Monday, July 4, 2011

Book: "The Grace of God"

This book review was first published on YAPDATES here. I warmly recommend this book for your reading and practice.


Book Review: "The Grace of God" (Andy Stanley)

TITLE: The Grace of God
Author: Andy Stanley
Published: Thomas-Nelson, 2010.
Reviewed by: Conrade Yap

The Grace of GodThis is by far one of the best books on the subject of grace. Arguably, it can be even be ranked together with Philip Yancey's "What's So Amazing About Grace?" Deeply biblical, highly applicable and wonderfully quotable, Stanley has given the Christian public a wonderful and important gift with insights on God's grace in the Old Testament and the New Testament. He starts off well by addressing the position of grace.

"When we are on the receiving end, grace is refreshing. When it is required of us, it is often disturbing. But when correctly applied, it seems to solve just about everything. Contrary to what is sometimes taught, the opposite of grace is not law. As we will discover, God's law is actually an extension of grace. The opposite of grace is simply the absence of grace. " (xiii)

What the Book is About

Grace acknowledges both the seriousness of sin, as well as the magnaminity of grace and mercy. The whole Bible is in itself a Tour de France of grace. Stanley highlights the essence of grace through the biblical characters of Adam, Abraham, Judah, Joshua, Rahab, David, Jonah, Nicodemus, Samaritans, Paul and others. He packs his insights by allowing the reader to walk their doubts alongside. Gently, like popping the lid of a coffee can, he acknowledges the hard Mosaic laws God seems to demand out of the Israelites. Then he guides us to appreciate the aroma of grace coming off the laws of God, to reveal the heart of the law: God's grace. One of my favourite quotes deal with the purpose of discipline, and how God's law is an extension of grace.
"To a child all discipline feels like a curse, but to the parent, it's a way to teach two important lessons: disobedience has consequences, and obedience leads to freedom." (15)
My Comments
I love the way Stanley weaves in his interpretation of the Old Testament narratives through the lens of grace. He makes the ancient Old Testament books come alive with fresh and modern new applications. One of my favourites is the way he expounds the Ten Commandments.

"... the Ten Commandments do no stand in contrast to grace; they are introduced within the story of God's grace." (53)
For those who sees the Old Testament as a rigid rule book, it will be important to remember that the Israel of old does not have any laws like we do in modern times. In other words, at a time when Israel is in disarray and without law and order, God by his grace and mercy gave them laws to keep their own house in order. Giving the law is an act of grace.

Personally, I think that while Stanley does well in the Old Testament exposition on grace, the part from the New Testament is not as strong, except for the final chapter on the parable of the Prodigal Son. This last chapter, "How Sweet the Sound" is worth the price of the book. Now I learn to read that parable as the parable of the two sons instead.

This book is definitely my book of the month for November.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, IncAvailable October 2010 at your favourite bookseller."

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