What&'s So Amazing About Grace?
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Mention the word “grace” and what immediately comes to mind for most of us is a bagpipe wailing the solemn notes of “Amazing Grace.”
The grace of which Philip Yancey writes is the freely given and unmerited favor and love of God. This grace seems a remote, almost sentimental concept, without a place in our lives or our society. It is a vague, slippery thing to us, probably because we seem to experience grace so rarely and have managed to leech the word of meaning. But Philip Yancey has set about to rescue grace in his book What’s So Amazing About Grace?
In 1987, an IRA bomb buried Gordon Wilson and his twenty-year-old daughter beneath five feet of rubble. Gordon alone survived. And forgave. He said of the bombers, “I have lost my daughter, but I bear no grudge. . . . I shall pray, tonight and every night, that God will forgive them.” His words caught the mediaâs ear–and out of one manâs grief, the world got a glimpse of grace. Grace is the churchâs great distinctive. Itâs the one thing the world cannot duplicate, and the one thing it craves above all else–for only grace can bring hope and transformation to a jaded world.
In Whatâs So Amazing About Grace? award-winning author Philip Yancey explores grace at street level. If grace is Godâs love for the undeserving, he asks, then what does it look like in action? And if Christians are its sole dispensers, then how are we doing at lavishing grace on a world that knows far more of cruelty and unforgiveness than it does of mercy? Yancey sets grace in the midst of lifeâs stark images, tests its mettle against horrific “ungrace.” Can grace survive in the midst of such atrocities as the Nazi holocaust? Can it triumph over the brutality of the Ku Klux Klan?
Should any grace at all be shown to the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed and cannibalized seventeen young men? Grace does not excuse sin, says Yancey, but it treasures the sinner. True grace is shocking, scandalous. It shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to sinners and touching them with mercy and hope. It forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. It loves todayâs AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesusâ day. In his most personal and provocative book ever, Yancey offers compelling, true portraits of graceâs life-changing power. He searches for its presence in his own life and in the church. He asks, How can Christians contend graciously with moral issues that threaten all they hold dear? And he challenges us to become living answers to a world that desperately wants to know, Whatâs So Amazing About Grace?
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