pátek 13. září 2013

Book review: Grace by Max Lucado

There is a little wonder that Max Lucado is so popular and revered writer. His books are always very readable and fresh, so while you devour the content, you also enjoy the style, the stories and the strength of emotions he paints so vividly and colorfully. Grace is book on grace, this is not a surprise, and it is filled with the nuggets and diamonds of wisdom and beauty on the most important Christian's doctrine - for without grace we are left out with karma and we are doomed because we would be never good enough. Lucado also adds his signature style stories and real-life examples. So far, so good. If I would finish here, I would certainly give there full five star ratio.

However, there is one thing from the content that I have a trouble believing. Lucado has basically subscribed himself to "once saved - forever saved" doctrine, as he writes that, "On-and-off salvation never appears in the Bible." The reason for his belief in this doctrine is that if you could lose the salvation, then you would live in fear and not in grace. I could understand it, but what all the verses about those who knew the truth and then left it? Or warnings about not hardening our hearts? Or being faithful to the end? Well, this is all mere about this life, the proponents of the once saved - forever saved doctrine might say. But if you have been saved, you will be saved no matter what you do. All right, but what about those who apparently turn against God? Lucado says: "I want to be careful here. Truth is, we do not always know if someone has trusted God's grace. A person may have feigned belief but not meant it. But we know this: where there is genuine conversion, there is eternal salvation."

Really? Let me get this straight. Once you are saved, you cannot lose the salvation. This is the only way how to be really sure that you are saved. So now you do not have to be afraid or stressed out that you will lose the salvation. Fantastic. But if you turn against God or apparently you left the journey to God, well, you have actually never been saved. You just "feigned belief". Great! So, I do not have to be afraid that I may lose salvation, but now I am stressed and afraid if my conversion is genuine enough and if I am not somehow feigning my own belief! What is the difference?!? 

This is the doctrine that does not strengthen grace, in fact, it weaken it in my opinion. The dynamic approach: you get closer to God knowing that he is gracious, but knowing that if I decide to turn my back on Him and walk away, may force me to lose his grace, sounds definitely more convincing to me. But what about prodigal son, you may say? Yes, father graciously accept him when he came back. Father was not chasing him, he looked for him. That is the difference between grace and manipulation, in my estimation. God is working on you to lead you back to him, but the journey is still yours.

I would give 3,5 stars to Lucado's book, but since I need to give full stars, I will side with 4 because the book is beautifully written and engaging despite my disagreement with one single doctrine. And for the note, I received a copy of the book from booksneeze.com program which did not require me to write a positive review, as you can see, after all.

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