Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap Grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship.
Aric Clark, Doug Hagler, and Nick Larson of Two Friars and a Fool have posted a YouTube video of the PCUSA’s Vice Moderator, Rev. Landon Whitsitt, and intend it for conversation. A lot of his talk is about the internet, and how it, with open sourcing, will affect Christianity. It seems to me to be somewhat of a put down to orthodox Christianity. He says that most American Christians have the same understandings of Christianity that they had when they were in sixth grade.
But that is simplistic and without definition. Christians believe in the authority of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the Trinity, justification by faith, the resurrection and life eternal and yes God’s amazing grace. These are just basic to Christianity. Is this what Whitsitt is speaking of?
Whitsitt also speaks, at the end about grace.
The Christian faith, a lot of Christians, people who would call themselves progressives or open source Christians, start to emphasize the notion, the idea, the truth of God’s grace over and above everything else. I know that’s true for me. When I think about God, when I talk to people about God, I talk about a God of grace. A God who freely gives, a God who loves, who freely gives in love. A God who doesn’t require anything of me in order to receive the benefits and the truth of this gospel, right? This God interacts with me in a way, and interacts with the entire world, and let’s be clear not just me, interacts with the entire world with a notion of grace, with a notion of I am going to give you goodness and benefits and truth and I am going to give to you, as Jesus said, I am going to give you abundant life, I am going to show you abundant life and I am going to teach you how to effect abundant life for everyone else and in exchange for this I am not going to ask you for anything. Right you don’t have to pay for this I’m giving it to you freely.”Now I will be truthful, Whitsitt does go on to suggest that because we possess this grace we are required to pass it on and to love those we disagree with. In other words, God does ask something of us. But there needs to be a clearer understanding here. Grace, God’s unmerited favor, is free and yet as God gives it he also gives faith and repentance. We repent and turn around and walk a different direction, all by God’s grace but it isn’t an empty gift. Grace changes us. We produce fruit that comes from the new life that Jesus gives.
Bonhoeffer has a lot to say about the difference between cheap grace and costly grace. I have quoted him above. Aric in the video discussion on his website mentions, playing the devil’s advocate, cheap grace and Bonhoeffer. So after I place the video of Whitsitt on this posting I will quote a bit more. But do go and listen to both Doug Hagler and Aric Clark. Also Nick Larson is funny.
“Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “Ye were bought with at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.
Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs. It is therefore the living word, the Word of God, which he speaks as it pleases him. Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. Grace is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’”
And that grace has nothing to do with the internet except we can all proclaim it there.
 scroll down to see the other videos