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What's So Amazing About Grace?

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  39,584 ratings  ·  1,054 reviews
Original Cover Edition for ISBN 0310245656

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
Paperback, Original Cover Edition for ISBN 0310245656, 304 pages
Published February 17th 2002 by Zondervan (first published January 1st 1997)
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 ·  39,584 ratings  ·  1,054 reviews

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Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
- Madeleine l’Engle

What’s so amazing about grace - really?

Well, for starters, it can pull you out of a desperately Heartless Void into a life of inner abundance and living love.

It can plant a seed that will grow enormously, give you rest and shelter, and nourish your parched soul FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

And that’s saying a lot.

The world is ugly. Grace is n
Edward Waters
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
As I remember, he never fully resolves the issue/reason for writing the book.
Nov 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Chris McGrath
This book contains a good exploration of the concept of grace, not from a heavy theological perspective but a simpler, practical one, by presenting many modern examples of grace in action along side Biblical references. Some of these were very compelling to me and some fell kind of flat for me, just based on the kinds of stories that interest me.

But overall I enjoyed the book and was inspired by it. I would not say it contains anything groundbreaking for someone not new to Christianity, but jus
Tom Brennan
May 29, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A review of this book from my blog series on grace...

In my discussion earlier in this series of Paul's seminal statement, Ye are not under the law, but under grace I mentioned Philip Yancey's influential book, "What's So Amazing About Grace?" I alluded to the fact that it, along with a few other original works and a whole bunch of copycats, have twisted much of American Christianity's concept of grace into something wholly unrecognizable to our forefathers. In so saying, I am not overstating its
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was ok

THE GOOD: Not much.

THE BAD: Does not clearly define grace and it just seemed to me like he was constantly walking around the subject the whole time. Was not very interesting, although occasionally inspirational. Would not particularly recommend.

THE UGLY: Almost did not finish reading this book. Don't waste your time.
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. Grace is amazing. More thoughts soon.


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
Josh Crews
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
An easy to read book about one of my favorite words in the English language. It only took so long to read because I hid my Kindle from the GKid then forgot where. But it's the kind of book you can pick up anytime and jump back in. Yancey is a natural story teller and I felt encouraged and enlightened by his examples of grace. Four and a half stars ...more
Jim B
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Wendy Hall
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Ali M
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Grace is something that is incredibly simple in theory, deeply personal and very difficult to implement in our everyday lives. Grace is the defining element of Christianity and it is beautiful. Yet, the idea that we are loved and there is nothing that we can do that will change that love is met with skepticism at best and usually suspicion. Yancey makes it clear how very beautiful and simple Grace is. But he also covers "Grace Abuse" and forgiveness. All of this was thought provoking and inspire ...more
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-on-kindle
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
Jun 13, 2008 rated it did not like it
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.

Oftentimes, when I write a review like this, the post modern challenge is: "Do
Apr 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Daughters Of Abraham

Arlington Group: Many members selected this book as the best of the year. Members from all three faith traditions felt strongly that it brought a lot to our understanding and stimulated an excellent discussion. It helped provide a springboard to explore concepts related to forgiveness, universal love, ultimate judgment and sin.
One measure of a good DoA book might be the frequency with which it comes up in future discussions and by that measure, this book is a success. Yancey uses many personal
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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!
Oliviana Tugui
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed his exposition of grace as much as the many examples. Particularly, the example when Mother Theresa was present at the Prayer Breakfast with President Clinton and shamed everyone about the abortion in the US, saying that she would take all those babies, and no one dared to question her.
The true story about the repugnant serial killer was definite one I had to think about. Would I be able to accept the repentance of such a man and offer grace? Not many can, to this day.
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jessica Alexander
Jul 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual
I love the parallel he draws near the end of the book between small groups and AA meetings. Someone I'm close to once criticized small groups knowing I lead one because they seemed inauthentic to her. She thought it seemed formulaic that those groups demand honesty (I think she phrased it more like "they want to know your shame and darkest secrets") so that you cry and hug things out and grow friendships and bonds together. I was kind of baffled at how to respond. But it isn't just Christian gro ...more
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very insightful book that required many self-reflection during the readings. This book thoroughly explains what the word grace is how important it is to Jesus' message. Once we understand the gravity and importance of grace, we can true live the way Christ wanted us to and see the world through a different lens. Even though this book was written in the late 90s, the message and stories are ever so relevant.

I will definitely be reading this book again!
Ian Smith
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Timeless in message, and ought to be dated in anecdotes, but surprisingly remains extraordinarily contemporary in his overview of the gracelessness of the evangelical right.

Yet the real value of this powerful book remains in his examples of those who practice graceful living rather than those who sadly choose a graceless life.
This is one of the most important books I have read about Christian spirituality. Yancey digs back to the heart of the Christian gospel: that grace is a gift freely given by God and needed by all of us. While reading this book I cried from sorrow about my own depravity and from joy because my life can be made new. As a Christian, my purpose is not to judge or damn the world, but view it through "grace tinted lenses". Very good book. Very life-changing. ...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
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  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
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Michael Decamp
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is now my second full reading of this fantastic book! If you come from a Christian faith background, you need to read this book! If you come from a church background that was performance-oriented, you really need to read this book! I can speak from experience. Being someone who has made the journey of passing through the treacherous roads of legalistic, performance-based church organizations, an accurate and growing understanding of the grace of God is critical to the health and wellbeing o ...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

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