Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey

When I became a Theology student in college, I wanted to find my niche. I knew I didn’t want to become a pastor and lead a church, so I thought I needed to specialize in a specific realm of theology. At first, I thought it would be theodicy, but that was depressing. Next, I thought it would be apologetics, but that felt soulless. In the end, I decided to let things be. I would later go on to graduate school in a different field, but my studies in theology are still important to me, but it has been my study of grace that has affected me the most.

Philip Yancey is one of my favorite authors. In fact, it was reading his books while in undergrad that spurred me to change my major to Theology. The way he writes is honest and relatable while being sensible and wise. Reading Vanishing Grace felt comforting, like a beautiful smell that brings you back to your innocent childhood days.

Grace is not a new topic for Yancey. In fact, most of his books cover God’s grace. However, in Vanishing Grace, Yancey focuses specifically on the grace we share. The world is thirsty grace. The world does not need another argument for Jesus or more detailed apologetics; the world needs grace.

Grace is probably the most attractive part of the Christian and probably the most appalling part of the Christian as well. Attractive because grace is not about who we are or what we do, grace is dispensed because who God is. God sheds His beautiful grace on me. This definition of grace is what makes Christianity different than other religions. Conversely, appalling because grace is not about who we are or what we do, grace is dispensed because who is. God sheds His beautiful grace on my enemies. This definition of grace is infuriating.

Everyone is allowed in because of God’s grace. Such a beautiful thing to the outsider and a frustrating thing to the insider (that’s why the parable of the Prodigal Son gets me every time).

This book is classic Yancey. It engages my brain. It opens my heart. A definite recommend.

Here are some quotes I loved :

“I doubt God keeps track of how many arguments we win; God may indeed keep track of how well we love.”

“The more we love, and the more unlikely people we love, the more we resemble God.”

“It makes all the difference in the world whether I view my neighbor as a potential convert or as someone whom God already loves.”

“Too easily we expect God to do something for us when instead God wants to do it through us.”