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In his landmark book What's So Amazing about Grace?, Philip Yancey issued a call for Christians to be as grace-filled in their behavior as they are in declaring their beliefs. He now returns to this vital subject, asking why Christians continue to lose respect, influence, and reputation in modern culture.
Yet people everywhere still thirst for grace. How can Christians present truly Good News amid the changing landscapes of our time? Why do so many people dislike Christians? How can we communicate faith in an appealing way to future generations?
Using his trademark journalistic style--story-filled, compelling, accessible--Yancey explores how grace can bridge the gap between Christian faith and a world increasingly suspicious of it.
Number of Pages: 304
Publication Date: 2014
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
Availability: In Stock
"Why does the church stir up such negative feelings?" Philip Yancey has been asking this all his life as a journalist. His perennial question is more relevant now than ever: in a twenty-year span starting in the mid-nineties, research shows that favorable opinions of Christianity have plummeted drasticallyand opinions of Evangelicals have taken even deeper dives.
The end of the politics-oriented Evangelicalism that was so dominant in the second half of the 20th century is a strong example that we are living in a post-Christian culture.
Yet while the opinions about Christianity are dropping, interest in spirituality is rising. Why the disconnect? Why are so many asking, "Whats so good about the "Good News?"
Yanceys writing has focused on the search for honest faith that makes a difference for a world in pain. In his landmark book Whats So Amazing about Grace he issued a call for Christians to be as grace-filled in their behavior as they are in declaring their beliefs.
But people inside and outside the church are still thirsty for grace. What the church lacked in its heyday is now exactly what it needs to recover to thrive. Grace can bring together Christianity and our post-Christian culture, inviting outsiders as well as insiders to take a deep second look at why our faith matters and about what could reignite its appeal to future generations.
How can Christians offer grace in a way that is compelling to a jaded society? And how can they make a difference in a world that cries out in need?
Yancey aims this book at Christian readers, showing them how Christians have lost respect, influence, and reputation in a newly post-Christian culture. "Why do they hate us so much?" mystified Americans ask about the rest of the world. A similar question applies to evangelicals in America.
Yancey explores what may have contributed to hostility toward Evangelicals, especially in their mixing of faith and politics instead of embracing more grace-filled ways of presenting the gospel. He offers illuminating stories of how faith can be expressed in ways that disarm even the most cynical critics. Then he explores what is Good News and what is worth preserving in a culture that thinks it has rejected Christian faith.
Philip Yancey serves as editor-at-large for Christianity Today magazine. He has written thirteen Gold Medallion Award-winning books and won two ECPA Book of the Year awards for What's So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew. Four of his books have sold over one million copies. Yancey lives with his wife in Colorado. Website: www.philipyancey.com
Philip5 Stars Out Of 5Vanishing Grace: Whatever Happened to the Good News?January 11, 2015PhilipOnce again Philip Yancey has sounded out a clarion call to the Church to return to her first (and only) love. He addresses the issue of the centrality of grace, much as he did in his first book on the center of the Christian life, with candor, truth, intelligence and, of course, grace. Sounding warnings against the empty idols of affluence, legalism and the noxious culture wars, this is a call we must heed if we are to regain our Biblical identity and restore faithfulness to Christ as our chief end. Very well done.
dooodle5 Stars Out Of 5grace vanishingJanuary 2, 2015dooodleI love this book considering sharing it with book club
Simply EmmyBacolod City, PhilippinesAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Grace RevolutionDecember 26, 2014Simply EmmyBacolod City, PhilippinesAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Vanishing Grace is a sequel to his Whats So Amazing About Grace, sort of. Reading the book makes me remember Jesus in Matthew 23:27. Not that Christians are Pharisees, but some if not most have slipped into Phariseeical philosophies and practices. This perhaps explain why there are others who are turned off with Christianity. Due to our own doing, consciously and unconsciously, we have reduced Christianity from a relationship with Jesus Christ rooted from grace to a religion of some sort.
I say that the premise of this book is that we should be able to give grace to a world waiting to receive it whether they know it or not. When Jesus was around, He gave grace freely to the tax collectors such as Zacchaeus, to the prostitute such as Mary who washed his feet with perfume at the risk of being criticized as maniac or womanizer (in todays language), to a criminal such as Saul who became Paul, and to the backslidden such as Peter. We have been quicker to judge instead of giving love and grace, authentically and not for a show.
I, for one, have experienced what its like to judge and be judged by churches, leaders and church workers who confess grace. If I who have been a Christian since my youth have been turned off by them, how much more those who arent.
Yancey is urging Christians to practice what the Lord came for so that His glory may be manifested on earth and people will be drawn to Him. We are not to judge, we are to give grace. And by that, Yancey means the real grace, the authentic grace, the grace that the Lord Jesus Christ offers, not just the grace that one confesses with his mouth but far from the heart.
Easier said than done, eh.
But after reading this, I immediately thought of another book I read awhile back, How to Pick Up a Stripper and other Acts of Kindness, as a starting point in practicing grace in sometimes a hostile Christian world.
Also, I would recommend that in addition to reading this book, you also listen to Pictures of Grace, podcast by Pastor William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin), who by the way is the wayward-turned-Pastor grandson of Billy Graham.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A wake up call for ChristiansDecember 3, 2014bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The church is failing in its mission to dispense grace, Yancey writes. He was concerned about grace when he wrote about it nearly twenty years ago and he still is. Grace is vanishing, he claims. What can we do about it?
