marriage Act] were of only minor interest to me. I would revisit that evolutionary trajectory years later as I looked critically at my own attitudes on the way our churches treat LGBTQ people.

| My side had long objectified homosexual persons to make them easy to depersonalize, and to diminish their humanity in order to reduce a vast, diverse group of men and women to their sexual preference. The next logical step was to demonize them and rob them of any recognition of our common humanity. Looking back, I am shocked at how easy this completely un-Christian behavior was, but I couldn’t see it then. (173)

18 Family Matters

Not only did I have my family to support, but a dozen people now worked for me and depended on my success in fund-raising for their financial security. I constantly worried that my supporters would discover something wrong with my kids and judge me as deficient, and our income would plummet. This preoccupation affected my relationship with my children in very negative ways. (181)

19 Murder and Impeachment

What has alarmed me throughout this episode [Clinton scandal] has been the willingness of my fellow citizens to rationalize the President’s behavior, even as they suspected, and later knew, that he was lying. I am left to conclude that our greatest problem is not in the Oval Office. it’s with the people of this land. – James Dobson

I struggled with how oversimplifications of difficult and complex human problems and actions were a convenient shortcut for me. If I could make them into binary equations–the right-thing-versus-the-wrong-thing, full stop–people and problems became easy to handle. But was that truly the way people lived? By morning I would tuck those pangs of conscience into the deep basement spaces reserved for ideas unserviceable to The Cause. Nuance, ambiguity, conundrums, even the once-hallowed concept of spiritual mystery neither motivated people nor raised the money necessary to accomplish our goals. No appeal letter that included lofty concepts about human frailty and tough choices would succeed. Decades later, that cheapening of the human experience would haunt me. But not yet. (195)

20 The Providential Election

By now I had engaged marketing and fund-raising companies that used the technique they called “Fear and Anger.” One of our consultants explained that if we told people about our programs, we would likely get a little money. But if we instilled fear and anger, if we made our readers very afraid and very mad, they wouldn’t send just a little money, they would send a lot of money. And he was right. (199)

21 9/11

In my early Christian years, war was nothing more than the macro manifestation of man’s micro inner sinfulness. It may be a necessary evil, but it lacked moral justification. Or so I had believed. I held that position through the Reagan years and even when we embarked on the Gulf Wars. But all that had changed after 9/11. (209)

22 A Friend in the White House

Terri [Schiavo]’s death was tragic, for sure, but there was something bigger at stake. While I was busy decrying the depersonalization of the unborn, I’m afraid I was doing that very thing by exploiting the situation of this tragically damaged woman. (215)

The years of the Bush presidency passed as a kind of dream of achievement and influence. … And yet this time of achievement also had its darker sides: the sacred became confused with the political; my own ambitions and arrogance contrasted with the claims of Christ on me for humility, kindness, and generosity. While I was contrite at the altar, when in the political arena I was thrilled at being a part of the modern-day blood sport. In these turbulent waters, Jesus would come to me, offering his hand and leading me toward a different path. (217)

Part III My Third Conversion

23 Amish Grace

I wish I could say I took those lessons to my mission field on Capitol Hill, but the compassion and Christlike care amidst the suffering in a little community in Lancaster County didn’t translate easily to where I spent my time–in a cauldron of often manufactured conflict meant to score points for one side or the other. … I couldn’t forget the forgiveness, the acceptance, the human understanding and divine grace, the esteem of one human being for another, and I longed for it to be part of my own spiritual ex-(224)perience. My faith had in too many ways become something other than Christlike. Instead of being a conduit of unmerited favor and kindness, as I had learned Christianity should be long ago at Elim Bible Institute, mine was now a cudgel for beating ideological opponents into submission. I began to consider just how much politics had corrupted my faith and marred my Christian witness. (225)

24 Family Journeys

25 Obama and Hope

I had to face the reality that I had violated a core evangelical tenet–in John 3:16–that God so loved the whole world and every person who has ever lived, and that is why “he gave his only begotten Son.” (239)

