Friday, February 01, 2008
If Grace Is True
If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person by Phillip Gulley and James McLholland is the latest book that I finished. I am going to try to read a variey of books this year that will be very diverse in topic and hopefully challenge my mind with various theological perspectives.
They co-authored the book and di the writing in a fashion that you were unaware of who was writing. They did this because they did numerous personal illustrations and covered individuals that they had met in the past.
Overall, I thought the book was very excellent. Numerous times as I was reading the book, I was writing in the margins. There were things that I wowed. There were paragraphs that I wrote, " I need to chew on that" . In certain places, I wrote, " yeah, but what about ......". The one thing that I was impressed by was that eventually, they seemed to answer all the questions that I came up with.
Now, I am not saying that I agreed with their perspectives on all the issues after they explained them. But, through their reading, their writing and their wrestling with the text and their journey; I could see where they came to their conclusions.
There are probably a few posts that will come up in my writing over the next month or so concerning this book. I am not setting out to write on the book but the thoughts from the book will penetrate my thoughts and I will expound on them later.
Here are a few quotes from the book to give you a small glimpse of the writing:
So many people enter churches persuaded God is lurking in ambush. They come expecting fire and brimstone, and we've been all too willing to heap it on. We've slandard God's charachter too long. I regret the times I maniupulated and coerced others with sermons designed to shame and frighten rather than celebrate the love of God. I failed to appreciate the depth of God's love. (pg. 68)
In choosing grace over wrath, God laid the foundation of his kingdom upon forgiveness and reconciliation, not upon revenge or even justice. Grace is the bedrock of the kingdom. (pg. 80).
Salvation is not a matter of good works or right doctrine. Salvation is an act of God, born of his desire, ability and determination to redeem us. "He saved us not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy" (Titus 3:5).
Jesus championed grace and ridiculed the meticulous justice keeping of his righteous peers. He offered forgiveness so freely that when he forgave the sins of the paralytic, his opponents complained, "This fellow is blaspheming!" (Matthew 9:3). In any culture obsessed with balanced scales, grace will seem blasphemous. (pg. 127)
The problem with Christianity is we made it into a religion about Jesus rather than a commitment to be like him." We have lost our way. ( pg. 154)
The book is a very challenging book and one that will stretch your mind and thoughts. The premise of their work can be summed up in the following seven words: I believe God will save every person.