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Gracious Christianity: Living the Love We Profess Paperback – February 1, 2006

5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This gentle little book manages to summarize the entire scope of classic Christian theology, from the nature of God to the end of time, in amazingly few pages, basing every theological assertion on a single theme: the more we understand that "gracious love defines the core of God's character,... the more gracious our Christianity will become." Jacobsen, a professor at Messiah College, and Sawatsky, president of the college until his death in 2004, not only describe the basic tenets of the Christian faith but also draw out their implications for everyday life: "We are called to nurture and protect the world as if it were a precious possession entrusted to us by our dearest friend with the stipulation that the earth's treasures be used for the benefit of all." Even difficult doctrines like sin and hell become occasions of graciousness. Sin, for example, "is anything that willfully diminishes the life that we and the rest of creation are meant to enjoy." Basing their theology on Scripture, the authors draw on influential apologists past and present such as Augustine, Aquinas, Bonhoeffer, Nouwen and McLaren. This gracious and accessible book, which includes abundant discussion questions for group study, will appeal to a wide spectrum of Christians. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Jacobsen, a professor of church history and theology, and the late Sawatsky, an administrator of church-related colleges, offer a conversation on what it means to be Christian that they intend to be of help to other Christians in understanding and engaging others, Christian and otherwise, whose views may differ from theirs. They discuss what it means to welcome a gracious Christianity and admit that, while Christians are called to be gracious, few live up to that elusive ideal. They discuss God and creation, human nature, salvation, the church as community, and the appropriate relationship between church and state. Their last chapter they devote to the Bible, which they liken to a newspaper. Like a newspaper, the Bible, they maintain, contains many kinds and many styles of writing in an eclectic collection of stories and laws, and there are many different ways of reading it. Approach it with an open and humble mind, they say. A short, thoughtful book packed with intriguing ideas. Let the conversations begin. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801031397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801031397
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
At last, here is a book for those of us who love C. S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity" and wish Lewis was around to update his classic. My bet is that Lewis would write differently about some things now - especially his views about women - but his main points would stay the same. That's what this book is about - the main story of Christianity, unchanging through the ages and not political. While the book covers many of the same theological topics as Mere Christianity, it uses language and examples that make sense to contemporary readers. All thoughtful Christians would benefit from reading this book - my guess is that even teenagers would like it. Without dumbing things down, the authors simply and powerfully describe basic Christian doctrine on everything from creation to salvation to judgment day. There are questions for discussion scattered throughout the chapters (and more on the book's website), and I'm planning to give copies of the book to some friends so we can hash out what we think. There is so much good stuff here that some chapters should have been longer, but then again the book's strength is that it is short and is easy to read.
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Format: Paperback
Concise and clear, this book explains all the foundational beliefs of Christianity in a way that would be okay with my Catholic friends as well as my fellow Protestants. It is an amazingly balanced and helpful introduction to the basics of Christianity. As far as I can tell, there really is no hidden agenda. I've looked for a long time for a simple book that explains historic Christian beliefs, and this is undoubtedly the best I've found. I'm going to recommend it for the adult Sunday School class at my church, and I wish the high school class would use it too. So many of them know next to nothing about what their church stands for... Reading this book would provide a helpful education for any Christian!
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Format: Paperback
The gospel, or good news, of Christianity is a gracious one - yet many believe otherwise. Jacobsen and Sawatsky offer a brief but comprehensive overview of Christian theology, while trying to persuade believers about the importance of relationship and community.

"Graciousness does not preclude debate," they write. "What graciousness requires is respect for the other person and a genuine willingness to listen to what the other person is saying." A thoughtful book for those who truly want to model Christian love.
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Beautifully written book of God's promise and how we as Christians should love.
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