26 My Pilgrimage

Bonhoeffer’s treatment of his mortal enemies was in stark, almost embarrassing contrast to my community’s approach to our ideological foes: our unwillingness to even consider compromise. How was it that I had bought into the idea that the only way to be with your opponents is in conflict? What had I missed in my ministry formation that this long-dead german theologian had learned himself and later taught to the young seminarians under his charge? I’d been on the trip for only a few days, but already these questions I was asking of myself portended a huge change on the horizon. (251)

During that quiet moment, thinking of Bonhoeffer’s costly grace, to quote Wesley, the father of modern evangelicalism, “My heart was strangely warmed.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer became my posthumous mentor. As the apostle Paul adjured the Christians at Corinth, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ,” I would follow this martyred German pastor as he followed Christ, as he understood Christ, as he communicated Christ. | It was like being born again–again. (253)

27 Reentry

There is no “we” versus “them” because we are all “we.” (254)

I began to see that the world was not divided between simply pro-life or pro-choice people: we were all pro-life, to one degree or another, and we were all pro-choice, to one degree or another. … What Bonhoeffer taught (254) me was that Jesus fully affirmed the humanity of everyone he encountered. (255)

| This new insight opened all kinds of possibilities. Could it be that evangelicals like me might find points of agreement with Barack Obama and points of disagreement with George Bush? Could we face the possibility that people in the Democratic Party lived out some Christian values the Republican Party had yet to discover? Could we find common ground with Muslims that perhaps we did not share with some of our own fellow Christians? And if God could use me in His work to help others, riddled as I was with sin, and filled with faults, couldn’t He use anyone in His work? These were dangerous questions that challenged the most basic premises of the way we had organized the world. (255)

Even though [Terry] Jones and his planned Koran burning proved one of only a few such incidents, the warning was clear: no nation, no culture, no people is immune to such extreme acts of contempt by one group for another. “Man’s inhumanity to man” could happen at any time and in any place. That book in my display case would be a reminder to me of the importance of the sentiment that is fittingly inscribed at the entrance of the National Archives in Washington: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” (258)

With thanks and joy the church perceives how the new state protects against blasphemy, represses immorality, upholds discipline and orderliness with a stronger hand. It calls for fear of God, holds marriage holy, wants to know that youth are spiritually educated, and it brings the role of the fathers once again into honor… – Paul Althaus, an evangelical theologian who celebrated Hitler’s rise to power as “a gift and miracle from God.”

The American evangelical churches had never endorsed anything as ghastly as the mass-murderous Nazi regime, but (260) there was a thread running through its story that had a recognizable color and texture. As I pulled on that thread, it led to a conclusion: the American churches I had kept company with shared a common genetic disease with the German evangelical churches of the 1930s. We, like our forebears, had traded the supreme lordship of Jesus Christ for the demigods of political and social potentates. For the Germans, that demigod was Adolf Hitler and his henchmen, including the despicable Bishop Ludwig Müller, who gave Hitler all the religious cover he needed. For Americans, the same Faustian pact had been consummated with any number of political personalities, and most certainly with the Republican Party. We also had our Müllers who provided a spiritual veneer for the party and its leadership, making it more palatable to the pastors in our pulpits. (261)

| This was not the conclusion I had expected to reach in my doctoral work. I had set out to simply examine a brave and moral spiritual leader who dared to challenge one of the most dangerously anti-Christian and anti-human political juggernauts in history. Instead, I had located the troubled heart of my own church and my own party. As I read more on the German crisis and consulted with a wide variety of experts on the history of evangelicalism, Christian ethics, and the politicization of American churches, I developed an informal thesis: American evangelicals were on the brink of a moral disaster, as our pastors and other leaders lacked the theological tools to protect them from being cynically exploited by politically motivated actors. (261)

