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Surprised By Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit Of Rebels
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Surprised By Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit Of Rebels

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  624 ratings  ·  69 reviews
God's compassion and pardon are utterly shocking in their lavish abundance--that's a lesson God himself pounded into the epic life-story of one man who kept resisting in whatever way he could. Surprised by Grace retells that man's true story--in a gripping presentation that will open readers' eyes wider than ever to God's relentless, purposeful, and inexhaustible grace. ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published 2010 by Crossway
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May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very good book on the book of Jonah. A wonderful reminder of the grace of God for broken, angry, weary missionaries.
Marylin VanAusdall Schaub
Best study of Jonah ever
Julie Biles
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While Jonah is a familiar story, Tchividjian's retelling is refreshingly unique and amazingly insightful. The themes of the the book of Jonah, I have always heard have been primarily about this prophet and his disobedience: how he ended up in the belly of a big fish or whale for three days and then was miraculously spewed out. Then he went on to the evil city Nineveh, though he did not want the people to really repent nor did he want God's anger to relent, he only wanted justice! He was all abou ...more
Philip Worrall
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
In many ways, this is the OT equivalent of Tim Keller's NT masterpiece, Prodigal God. Tullian walks us through the book of Jonah and shows morally self-righteous rebels our desperate need for grace. He builds on the work of men such as Jack Miller, Tim Keller and Jerry Bridges by bringing the gospel into all of life. Christians of all generations should read this book. It not only confronts self-righteous rebellion, but it also offers gospel-centered hope. The gospel is the power of God for salv ...more
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For those who have been a rebel or have a child who has rebelled, this book is full of hope. At the core, we are all rebels who have been pursued by God's grace and redeemed. This book takes the reader through the OT book of Jonah, pointing out that all Christians are Jonahs. We cannot escape God's grace and His pursuit of us. This book give s a clear presentation that the Gospel is so much more than what most of us think. The Gospel empowers Christians to live daily in the shadow of the cross. ...more
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Pastor Tullian Tchividian's newest book, Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels, published by Crossway, is a unique, gospel-centered study of the book of Jonah. After encouraging us to set aside "the notion that Jonah is primarily a story about a man gulped down by a fish", he takes us verse by verse through the book, showing us that the story of Jonah reveals both God's heart and our own, explicitly contrasting them in a way no other story in the Bible does. Through the use of l ...more
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
"The gospel doesn't just ignite the Christian life; it's the fuel that keeps the Christian going every day."

Tullian Tchividjian brings fresh perspective to the Old Testament story of Jonah in his new book, Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels. The central character in Tchividjian's book is Jonah the prophet. The story does not begin with Jonah as a hero nor does it end that way. In fact, Jonah's story ends rather abruptly as Tchividjian points out a little more than
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it
*** While I will keep this review here as an honest account of my first impressions, I no longer would personally recommend this book to others. The content of the book has not changed. But since this book's publication, I believe the author has harmed the usefulness of this book and his teaching on grace through a public fall and scandal which threatens to push his handling of a biblical understanding of grace and our call to repentance beyond biblical bounds. Thus, I believe readers should fin ...more
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It’s one of the most familiar stories in the Old Testament. All Christians know it. Most non-Christians have at least heard of it (if they’ve watched the movie Master and Commander, for example). Some may mock it, but there’s a fascination with the story of Jonah. God tells this guy to go preach doom to some people. He doesn’t want to go and leaves on a ship so God works it out so a whale swallows him alive. After praying inside the whale, the guy is spit out on the beach. Then, he goes to preac ...more
Jun 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian-living
Knowing a little of the background of the author, I honestly thought that this book would be a little auto-biographical. However, this book is about Jonah.

But in turn, Tullian ultimately uses the book to cause the story of Jonah to be about God. A strong selling point is that God could have used any other prophet or person to go to Nineveh, but why did he keep going after Jonah--especially when it doesn't seem that Jonah gets it? He's doing all these actions on the outside, but his h
Jon Stephens
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
In preparation for an upcoming sermon series on the Book of Jonah I read Tullian Tchividjian’s book “Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels”.

Surprised by Grace has a great flow to it and goes through the Book of Jonah chapter by chapter and verse by verse, but it doesn’t read like a traditional commentary. Although there is plenty of explanation of cultural context and words, there is also plenty of application and it reads smooth like a book and not just a reference
A.C. Bauch
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the leisurely journey through the book of Jonah, as well as the included artistic depictions of the story. Phillip Ratner's sculpture Jonah particularly captivated me.

However, this book was compiled from a sermon series, and it often reads as such. I felt the text suffered from an overreliance on quotations from other sources, which made the book seem more like a graduate thesis and which I found distracting. If I had interest in knowing what so many other authors thought about
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm a fan of Tullian. His voice is an important one, and he gets and preaches grace more than most. That said, I did not like this book. It reads like a middle of the road evangelical devotional with simplistic understandings and emotional appeals that have all the subtlety of a study bible.

Plus, I reject the outstanding premise that comes up over and over: love God, or he'll fucking kill you and send you to hell. But, shouldn't we live as if there is a God and be wrong, then live as
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"The story of Jonah shows us that this gospel of the cross--the good news that God relentlessly pursues sinners in order to rescue them--is just as much for Christians as it is for non-Christians. Jonah's life proves this, because Jonah, who knows God, obviously needs divine deliverance as much as anyone else in the story. In fact, his need for rescue gets far more emphasis than anyone else's. it's his destitution , not that of the Ninevites, that gets the most play. That alone should be enough ...more
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book has misnomer written all over it.