He covers three aspects of the issue in his book: models of how it can be done better, how Christianity stands up to the alternatives offered by other beliefs, and the role of Christians in a diverse world.
He advocates that Christians show humility, try to find common ground with others and look for natural opportunities to show grace. He explores how we can be grace dispensers as pilgrims, activists, and artists, giving examples in each area. He shows how the Christian faith has really been a benefit to the world, how Christianity relates to science and answers the questions science cannot (like why we are here). He addresses the moral confusion of today and the Christian response. He looks at the effect the relationship of faith and politics has had and suggests ways to live out convictions while still conveying grace.
This book is a good wake up call to Christians. Yancey's section on the Christian and culture is inspiring. Every Christian can be an activist, he writes, whether full- or part-time. We can act out our beliefs subversively. When we witness disrespect, we can counter by showing respect. When we see prejudice, we can respond with acceptance. When we view repulsive art, we can create God honoring alternatives. We can impact our community one person at a time. Each of us can be a dispenser of grace where it is so desperately needed.
Food for thought: Perhaps the most powerful thing Christians can do to communicate to a skeptical world is to live fulfilled lives, exhibiting proof that Jesus' way truly leads to a life most abundant and most thirst-satisfying.
The church is, above all, a place to receive grace...
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Permanent FreezeDecember 1, 2014Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Like a sudden thaw in the middle of winter . . .: this is Philip Yanceys descriptive metaphor for grace on this fallen planet. It stops us short, catches the breath, disarms. Vanishing Grace was written out of Yanceys concern that the church is failing to demonstrate the warm and compelling grace of God. As a result, the tendency of those outside the church is to view Christians as bearers of bad news, not good news. He documents this trend in Part One of Vanishing Grace. As evidence, he presents conversations with unbelievers from around the world, statistical data, and shattering examples of situations in which Christians have been part of the problem rather than part of the solution. He calls believers to a different sound in which we demonstrate to the world that the good news of the gospel is, in the words of Frederick Buechner, gooder than we ever dared hope, and that Gods call to salvation is a call to a broad and spacious place not the cramped quarters many believers seem to occupy.
Part Two sets forth models of three groups of people who seem to be more adept at communicating grace to the culture:
(1) Pilgrims: Every Christian is a pilgrim; i.e. on a journey of faith. No one has arrived, but there is a tendency among Christians to regard others from a pinnacle of superiority. Here, Yancey demonstrates a characteristic of his writing which I find to be most compelling: he is widely read and quotes broadly from a number of authors, genres, and historical contexts. (I always come away from reading his books with a list of authors I want to sample.)
(2) Activists: Expressing their faith by their deeds, activists kick the traces out from under the most common complaint against Christianity: hypocrisy. Vanishing Grace reframes Jesus question to His disciples on the day of His ascension. Why do you stand here looking into the sky? As the agents assigned to carry out Gods will on earth, believers must avoid the trap of expecting God to do something for us when instead God wants to do it through us. Scriptural truth is best lived out from hand [practical acts of mercy], to heart [expressions of love], to head [Truth about the Source of that love].
(3) Artists: Those who skillfully represent beauty and reality are able to speak into the human condition with sensitivity in a way that is truly heard. He likens the creative arts to goads, which create enough discomfort to motivate people to action, and to nails which sink deeper and leave a lasting mark. The challenge for the Christian artist is in finding the balance between propaganda and art.
In Part Three, Yancey looks at Christianity as it stacks up against other springs from which people seek to quench their thirst for truth. As it happens, the Christians strongest argument for the truth of the gospel is in demonstrating how it works in ones everyday life. Therefore, ironically, the kingdom of God largely exists for the sake of outsiders, as a tangible expression of Gods love for all. As we fail to provide that visible reality, we also fail to provide moral guidance and hope to religious skeptics. Yancey deals specifically with the answers that lie beyond science in three chapters that pinpoint:
1. The God question: Is there anyone else? [Hint: What or Who lavished such gratuitous beauty on our planet?] 2. The human question: Why are we here? [Hint: God wants you to flourish, but this has nothing to do with having your own way.]
3. The social question: How should we live? [Hint: Christians will bring clarity to moral issues only if we listen well, live well and engage well with the rest of society.]
Finally, in Part Four, Philip comes back around to the pilgrims, activists, and artists to demonstrate that believers can and should be functioning in the world as something more than just a voting block or worse, a stumbling block. To provide that needed community of contrast the prayer of the church should be:
Lord, teach us how to be a counterculture of ordinary pilgrims who insist on living a different way. May we admit that we are needy and look to God for both vision and strength to subvert the world. Show us how to be activists who live out our beliefs against the grain of surrounding culture. May we shout for the hard-of-hearing and draw large and startling figures for the almost-blind. Help us to enter into the attitudes, feelings, and total experience of the receivers of our art. As artists, may we be like You, rendering the full spectrum of doubt and faith, struggle and resolution, sin and redemption.
When Christians present a shining alternative to evil, the grace of God will become visible and will sound like good news to ears that need to hear the truth.
Disclosure: This book was provided by BookLookBloggers in exchange for my unbiased review.
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