What's So Amazing about Grace?
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What's So Amazing about Grace?

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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  19,898 ratings  ·  636 reviews
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 ears — and out of one man's grief, the world got a glimpse o...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 17th 2002 by Zondervan (first published January 1st 1997)
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Edward Waters
STILL one of the best books I've ever read, of ANY genre -- also one of the few I've read as many as FIVE times (so far), most recently aloud with my wife, who has long struggled with clinical depression and was deeply encouraged by this work.

I've been a Christian for some forty years and have found much 'religious' writing unbearable, particularly that written over the past century (with certain notable exceptions). In an age glutted with so-called 'Christian' politics, posturing, and propagand...more
Jonathan
Few books reveal the core of what the grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ is in its frightening, glorious, unparalled nature. Yancey comes very close to doing so in using an array of diverse, complex, beautiful, and amazing stories to illustrate the true grace of the gospel. These stories aren't cheesy, long-winded, and annoying--as many Christian books succumb to when authors seek to illustrate spiritual/Christian concepts through stories--but are transparent, beautiful, sometimes shocking, and...more
Marie
Feb 14, 2008 Marie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Marie by: Holly
Yancey is thorough in his examples of grace. He uses his own life experiences, everything from being part of a racist church as a child to interviewing President Clinton to dissect grace. Yancey is clear, grace is the true message of Jesus and today's Christians as a whole are not doing a great job of relaying this message. Grace is the idea that God loves us--all of us--no matter what; no one has to earn God's love. Yancey presents many ways in which the world needs grace. His argument is power...more
Lynai
Amazing. Grace is amazing. More thoughts soon.

***UPDATE***

Also posted in It's A Wonderful Bookworld.

Except for work-related readings, I rarely read non-fiction books, and if I indeed find myself reading one, it would always be Christian literature. The first time I encountered Philip Yancey was through his book, Disappointment with God, and it was during one of the tumultuous moments of my life. That book did not answer the questions I had that time, but it made me feel that I was not alone in m...more
Josh Crews
I got the "visual" edition of this book from Stephie right after I became a Christian in South Africa. (Later I read the full edition)

So I got to dwell by myself in Africa with a Bible, this book, and an RC Sproul book.

The visual pages of What's So Amazing About Grace unfolded as amazing news! Is this really true? God has pardoned dirty criminals through the death of his Son? It's free? No pre-requisites? It's just... by grace? My death sentence for hating God has been paid for by another... whi...more
Jim B
As Yancy usually does, he tackles the hard issues, especially "ungrace" among Christians. He quotes a prostitute about church, "Church! Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They'd just make me feel worse." The first section is a beautiful exposition of grace. Yancy uses "Babette's Feast" as a model of grace. C.S. Lewis overheard a debate about Christianity's unique contribution to the world and he responded, "That's easy: Grace." This book establishes the uniqu...more
Petrea
The author is, I gather, popular in evangelical Christian circles. He has some really profound things to say. He starts out by discussing the grace of God and he selects certain parables and examples to make his point that God's grace is boundless, and his forgiveness beyond anything we can imagine. Then he devotes the rest of the book to talking about how much grace--or lack of grace--Christians actually exemplify in their doctrines and lives. He grew up in the southern part of the United State...more
Jason
So, this took me a LONG TIME to read. Part of it is Yancey's writing. I can't quite place my finger on it...but it is just difficult to get through at times. I enjoyed the stories that he used throughout the book as illustrations of the various aspects of grace that he wanted to explore, but once those were through and he dove into the subject, it just seemed to stall a little for me.

As to the topic of grace. I thought it was a great exploration and discussion. I reminder of how easily we all f...more
Mel
Dec 19, 2009 Mel rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Mel by: Jupiter Tecson
Shelves: christian, borrowed
This is one of the books that I both like and hate. I agree to how Philip Yancey portrays the "Christians" he has encountered. Many of those who call themselves Christians seem to have an attitude of hate rather than love; who are bent on making rules and making sure everybody follows it, an "modern day pharisee". Then again I disagree with the general definition of grace in the book. Instead of the true essence of grace, it was defined as license, a point exemplified with the story of when the...more
Sparhawk
Definitely one of the most moving, and thoughtful books I've read. The author, Philip Yancey, writes in a very down to earth, easy to follow manner about what grace truly is. Using stories, and examples of situations that happened in his and other peoples lives, he is able to paint us a picture of how truly awesome the power of grace is. One that I think many of us can easily relate to, as we learn how lucky we are to have the opportunity of Grace.