Admittedly, these were exaggerated manifestations of the problem. It mostly showed itself in subtle ways–in the idea that a Christian could only be Republican, or that tax increases violated the commandment against stealing. The kernel of the problem was that evangelicals were no longer deriving their value system from the Bible, historic Christian teaching, evangelical doctrine, or, most importantly, the words and actions of Jesus Christ, but instead from the pronouncements of political personalities and a particular political party. The cornerstone of evangelical belief had always been one’s personal profession of Jesus Christ as Lord: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” To make Jesus the Lord of one’s life means to make him the last word on whatever you believe and how you are to practice that belief. Our folks had gotten this all muddled up with our allegiance to political platforms. The German Christians had traded Jesus Christ for Adolf Hitler and the church for the Nazi Party; we had done something similar with Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party. The consequences were different, but the error was the same. (262)

Bulwark Against Political Idolatry: The Necessity of a Theology of Church and State for American Evangelical Pastors. [need citation]

Instead of being, as Karl Barth called the church, “the conscience of the state,” the German church had become the tool of the state, helping to pave the way for the moral catastrophe that was both the war and the Holocaust. In my work, I pointed to a similar danger of demoralization in the incremental politicization of the American evangelicalism that I had both witnessed and enabled for nearly thirty years. (263)

We should pick our candidates for president in the same way we pick our doctors–on their skills, experience, reputation, and approach to our problems. – Rob Schenck

I went so far as to say, “Evangelical doctrine is not a litmus test” of whether a candidate will be a successful and effective president. (264)

| It may not have changed many minds, but for me, this was the first step into a new era. (264)

28 Guns

29 The Armor of Light

Jesus never deliberately exploited people’s fears and prejudices for his own gain. In fact, he rebuked the religious leaders of his day for doing just that. For the most prominent figures in American evangelicalism, winning political and ideological contests had become far more important than winning lost souls. (282)

In my hotel room, I sat in front of the television as the rest of the story played on the news, but I was lost in a new feeling very deep inside of me. I had known it in the past, but I hadn’t felt it in decades. It was the connection with another soul–another human being-across a great gulf, across a seemingly insurmountable divide. It was also the cessation of a long and drawn-out conflict that I had spent most of my adult years stoking. In its absence, I felt peace. It made me think of a Bible verse I hadn’t preached about for years: “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (287)

Fear was a profound motivator for evangelicals. We carried a vestigial memory of being the little ramshackle clapboard church from across the tracks whose congregation couldn’t pay its minister. We collectively carried a chip on our shoulders for being marginalized. Fear and revenge were far from the teachings of Christ, but we had practiced them so often in recent years. How had we gotten to this point? (290)

To fully recognize the suffering of others, to feel Christlike compassion for human failing, was to recognize my own capacity for failure –for sin–and to put my head at the same level as Abby [Disney]’s at the foot of the cross. It was essential for embracing and being grateful for the redemptive grace of God. (291)

Ever since I completed my doctoral work on the grave problem of political idolatry, I had carried my revelations of the moral failings of my community in the frustrated recesses of my own heart. I feared that by going public I would lose the relationships and organization I had spent most of my life building. But this film would soon be shown at festivals, in theaters, and in a prime-time television broadcast. There was no going back. My stomach was in knots, but there was some modicum of relief in knowing I would no longer be imprisoned by my own frustrated conscience. (291)

My new model of ministry could not be directed by the expectations, demands, and threats of those whose agenda was to divide people and punish perceived opponents. My new approach would be an attempt to share the transcendent gospel of God’s love and the model of Jesus–God in human flesh–with all, bar none. (293)

Who stands fast? Only the one whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God–the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God. – Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer’s words challenged me to take the ultimate risk. I needed to live by a conscience informed only by the (293) still-small voice of God in my heart, even if it flew in the face of every convention I’ve ever known. Perhaps especially if it did. (294)

In the moment, I was having the time of my life, finally engaging in the frank, unedited public conversation about faith, morality, and humanity I had seen in Bonhoeffer’s vast personal correspondence with his family, friends, and colleagues. In those letters I read of his most private fears, feelings of failure and loneliness, his guilt, his modest pleasures and frustrated longings. In a word, Bonhoeffer was genuine. I had once envied such transparency and authenticity, but I was no practicing it, and I found it liberating. (294)

