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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
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.
clarksapoet5 Stars Out Of 5Beautiful bookNovember 11, 2014clarksapoetBeautiful book.
We should all read this, and take its great grace seriously.
This is good news for all, and especially Christians who long for more than ongoing arguments about being right.
Doc HiltonHorseshoe Bend, ARAge: 45-54Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5GET OUT OF THE RUT, AND BACK IN THE GAME!November 6, 2014Doc HiltonHorseshoe Bend, ARAge: 45-54Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Philip Yancey, obviously, is not afraid of a challenge. In VANISHING GRACE: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE GOOD NEWS?, Yancey takes on the entire population of modern-day Pharisees . . . that populate the pews of the 21st Century mainstream denominational churches. People who are content, complacent, and contemptuous of those who dont attend their church, or believe the way they believe. And he does so in a journalistic fashion; asking questions, searching for answers . . . and yes, reporting the truth as it is, not how we would like it to be.
Its a difficult book to get into. I had to re-start it several times, before it started clicking for me. You see, Im probably one of those modern-day Pharisees. I want the people to walk through the door, and sit down in the pew, and listen to me. Do I work hard at preparing messages from the Word of God? Absolutely ask my family. After a 40-hour week job, and preparing for Sundays and Wednesday evenings, the only time they see me is in church.
But Yancey has shown me, through this book, that things need to change. Scripture calls us to be salt and light to a lost and dying world. We are to shine the light of the gospel but in order for light to be effective, it has to reach the optical sensory receptors of another person. Light shown in a closet read church, isnt going to do anybody else any good. Salt seasons the Word of God, but it also serves as a preservative and it makes people thirsty for more. But the salt isnt going to do any good if it doesnt come in contact with the taste buds of another person.
A city set on a hill cannot be hid; unless it is draped in the camouflage of traditional programs and dry-as-dust presentations.
In another challenging book (the author is simply known as Fynn) entitled MISTER GOD, THIS IS ANNA, the precocious 6-year old engages Fynn in a simple, yet profound, conversation:
Fynn . . . why do people go to church?
Fynn: Well, I suppose to learn about God.
Anna: Well then . . . WHY DO THEY KEEP GOING BACK? I think its because they didnt get Him in the first place . . . or theyre just pretending.
For Anna . . . and I feel, for Philip Yancey . . . once you get God, youre supposed to spend the rest of your life giving Him away.
The good news isnt good news . . . until someone gets the good news.
5 stars for a challenging book that will change your life for the better
Smoothie71AlabamaAge: 18-24Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Well written for allNovember 3, 2014Smoothie71AlabamaAge: 18-24Gender: femalePhilip Yancey is probably one of my favorite authors. I like his honesty and authenticity in his writing style. I enjoy how he humbly presents his beliefs in a very Biblical way without seeming like a Pharisee.
Vanishing Grace : Whatever Happened To The Good News? is a really good book. Yancey points out how in Biblical days, people were excited and joyful about coming to know the Christ (as he illustrates nicely), but how today people hear the name 'Jesus' and dread what follows.
I wanted to read this book because I find myself on the compassionate side (because I've dealt with it) of wanting to share the Gospel with the unnoticed and the skeptics. Yancey himself, struggling with doubts in the past, shows grace in a fresh, unique way that I think we can learn a lot from.
The whole purpose of this book is not to bash other Christians. That's hard to do when problems are brought up in the Church, however, we are called to love. If love were a person and you honestly think love would say, do, or think that word, action, or thought, then go ahead. If you have doubts though, think and pray.
I was impressed with all the stories that were included in this book. Stories that tell of heartache, faith, and how Christians have done a good job representing Christ and how others have done not so great a job and how we can learn from past mistakes to a better future.
This book is well written and I would recommend anybody, Christian or not, to read it. I would ask that you would read it through grace filled eyes and not judgemental. I hope you're as blessed and challenged by the writing as I was.
Note: I received a free copy of this book for the exchange of a review.