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What's So Amazing About Grace? Paperback – February 17, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

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 media’s ear--and out of one man’s grief, the world got a glimpse of grace.

Grace is the church’s great distinctive. It’s 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 What’s So Amazing About Grace? award-winning author Philip Yancey explores grace at street level. If grace is God’s 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 life’s 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 today’s AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus’ day.

In his most personal and provocative book ever, Yancey offers compelling, true portraits of grace’s 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, What’s So Amazing About Grace?

About the Author

Philip Yancey serves as editor-at-large for Christianity Today magazine. He has written thirteen Gold Medallion Award-winning books and won two ECPA Book of the Year awards for What's So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew. Four of his books have sold over one million copies. Yancey lives with his wife in Colorado.  Website: www.philipyancey.com




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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; New edition edition (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310245656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310245650
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I worked for 10 years as an Editor and then Publisher for Campus Life magazine. There I learned journalistic skills (there's no tougher audience than teenagers), but every year it seemed I wrote fewer and fewer words. In 1980 my wife Janet and I moved to downtown Chicago where I began a career as a freelance writer. (She has worked as a social worker and hospice chaplain--which gives me plenty of material to write about!) We lived there until 1992, when we moved to the foothills of Colorado. I've written around 20 books, most of them still in print, thankfully. Three of them I coauthored with Dr. Paul Brand, who influenced me more than any single person. My own favorites are "Soul Survivor" and "Reaching for the Invisible God" because both of them forced me to dig deep and get personal. I'm a pilgrim, still "in recovery" from a bad church upbringing, searching for a faith that makes its followers larger and not smaller. I feel overwhelming gratitude that I can make a living writing about the questions that interest me.

Please visit my website at www.philipyancey.com for more information, essays, events, travel notes, and a blog.

There is also an official Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/PhilipYancey?v=wall

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By J. F Foster on April 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
In this book, Philip Yancey writes candidly and passionately about the issue of grace. He focuses on God's grace, and what a grace filled Christian life should look like. In the process, he unapologetically points out examples of ungrace in the attitudes and behaviors of Christians, and talks about some of these people by name. Clearly, this is a book that was written not in pursuit of winning a popularity contest, but to squarely challenge the church on a number of fronts. For the most part, I think Yancey succeeds.
The strength of the book is clearly Yancey's treatment of both the grace of God and living a grace filled life. Yancey recounts personal experiences that stretch across a wide array of circumstances and episodes to bring home the point that our culture is desperately in a mood to find grace, and that this represents an enormous opportunity for the church. One of the key premises of the book is Yancey's belief that the Christian church is the only entity or system with the ability to offer grace to people, since God's grace, when Biblically practiced, turns many societal norms upside down. Yancey is therefore imploring the church to return to a grace system that no other system outside the church can offer, so that the masses in search of grace will find it in the church, rather than not finding it at all. I found this line of reasoning to be quite persuasive.
I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 because I felt that Yancey lost control of his subject matter a bit when discussing the relationship between the church and the state.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By ServantofGod on December 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was attracted to this book by the long list of recommendation on the back cover and the stamp that said it's the 1996 book of the year by a publisher association. As a Chinese born and living in Hong Kong, I took them as sheer American style marketing gimmick. The fact is, I had been 100% wrong.

I had read tens if not over a hundred Christian books and this is by far the best I ever picked. It had corrected many of my misunderstandings or ignorance about Jesus, His Grace and His teachings. Say, I can disagree with homosexuality, adultery, communism but I still have to love patients, victims and sinners as Jesus did. Non violent protest can still mean a lot as what Martin Luther King did. Legalism and perfectionism can do more harm than good in evangelistic sense coz humans tend to break rules innately, and rule-breaking will haunt somebody from church and God, and that of one hundred men one read the Bible and the ninty nine read Christians etc etc.

Some reviewers criticized that the author had tried to preach his own secular view instead of Jesus's teachings, to replace God's high grace with low human love and care, to win the approval of men at the expense of God's holiness blah blah blah. I assure you that all of these criticisms were wrong, and I sincerely hope that you can read the book through and judge yourself. You wont be disappointed and you may even be moved into tears on some chapters.

Below please find some copy and paste for your reference. Hope you like them.
Nowadays legalism has changed its focus. In a thoroughly secular culture, the church is more likely to show ungrace through a spirit of moral superiority or a fierce attitude toward opponents in the culture wars. The church also communicates ungrace through its lack of unity.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By mjanke on January 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Book of the Year winner, this is the best book, outside of the Bible, that I have ever read.
In WHAT'S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE, Yancey presents a radical picture of what grace, the last good word, really is. As usual, his writing style is very down to earth, human, empathetic, and insightful. Grace is unmerited favor; forgiveness when it is not deserved or earned. So how do we deal with the idea of grace in the context of things like Nazi Germany, KKK atrocities, and Columbine high school? Can we reconcile the two in our minds? We must, if we are to understand grace as it is presented in the Bible. Real grace is incredibly scandalous. But scandalous grace is what God demands of His church. Real grace forgives the unforgivable, loves the unlovable, and reaches even to the undesirable. And when such grace is given, the world sees Christ, for Christ's grace given to us is just as amazing.
Yancey's words are poignant but sometimes shocking, as it is difficult for the rational human mind to impart grace when we tend to so automatically demand justice (the old eye-for-an-eye idea). The conflict is worthy of the struggle, though, because the application of his ideas on grace is truly profound. The most beautiful part of this book is how it works on two levels. Understanding grace radically transforms the relationship between you and God, freeing you from the bondage of legalism and salvation-through-works. Grace also transforms the relationships between you and the world. This is not a relationship book, but it has affect me in that area more than anything that I have read, for if God can show such amazing grace to me who am I to treat my peers any differently? When grace is given and people are forgiven we find incredible freedom from the bondage of unforgiveness and bitterness on our hearts.
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