Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Welcome to the Age of Cheap Grace


                                                (Lake Michigan; Pentwater, Michigan)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in The Cost of Discipleship, made a distinction between what he called "cheap grace" and "costly grace." Eric Metaxas, in his biography of Bonhoeffer, argues that the Lutheran Church's drift into cheap grace was a factor in allowing Hitler to come to power. (See Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; see also Tim Keller's Foreward.) 

Cheap grace means "going to church and hearing that God just loves and forgives everyone, so it doesn’t really matter much how you live."

Tim Keller writes that, today, we live in an age of cheap grace. "Many Christians want to talk only about God’s love and acceptance. They don’t like talking about Jesus’ death on the cross to satisfy divine wrath and justice. Some even call it “divine child abuse.” Yet if they are not careful, they run the risk of falling into the belief in “cheap grace”—a non-costly love from a non-holy God who just loves and accepts us as we are. That will never change anyone’s life." (Foreward to Metaxas.)