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by Philip Ryken
Publisher:IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Grace is a term that flows through the life of the church and is perhaps, much misunderstood as a result. Think of the many times we say "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ…" or welcome one another witth the words "Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father…" or even simply say grace at a meal. What is it that we are inviting ourselves and others to receive and why?
Phil Ryken's concise book sets out to answer these questions and he does so with a graciousness that is itself deeply invitational. Eight chapters take us through the building blocks of grace from our need for it through its diverse nature – powerful, generous, strengthening, abundant.
Grace may be a tough nut for Christians to understand because it is so multi-dimensional. It is about forgiveness and acceptance, and yet it is so much more too. It is about God's generosity and constancy, but that doesn't quite nail it either. The answer, of course, is in the title of Ryken's book. Grace is transforming. We know when we've received it but it often takes others to point out that we need it. And being a Christian doesn't lessen our need for God's grace – if there's a single theological idea that demolishes the division between those inside and outside the church, grace is it. We all need it.
Ryken's book was first given as a series of college addresses and this parochialism hasn't been removed in the editing process. That aside, this is an excellent book that many will find clarifies a topic that otherwise can appear too theological to touch.
Reviewer: David Ford (09/03/13)