It is a truly humbling read, and I'd recommend i...more
Ebookwormy
I read this book for a book club and strongly disliked it. To me, it was a testimony as to why a journalist should not write theology. I found his thinking to be sloppy, uninformed, and lacking Biblical basis. All of this said, I cannot deny that it fostered a great deal of conversation, and that some of his thoughts were challenging. Just make sure you read a good dose of your Bible before you read Yancy's anecdotes.
John
yancey is one of those guys that is a closet liberal that writes to a conservative right-wing audience. i'm glad that he's stayed a part of the ccm movement in order to influence it with his experiences and perspectives. i also enjoyed his reflective, pseudo-contemplative style throughout this book (making it a post-modern hit).
Mariya
Yancey is my favorite Christian writer. This book explains grace and how there is nothing we can do to make God love us any more or less. He simply loves us, regardless of anything. From his grace towards us, we can then learn to be graceful to others - become less judgemental, more forgiving, and significantly more at peace with life.
Sam Kang
Grace is such an overlooked word in the modern english language but it is the peculiar distinction that separates the Christian faith apart from all other religions. When Christians stop and actually investigate the Bible, we find that the Bible is littered with grace, beginning all the way in Genesis!
Sandy
I never really "got" grace until reading this. It's a faith altering concept that challenged and changed the very core of what I believed.

2009 Note: Read this again with a bible study group. Still a great book and led to lots of intense discussion.
Ron
Even if you think you know the answer, read Yancey's take on it.
Wendy Hall
I believe this is my third time reading this book. I read it when it first came out in 1997. At that time, it totally rocked me. Caused me to look at my faith and grace in a much different way. Soon thereafter, I read it again, desiring to internalize these truths. This must be the first time I have read it in over a decade and I am glad to say, all it did now was confirm and solidify my beliefs and understanding of Christ.

So, so much I could say about how this book, written from a very intelle...more
Dani
Feb 08, 2012 Dani rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
This book has honestly changed my perspective on Christianity, religion, politics and my own relationship with Jesus.

All too often Christians are viewed as being critical, judgmental, unforgiving, harsh, condemning and downright mean. Yet everything in Jesus' life showcased grace. If I am supposed to be living as an example of Christ to the rest of the world, why do I so often miss the boat when it comes to grace? There were very few instances in the Bible that Jesus responded to situations the...more
Sasha
Two words: great book.

Not everyone will necessarily agree with everything Yancey says (he deals in part with controversial issues in our society). However, Yancey seeks to help the reader better understand this gift of God that is the only reason behind our continued existence. By re-telling several true stories (most of them are actually NOT the classic "forgiveness" stories) and pointing out insights from Scripture, he hopes that the reader will truly learn what it means to extend grace-- and...more
David
Yancey first strums the sweet sound of grace through the retelling of a story called Babette’s Feast. Through this story, you’ll be deeply impressed with the power of grace to heal and turn around a calcified religious community. Then, having grounded us in the concept that the world can do all things that the church can do except dispense grace, he treats us to two sides of Jesus’ teaching on the subject: His parables (he modernizes them) and His life and teaching (he satirizes them), making th...more
Janna
A fabulous treatise on grace following the same progression Paul takes in Romans. Yancey does a marvelous job unpacking what grace is and what it isn't, then applies it to real people and situations.