One of the greatest faults in the movement I had been a part of for so long was our inability to appreciate others and empathize with them. We were sure anyone who allowed for abortion under virtually any circumstances–or permitted experimentation on the remains of the aborted for any reason at all–was evil, self-serving, morally bankrupt, and motivated only by financial gain. There just couldn’t be–and never would be–any other rationale for such abhorrent behavior. But the stark dichotomy that had worked so well for building a movement no longer comported with my understanding of reality. Human experience was too intricate; human lives were too varied; human conscience was too unknown. (297)

30 Donald Trump and the Moral Collapse of American Evangelicalism

For more than thirty years, people like me had prayed, worked, and repeatedly condemned nearly everything Donald Trump represented. The fact that, for most evangelicals, he now posed no problem at all was evidence of a crisis. In my estimation the Trump phenomenon foreshadowed not only the downfall of the old guard of American evangelicalism but perhaps the collapse of it altogether. (302)

I was deeply, deeply troubled. After ten hours behind the wheel, alternating between carping, crying, and praying, I resolved that what I had been witness to in Cleveland [Republican National Convention] was the final moral collapse of the politicized religion that had infected me and millions of others back in the eighties, when American evangelicals entered into their Faustian pact with Ronald Reagan’s party. Nothing good could come of this badly diseased body. (310)

The stands in Cleveland had been a sea of white and mostly middle-aged people, but in Philadelphia [Democratic National Convention], everywhere I looked reflected the gorgeous diversity of God’s creation–every color, every ethnicity, every age, and as many women as men. (311)

31 Holy Week, 2017

Something had gone terribly wrong with American evangelicalism, or, perhaps, I thought, it had always been wrong and I was simply seeing the problem only now. Over the forty-three years I had been a Christian, the orientation of American evangelicals had shifted from what many theologians call the ultimate to the penultimate. We had descended from the high and heavenly calling in Christ to earthly politics, partisanship, and nativist rhetoric and behavior. We had traded a universal Savior for all people, all humanity, in all times, at all places, (318) for a kind of tribal deity whose only interest was to preserve and protect a single group and their peculiar culture. (319)

In Jesus’ day, most people, especially jews, had arranged where they would be laid to rest well in advance, and it was almost always in a family crypt of some kind. The fact that Jesus didn’t make such arrangements was significant: it suggested not only that He may have been impoverished, but also that He was estranged from his community. A wanderer among his own. | Aren’t we all? (319)

We are all in the same boat; we need each other as much as we need God. There is no difference between me and the person next to me, in front of me, behind me. It doesn’t matter who they are, where they come from, what they believe or don’t believe, who they love or don’t love. We are creations of God, every single one, from the best to the worst. (321)

…when many days seemed dark, the Resurrection provided comfort and hope in the knowledge that Jesus could not be relegated to the past or reserved for an idealized future. Through his resurrection, he is present here and now, in our immediate reality. For me, there is no more optimistic or enduring message on earth. Christ has risen. He is risen indeed. (321)

We’ve lost millions of young people because they do not see in our eyes or hear from our mouths the words or love of a Christ they know, deep in their souls, is the only source for human improvement. For them I hope to create and inhabit a new space in which conversations about the moral and spiritual content of our painfully human and social struggles are not acrimonious, contentious, hostile, and hateful but Christlike in love, in respect, and in honor of one another. (322)

As I emerged from my period of darkness, of succumbing to politics and power, I saw how expansive God’s grace is and how universal his invitation is to it. (324)

Cheap grace is the mortal enemy of our Church. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. … Our struggle today is for costly grace. – Bonhoeffer

Of course it is a struggle. Of course it is costly. But how magnificent, how unearned, how surprising is that grace. (324)

About VIA

www.kevinneuner.com

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  1. Pingback: The Power Worshippers | Reflections & Notes | vialogue

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