Friday, November 14, 2014

Vanishing Grace


Review by Steve

Philip Yancey, obviously, is not afraid of a challenge.  In VANISHING GRACE: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE GOOD NEWS?, Yancey takes on the entire population of modern-day Pharisees . . . that populate the pews of the 21st Century mainstream denominational churches.  People who are content, complacent, and contemptuous of those who don’t attend “their” church, or believe the way “they” believe.  And he does so in a journalistic fashion; asking questions, searching for answers . . . and yes, reporting the truth as it is, not how we would like it to be.

It’s a difficult book to get into.  I had to re-start it several times, before it started clicking for me.  You see, I’m probably one of those modern-day Pharisees.  I want the people to walk through the door, and sit down in the pew, and listen to me.  Do I work hard at preparing messages from the Word of God?  Absolutely – ask my family.  After a 40-hour week job, and preparing for Sundays and Wednesday evenings, the only time they see me is in church. 

But Yancey has shown me, through this book, that things need to change.  Scripture calls us to be salt and light to a lost and dying world.  We are to shine the light of the gospel – but in order for light to be effective, it has to reach the optical sensory receptors of another person.  Light shown in a closet – read “church,” – isn’t going to do anybody else any good.  Salt seasons the Word of God, but it also serves as a preservative – and it makes people thirsty for more.  But the salt isn’t going to do any good if it doesn’t come in contact with the taste buds of another person.

A city set on a hill cannot be hid; unless it is draped in the camouflage of traditional programs and dry-as-dust presentations.

In another challenging book (the author is simply known as Fynn) entitled MISTER GOD, THIS IS ANNA, the precocious 6-year old engages Fynn in a simple, yet profound, conversation:
          “Fynn . . . why do people go to church?”
          “Fynn:  Well, I suppose to learn about God.”
          “Anna:  Well then . . . WHY DO THEY KEEP GOING BACK?  I think it’s because they didn’t get Him in the first place . . . or they’re just pretending.”

For Anna . . . and I feel, for Philip Yancey . . . once you get God, you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life giving Him away. 

The good news isn’t good news . . . until someone gets the good news.

5 stars for a challenging book that will change your life for the better

VANISHING GRACE; Whatever Happened To The Good News
Philip Yancey
Religion / Christian Life / Inspirational
298 pages
$22.99 U.S.

1 comment:

Judy said...

Great review and post Steve!

Judy B