Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Tome - Vanishing Grace

Advent Season begins on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. That means I'll be starting a new teaching series at Valley Christian Church which will take us from November 30 through December 28. The central theme of the series, Comfort and Joy, is to assert that as the people of God, the community of the redeemed, the church should be an abundant source of joy and comfort in a world where so many are weary and broken. We will explore ways to receive and experience the grace of God and at the same time be a wellspring of that grace for others.

Philip Yancey's new book, Vanishing Grace, is one of the books I'm reading to challenge and inspire me as I prepare these sermons. I'll be drawing upon some of his ideas and recommending the book as companion reading to my series. Below is the publisher's description of the book.

Yancey’s writing has focused on the search for honest faith that makes a difference for a world in pain. In his landmark book What’s So Amazing about Grace he issued a call for Christians to be as grace-filled in their behavior as they are in declaring their beliefs.

But people inside and outside the church are still thirsty for grace. What the church lacked in its heyday is now exactly what it needs to recover to thrive. Grace can bring together Christianity and our post-Christian culture, inviting outsiders as well as insiders to take a deep second look at why our faith matters and about what could reignite its appeal to future generations.

How can Christians offer grace in a way that is compelling to a jaded society? And how can they make a difference in a world that cries out in need?

Yancey aims this book at Christian readers, showing  them how Christians have lost respect, influence, and reputation in a newly post-Christian culture. “Why do they hate us so much?” mystified Americans ask about the rest of the world.  A similar question applies to evangelicals in America.

Yancey explores what may have contributed to hostility toward Evangelicals, especially in their mixing of faith and politics instead of embracing more grace-filled ways of presenting the gospel.  He offers illuminating stories of how faith can be expressed in ways that disarm even the most cynical critics.  Then he explores what is Good News and what is worth preserving in a culture that thinks it has rejected Christian faith.

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