When I received the opportunity to review Vanishing Grace, by Philip Yancey, I was seriously excited. This new title from Philip Yancey is a follow-up book to his book, “What’s so Amazing about Grace?” which was first published in 1997, which is the year that I became a Christian.
At that time the Christian Church at large read with great interest his premise and concerns regarding “Grace” and how we find it amazing that God would extend “Grace” to a sinful people. He initially had titled that book, “What’s so Amazing about Grace, and Why Don’t Christians Show More of It?” but dropped the last eight words from the title at the request of the publisher. As he so poignantly points out, though, the question has only become more urgent in the years that have since passed.
Vanishing Grace explores how Christians live in the midst of hostility and rejection today, which is interesting to consider. As the public opinion on Christianity swan dives, and the interest in spirituality soars, Christians are forced to consider how it is we’ve lost the respect, influence, and reputation that we once knew. Furthermore, we must explore how it is that we are to remain relevant in a post-Christian culture and how we can communicate faith in a way that appeals to future generations.
In the first chapter, Yancey writes about the great divide and uses C.S. Lewis analogy of communicating faith in secular Britain.
“…I thought back to C.S. Lewis’s analogy of communicating faith in secular Britain. It’s the difference between courting a divorcee and a virgin, Lewis told a friend in a letter. A divorcee won’t easily fall for sweet nothings from a suitor–she’s already heard them all before– and has a basic distrust of romance…”
As I read that, I couldn’t help but think of the many people I know that have a basic distrust or dislike of Christians. They, too, are like the divorcee. In most of them, their abhorrence for Christian’s can be linked back to a time when they felt let down or abused by someone of faith. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. I even have family members that have such a profound disdain for Christianity as a whole that I am often confounded that they will even speak to me, knowing my own faith. With them, I may as well be speaking to a brick wall rather than try to speak of my faith. Instead, I must live it and let my life speak the words they will not hear from my lips.
As Yancey writes, “Whoever desires to remain faithful to Jesus must communicate faith as he did, not by compelling assent but by presenting it as a true answer to basic thirst.” Vanishing Grace is a must read for all Christians who wish to have a true and lasting impact on the culture around them.
Vanishing Grace is available on Amazon and at some local retailers.