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Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life Paperback – January 2, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Aspiring Retail"
"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."
"First Things"
"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
Harvard University
"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."
Geiko Muller-Fahrenholz
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.""

From the Back Cover

"Grace in Practice" is a challenging call to live life under grace -- a concept most Christians secretly have trouble with. Paul Zahl pulls no punches, contending that no matter how often we talk about salvation by grace, in our can-do society we often cling instead to a righteousness of works. Asserting throughout that grace always trumps both law and church, Zahl illuminates an expansive view of grace in everything, extending the good news of grace to all creation. Conversationally written and filled with fascinating insights, "Grace in Practice" will reward any Christian who seeks to understand the full measure of Gods grace and the total freedom it offers.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802828973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802828972
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding book for understanding a theology of grace and its implications for how we treat other people.

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.
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Paul Zahl writes triumphantly of the more-than conquering grace that flows from God in his unconditional "one-way" love. Zahl effectively defines grace and, more importantly, shows us how to experience and give grace in all areas of our lives. In effect, "Grace in Practice" is a life-changing book, as it will provide all that is needed to make all of your relationships "grace-full."

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On the messy world of contemporary American Evangelicalism, filled with moralistic would-be theologies and sermons about "5 ways to improve your life," "8 ways to be a man of integrity," "5 Pervasive Paths to Prayer"(all beginning with the letter 'P'), and "31 ways to be a Proverbs 31 woman," a light has dawned!

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.
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This book starts out well with Zahl illustrating the Lutherian distinction of Law & Gospel in compelling and vivid terms. The book provides fresh thinking about God's grace and how the Law & the Gospel must never be together or mingled. I was blessed in reading it, so let me say that first.

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.
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