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Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life Paperback – January 2, 2007
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"Using Scripture, fiction, contemporary and classic movies, and other sources, Zahl demonstrates God's grace as the only hope for humanity, and shows how it can be practiced in common, everyday situations. Recommended."
"Zahl's newest and best book, "Grace in Practice," is a fascinating, sometimes brilliant, and deeply pastoral attempt to work out [the] theology of grace as a universal principle for Christian doctrine and life."
Peter J. Gomes
"Paul Zahl is at it again ? and, as usual, for the good of us all. He has been 'long on grace and short on law' for all of his ministry, and who in these difficult times could want"more"law and less grace? This is a book for everyday believers ? an act of grace."
author of"America's Battle for God"
"Zahl's"Grace in Practice"cuts right across the patterns of thinking and acting to which Christians have become accustomed. An engaging and passionate book, intensely personal, witty and direct ? and provocative to the core."
J. Ligon Duncan III
President, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
"Paul Zahl is a formidable scholar, an admired colleague, and a courageous churchman, but I especially love Paul Zahl the preacher ? his passion and humor, his power of description and illustration, and, above all, his zeal for grace. When he speaks about law and grace, I'm totally caught up in it ? even when he's beating up on my views! That same enthusiasm comes through in this book. Cascading pop-culture references are flanked with the profoundest of insights. A barrage of illustrations brings home Zahl's message. Martin Luther has his spokesman. In"Grace in Practice," Zahl sets out a theology of the reality, experience, and expression of grace in the Christian life ? and then doesn't mind upsetting your applecart as he applies it specifically to just about everything.""
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Top Customer Reviews
Zahl's section on anthropology, setting up his soteriology, is insightful. His argument for the "unfree will" is compelling as he makes us look hard at the realities of addictions, anger, depression, losing weight, etc. To tell someone to have a positive attitude when they are struggling with depression is inhumane. The Gospel is not about us pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. It is about Someone loving us when we are stuck, powerless and without hope.
Summary: Grace is One Way Love. Law is Two Way Love. The Law is good because it reveals God's standard. BUT the law is powerless to change us into those demands. Only Grace can do this. Christ loved us while we were yet sinners. May we learn to treat others the same way.
Zahl begins the book by writing extensively about the reality of grace and its conflict with law and judgment. This explanation of grace lays a firm foundation upon which Zahl builds the remaining two-thirds of the book. In Zahl's theology, there is a war between grace and law, and grace is man's only hope through which all blessings flow.
This is NOT a book only for theologians and "professional" Christians. As Zahl explains, the "focus is on everyday life..on how Christianity works...an attempt to bring the gospel of law and grace into direct encounter with the real and tangible stress of living a life within the swooning, human world."
Zahl reveals his uncanny gift of knowing the pulse of the church and the culture. In that gift, he stands alone among writers I have read as someone who relates the mysteries of Christ to matters of everyday life.
His chapter on "Grace in Families" has the insights to improve all of your relationships more than any "relationship" or "marriage" book I have yet read. "Grace in Church" shows the level of learning from experience that Zahl has garnered from over 30 years in ministry. These sections will open the eyes of ministers from all areas and ages.
"Grace in Society" and "Grace in Everything" round out the above sections.Read more ›
Paul Zahl's book, "Grace in Practice," breathes fresh air into the lungs of any burned-out (or soon to be burned out) Christian. Tossing out the tired, moralistic approaches to Christianity that are popular but which bury the true message of the faith (the Vox Ipsissimi Christianismi), Zahl goes back to the basics of the Christian Gospel--namely, Christ's unmeritted, one-way love to sinners (including Christian sinners).
Zahl stresses the early Reformational insights of distinguishing Law and Gospel, Low Anthropology and High Christology, Judgment and Love. His understanding (which is not his alone, but is a largely-forgotten treasure shared by Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Cranmer) that Grace actually produces what the Law commands is life-changing.
Anyone, especially any clergy person who is in need of the refreshing truth of God's Grace, which trumps all other messages, needs to look no further than "Grace in Practice." This book, which concretizes God's grace in all aspects of life (and is chuck-full of great movie quotes!) will hopefully shake-up and shake-off the toxic and widespread moralism of current American Christianity.
However, after demonstrating such profound thoughts about grace, Zahl drives off the reservation and declares that we should do away with things like prisons and the military because they do not "jive" with grace. Such thinking though is a missaplication of grace and completely neglects Romans 13.
The cross didnt nullify the Law or justice, it rather established it. The cross showed us us that God must punish sin to the full extent it deserves. Therefore the cross doesnt nullfiy judgment and justice, it rather establishes it. Not punishing criminals not only is ungracious, but also endangers the lives of innocent people who should be protected by those in power.
Get the book. Read it. Zahl is a profound thinker. But like any profound thinker, when he puts the pedal to the medal, floors it, and leaves the city limits of Scripture, its time to open the door and bail before you drive over the cliff with him.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading some of “Grace in Practice,” a book subtitled “A Theology of Everyday Life.” The author is a priest in The Episcopal Church and is the former dean and president... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bill Barto
The single best book on theology I have ever read. This is really good for the average layman who wants to know how Grace is applied in the world. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Matt Kroelinger
As a failing Christian, it was many years into my life before I realized that there was no other kind of Christian. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mark Babikow
Paul Zahl really gets grace, and he really gets that law and judgment don't help people. In fact they are what drives people away, and has little to do with Jesus ministry on... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Hans C. Schmid
A book that should be read by all that follow Jesus!Published 16 months ago by arnold l. roland 111
Theological thinking with great understanding. I not only grasped the concept, but I applied what I learned whole-hearted. It's such a relief to let go.Published 16 months ago by Annie Freewriter
More Zahl nonsense. The Lutherian scheme outlined in "The Bondage of the Will" makes its appearance here in all its schizophrenic glory. According to Mr. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Arthur Sippo