The whole book is written about the story of Jonah, which is one of the more powerful stories of grace in the Bible. But ultimately, the book isn't really about grace, it's just about Jonah. Grace is simply here mentioned on various occasions.

Not really impressed with the depth of this book. All I would say is that I think the theology behind it is reliable, and it's a short read. Someone will like it and benefit from reading it,
Mar 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
My full review can be read at Blogging Theologically:

he book of Jonah is one of the most captivating in the Old Testament. The rebellious prophet has inspired more art than nearly any other Old Testament figure, and his story has been told and retold repeatedly in the centuries since the events first occurred.

But Jonah is not only a tale of a prophet on the run—it’s one of the clearest depictions of the gospel in the Old Testament. And in Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Re
Jen Dalton
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels (Tullian Tchividjian; Crossway 2010). Pastor Tullian moves artfully through the book of Jonah, pointing out gospel landmarks and Jesus-sightings along the way. Surprised by Grace is moving and powerful as it reminds us that it's grace all the way down - God's unthinkable grace to Jonah; His scandalous grace to the Ninevehites; God's amazing grace to you and me; His immeasurable grace both to reckless rule-breakers and legalistic rule-makers. ...more
Becky Pliego
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
A favorite. Loved how he goes through the story of Jonah.
I appreciated very much the art images through the book.

"When we run away from God, his response is more likely to be stormy and upsetting than quiet and subtle."

"Jesus is really God's 'great wind,' his 'mighty tempest' in response to human running and rebellion. Jesus is the storm. Jesus is God's gracious intervention for those who are enslaved to themselves. He comes loudly not subtly, with an aggressive affection to p
Pamela Hubbard
May 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, faith
This study of Jonah focuses on God's grace despite our constant sin and heart issues. It was an interesting study and I appreciated aspects of Tullian's thoughts, but overall, the book lacked tightness and focus. It felt a bit all over the place and it was sometimes hard to follow the thoughts. There were also many moments where it felt like the author was on the verge of some major deep thought or revelation, and then he just switched to a new idea. It was thought-provoking, but not what I expe ...more
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The writer takes his readers on a picturesque journey through the book of Jonah. Fascinating historical details and excellent illustrations are made that all point the reader to a deeper understanding of this wonderful book of Scripture. All in all, Tullian expresses that sin is man running from God and grace is God chasing him. Grace, then, is found in the storm, in the fish, and in the heat of the sun. Though fugitives from grace, we find mercy by turning, as did the Ninevites, to Him alone!
Feb 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
The author did a good job breaking down the book of Jonah and I gleaned a few insights I had never before considered. Most of the book is really just a compilation of quotes from other sources, which is alright but I was also hoping for more original content. It's mostly just a compiled bible study on Jonah. This doesn't invalidate it, though. He does a nice job tying in the Gospel and pointing to Jesus throughout the book, which is good. Overall, it would be probably be a good book for a group ...more
Chad Jowers
Aug 08, 2013 rated it liked it
As most of his works, Tchividjian (no one can spell that without looking" helps us realize what Robert Capon made clear...that we are the saints that should be "blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distilate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly."
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book has transformed the childhood tale of 'Jonah and the Whale' into one of my favorite stories in the bible because of how it exemplifies the true essence of humanity. God allows us to make choices, and to ultimately make mistakes through our own self-centeredness, so that we experience His love and wisdom through grace.
James Kim
A fantastic read on the book of Jonah. Jonah is much more than a story about a man who got swallowed up by a giant fish. No other book in the Bible is as clear on why God sent Jesus to die for a rebellious people. Jonah is the clearest explanation of God's amazing grace. The reality is that our sin is great, but God's grace is greater.

A fantastic book on grace. Well worth a read.
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
The irony in reading this book was the situation the author now finds himself in and my approach to him. This was a great reminder of who God really is and the grave he offers. A humbling read as I was reminded of how quickly I may want God to extend judgment but really we get his mercy and should desire that.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it

The art criticism was a waste of pages. I don't see how studying artistic interpretation of Jonah in paint and statue helps us understand the text. Also, it sometimes reads like free-association journal entries based on reading the text of Jonah, instead of a systematized commentary progressing through the text.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I picked up this book because I was preaching through Jonah, because Tullian T has a good reputation, and because it was in the bargain bin! It turned out to be a great combination -- verse by verse examination of Jonah coupled with a Christ-centred examination of grace and rebellion. I enjoyed his references to Jonah inspired artwork too.
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-read
Tullian combined many thoughts on the story of Jonah, from art and other theologians including Pipe and Keller. I enjoyed the book but I didn't get a lot of original/new thought from it.

Worth reading, especially if you are interested in learning more about the meaning of Jonah's story.
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Tchividjian is the grandchild of Reverend Billy Graham & Ruth Bell Graham & the son of Gigi Graham Tchividjian.

William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) was the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. A Florida native, he is a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and a grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham. Tullian was the
“God's ability to clean things up is infinitely greater than our ability to mess things up.” 40 likes
“God's capacity to forgive is greater than our capacity to sin; while our sin reaches far, God's grace reaches farther. It's a message revealing the radical contrast between the sinful heart of mankind and the gracious heart of mankind's Creator.” 19 likes
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