Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review: Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?

Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?
Philip Yancey
Five Stars

 "The Bible is a great help to me in this practice, since it reminds me that God does some of God’s best work with people who are truly, seriously lost." Barbara Brown Taylor

Christian. What are some words that come to mind when many people are asked to define us? Judgmental, intolerant, ignorant, rude, forceful...this word, this "label" now comes with some very heavy negative connotations. As believers we are called to spread the word of a loving God who desperately aches to have a relationship with his children. Unfortunately somewhere along the way, the good news became some not-so-good news and people began to feel judged, to feel looked down upon. It's started to trigger some sort of fight-or-flight reaction in people any time religion, particularly Christianity, has come up. Philip Yancey's book addresses this change in the tides regarding not only the attitude toward Christians, but how it has affected peoples' ideas of religion, God, and the Bible. It is a crying shame that people charged with ministering and bringing others closer to God and to salvation are seen as a nuisance, or worse, as a direct contradiction to everything God has called us to be-loving, kind, full of grace.

Not only does Yancey's book discuss this changing attitude toward Christians and Christianity, he explores ways in which he has personally ministered to folks with different beliefs...not once does he sacrifice his own beliefs to appease someone who shares a different view, and not once does he take a condescending attitude toward the person, which is one thing many non-Christians are afraid of. He discusses that the best way to minister to people, the best way to share our faith and the love of God, to bring people closer to a relationship with Him, is to live out the gospel, not simply TALK about it. We need to live in grace and in love in order to reach people. Continuing down this path will get us nowhere. 

In one chapter of the book, a section I personally enjoyed, was the discussion of the gap between science and faith, between all of these other religions and Christianity. What is the truth? The author explored the beliefs of a handful of other major religions, and it was nice to see it laid out in a format that I could actually understand about the basic idea behind these religions and what these believers believe. 

Overall, this book is extremely interesting, entertaining, and I feel that I come away from this book learning something new and having a renewed vision and vigor for my life and duty as a Christian. I really *appreciate* Yancey's book and his take on things and I would highly recommend this book for anyone. Five stars all the way!

I'd like to leave you with a quote from the book...a quote that I feel really rings true: 
I have painted a bleak, one-sided picture of post-Christian ethics in order to show that the modern West is floundering over a basic sense of right and wrong...Because of our failure to live out our beliefs, our own lack of moral clarity, and our meddling with partisan politics, Western culture no longer looks to Christianity as its moral source.  (Ebook version, Loc 3378)
 What are we, on an individual level, going to do to change this? How can we as individual believers implement changes and perhaps change the perception of Christianity as a whole? We may be saved, but that doesn't make us better than others that don't share our beliefs. We may not believe in certain popular ideas, but criticizing or ridiculing those who make decisions to partake is doing Christians as well as God a huge disservice and is a major missed opportunity to share the love of our Heavenly Father. We cannot change people, but God can...He only has the opportunity to do that if people open their hearts to Him.

If you're interested in obtaining a copy of this amazing book to add to your library, you can purchase it here!

I was provided a free eBook copy of this book from BookLook bloggers in exchange for my honest review. This is my personal, honest opinion.