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What's So Amazing About Grace? Hardcover – October 1, 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 645 customer reviews

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Amazon.com Review

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?

This grace is the true message of Jesus. All faiths have virtues and creeds and justice and truth, but Jesus speaks merely of receiving the love that God has for us. Accepting it, not earning it or making ourselves worthy of it. And frankly, accepting something we have not earned or are not worthy of is not an easy thing for most of us.

In truth, grace is both utterly simple and utterly confounding. Little by little, Yancey guides us into a clearer understanding of grace by using stories, in much the same way Jesus did. We read stories of both grace and ungrace at work in people's lives. Sadly, it is stories of ungrace that are more prevalent today, the current culture wars painful acknowledgments of ungrace in our lives as Christians in this country. Yancey helps us understand that ungrace is that state of being in which self-righteousness and pride are a result of thinking that we have somehow earned God's approval and may now stand in judgment in his behalf.

Philip Yancey was awarded the Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year award for this book in 1998 by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Readers concurred with this decision, making this book an immediate bestseller. Believers and nonbelievers alike should accept Yancey's challenge to become agents of grace rather than agents of vengeance or judgment or anger. In truth, we are each starving for grace, ready to grasp it tightly. And it is through grace that all other hungers--for justice, for righteousness, for love--are satisfied. Yancey opens his book by telling us that "grace" is the last best word, and in What's So Amazing About Grace?, he proves that he's right. --Patricia Klein

From the Publisher

The Jesus I Never Knew and What's So Amazing About Grace? have influenced the Christian church in a way few other books ever have. Both have ascended to the ranks of ongoing best-sellers. Both have won the Gold Medallion Book of the Year Award--fitting recognition for what may well be Philip Yancey's two most significant books to date. And now the previously abridged audio editions of these two remarkable works come unabridged. Read by professional narrator Bill Richards, here are Yancey's complete, passionate, personal insights into the person of Jesus and the nature of grace--with the convenience and flexibility of Zondervan Audio Pages. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; First Edition edition (October 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310213274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310213277
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (645 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have found myself telling people stories and quotes from this book so often that I figured it was time for me to throw my two cents out there. Philip Yancey has almost surpassed C.S. Lewis as the most insightful Christian writer I have read. And while as a philosopher I greatly appreciate the idea-based insight that Lewis provides, Yancey's works seem to offer more practical advice and help to answer the question: "How then should we live?" After reading this book, I can't see Grace anymore as just one of those things that's meant to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. I mean, Yancey's depictions often do bring those warm and fuzzy feelings, but more than that, it shows the unquestionable POWER and STRENGTH that is contained within grace. It's not just a nice, sweet little virtue that we do because it's easy. This book showed me that Grace is life changing and necessary. And when I read the part where the civil rights worker looks out the window and through laughter and tears first understands what grace really is, that was the moment when I truly began to understand what grace really is. And it truly is amazing.
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Format: Hardcover
Book of the Year winner, this is the best book, outside of the Bible, that I have ever read. Period. Here Yancey presents a radical picture of what Grace, the last good word, really is. As usual, his writing style is very down to earth, real, empathetic, and insightful. How do we deal with the idea of Grace combined with things like Nazi Germany, the KKK, and Columbine high school? Can we reconcile the two in our minds? We must, if we are to view Grace as it is truely presented in the Bible. Grace is scandelous. But scandelous Grace is what God demands of His church. Real Grace forgives the unforgiveable, loves the unloveable, and reaches even to the undesirable. And when true Grace is emparted, the world sees Christ, for Christ's Grace given to us is just as amazing. Yancey's words here are sometimes shocking, as it is difficult for the rational human mind to empart Grace when we automatically demand justice. But none the less, his words are Biblically true and so the challenge is for the church to apply these lessons. Read this book. Open your heart. Accept the Grace that God emparts to you and then empart Grace to those in your life. Learning to empart Grace, and in the process destroying the cycle of un-grace, will utterly change your world. There is no other book that I can recommend more to a Christian searching to be and love like Jesus. Five stars.
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Format: Hardcover
I have faithfully been part of a church and studying the bible for the last 20 years. I have a relationship with the Holy Spirit and have visited many churches, denominations, and religions. Though many churches have preached the gospel and spoke of God's grace, none have compared or grasped the understanding that Philip Yancey has seemed to capture in the book titled, "What's So Amazing About Grace?" It will not only make you truly understand God's Grace, but it will help to heal you from much pain and guilt, you yourself, other poeple, or even churches have placed on you. Too many churches preach the hard law and forget the whole point of the gospel...God's amazing, underserved grace! Oh, how refreshing and enlightening! Moses brought the law, Jesus brought truth and grace.
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Format: Hardcover
This could be one of the best "faith" books I have ever read. In a day and age where platitudes reign in sermons, Yancey is able to drill down into the core purpose of Christianity. His perspective on grace is refreshing, eye opening, and portrayed in way that entices you to want to learn more. One of my favorite excerpts which is the real premise of the book: Mark Twain used to talk about people who were "good in the worst sense of the word," a phrase that, for many, captures the reputation of Christians today. Recently, I have been asking a qustion of strangers when I strike up a conversation. "When I say the words 'evangelical Christian' what comes to mind?" In reply, mostly I hear political descriptions: of strident pro-life activists, or gay-rights opponents, or proposals for censoring the Internet. Not once - not once - have I heard a description redolent of grace. Apparently this is not the aroma Christians give off in the world.
...Yet somehow throughout history the church has managed to gain a reputation for its ungrace. As a little English girl prayer, "O God, make the bad people good and the good people nice."
Great book and a must read.
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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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