I loved the easy-to-grasp language, personal examples, and stories that supported the grace explanation. My only small complaint is the focus on politics especially in chapters 16-18. It was a bit boggy. But, I see that Yancey's background is politics and can appreciate the fact that America needs gr...more
Jeff Stevens
Yancey's just slightly ahead of his time. In 1997 he realizes there's a sickness at the heart of American Fundamentalism's soul, even if he misdiagnoses a vicious pneumonia as a cold. Unlike Gabe Lyons (unChristian) writing several years later, Yancey's honest enough to know that what the cult needs is more than a better PR job. He is even honest enough to allow that Fundamentalism's approach to belief may not be perfect, a difficult assertion for a member of a movement that values obedience to...more
Danny
Mar 07, 2010 Danny rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
I enjoyed this fresh look at grace. Some of my favorite quotes include:
In my experience, rejoicing and gladness are not the first images that come to mind when people think of the church. They think of holier-than-thous. They think of church as a place to go after you have cleaned up your act, not before. They think of morality, not grace. "Church!" said the prostitute, "Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They'd just make me feel worse."
I rejected the church...more
Emily
I really enjoyed this book. Yancy offers some great insights into the power of "grace" that seems so lost upon the church these days. He does a great job reminding readers of the revolutionary nature of this concept and just what's so amazing about it.

I didn't necessary come out with a totally clear action plan of how to live a more grace-full life but God really used this book to challenge me in my thinking and realize how different my life would be if I really understood His grace for me. I w...more
Kimberly B.
Apr 17, 2012 Kimberly B. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Christians, especially those who think they're better than other people
I read this for the in-person book club I'm in. I really liked Yancey's message throughout the book, namely that the unique characteristic of Christianity is the offering of grace and that Christians need to practice forgiveness the way they did back in Jesus's time. I completely agree with Yancy that society's prevailing impression of Christians is that they're a bunch of judgmental exclusionists rather than grace-filled, generous people. I'm a Christian, but I sometimes inwardly cringe when I...more
James Wilson
WOW, whether you are a Christian or not this book is an amazing, thought provoking and challenging read.

What can Christianity bring to the world which is unique? Grace, the unfair, undeserved, totally illogical gift, that we are so bad at sharing.

This is not a deep academic about all the aspects of Grace, its an exploration of what grace is, why we need it, and why its hard to accept and to show. Shown through real life stories, and quotes. This book challenged me to the core of my beliefs, abou...more
Patty
This was an incredible book about the power of grace. Yancey is well-read, and delves deeply into the subject with multiple real-life examples of grace administered, and how it changes the lives of those touched by it. It smacks into the face of much of the tactics of this world. The examples demonstrate how acts of kindness, forgiveness and love are what change people and truly minister to the needs of this world. While many practice ruthlessness and ambition to meet their goals, it is the pati...more
Lisa
Philip Yancey is one of my very favorite Christian authors. I loved his book "Prayer" and now this one. I can't wait to read the rest. This book has so many great things to say - such as:

God dispenses gifts, not wages.
In the realm of grace, the word DESERVE does no even apply.
The only thing harder than forgiveness is the alternative.
Believers who are most desperate about themselves are the ones who express most forcefully their confidence in grace.

And so on. Oh, read it. It's just wonderful!
Mike
This book is very well rated on goodreads, and is widely well regarded in Christian circles, but I'm afraid that I was disappointed by it. It was my first Philip Yancy book, so I'm not really sure what I was expecting. And I certainly don't disagree with the main premise: that grace is central to the gospel, something that the world desires and only the church can offer, and something we desperately need to get better at. Probably at least some of my disappointment is from high expectations. And...more
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A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Philip Yancey earned graduate degrees in Communications and English from Wheaton College Graduate School and the University of Chicago. He joined the staff of Campus Life Magazine in 1971, and worked there as Editor and then Publisher. He looks on those years with gratitude, because teenagers are demanding readers, and writing for them taught him a lasting principle:...more
More about Philip Yancey...
The Jesus I Never Knew Where Is God When It Hurts? Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud Soul Survivor: How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church

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“God loves people because of who God is, not because of who we are.” 38 likes
“Having spent time around "sinners" and also around purported saints, I have a hunch why Jesus spent so much time with the former group: I think he preferred their company. Because the sinners were honest about themselves and had no pretense, Jesus could deal with them. In contrast, the saints put on airs, judged him, and sought to catch him in a moral trap. In the end it was the saints, not the sinners, who arrested Jesus.” 27 likes
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