This raw, candid and searingly honest look at Rob’s journey

 “This is not the book I intended to write; it’s the book I needed to write,” Rob says of Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, Hope and Love.  

In the pages of Costly Grace, Rob takes readers on a journey through his childhood in a nominally Jewish home and his conversion to born-again Christianity at 16, to his marriage at 18, his ordination at 21, and decades spent at the epicenters of evangelicalism and political power in Washington, D.C.

This raw, candid and searingly honest look at Rob’s journey to the religious right follows a 30-year trajectory that would leave him spiritually disoriented and badly alienated from the people he most loved. 

But it offers an amazing transformation. It would be through the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the heroic German pastor martyred by the Nazis, that Rob would find his way home—literally and figuratively—rediscovering the power of faith, hope and love. Costly Grace is his amazing story . . .

As he says: “I hope Costly Grace does for my readers what it did for me: help us all to face our true selves and the reality in which we live.”

Listen to Terry Gross interview on Fresh Air

Listen to Three Wise Guys Podcast 

What readers are saying:


“A meditation on the thorny relationship between religious leaders and politicians, and the dangers that lie in getting too close to the sun.”

—Mother Jones


“Schenck has not changed his beliefs or moral stances but now occupies a unique space as president of The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute, calling for grace to transcend partisan divides and seek biblical answers to complex issues.” 

—Ray Arnett, Anderson, SC, Library Journal


“Schenck’s superb self-critical writing draws readers in with tales of, for instance, rebuking President Clinton during Holy Communion (an act for which Schenck was nearly arrested) and stealing funds raised to help women with unexpected pregnancies.”

—Publishers Weekly


“Christian activist and minister Schenck provides a provocative autobiography centered on the evolution of his life as a person of faith.”

—Kirkus Reviews