Hate the sin but love the sinner is the gist of the paradox explored in this slender point-of-purchase book by minister Alcorn. The author of Deadline draws on his experiences of getting "pro-abortion" activists, unbelieving academics and his "resistant" father to see the light to argue that Christians must display grace-a spirit of humility, love and inclusion-while also insisting on the truth of Christian doctrine.
Truth without grace, he asserts, yields a self-righteous Pharisaism, while grace without truth leads to "moral indifference" and a dilution of Christ's message. Alcorn writes in a contemporary idiom, likening grace and truth to a binary star system or the twin strands of the DNA double helix. But his is a traditional evangelical outlook that combines Biblical literalism, hell-fire and a deep acknowledgment of personal sin. Alcorn registers his fundamentalist views on such topics as relativism on campus, the fallacy of Darwinism and Oprah Winfrey's "have-it-your-way designer religion." But he also chides Christians for their holier-than-thou attitudes ("Jesus," he warrants, "would preach five sermons against self-righteous churches for every one against taverns") and compares himself with evil-doers ("I am Dahmer. I am Mao") in attesting to the fallen state of all humanity and their dependence on God's unmerited grace for salvation. Firm but forbearing, Alcorn's tract is a dose of old-time religion in a smooth modern formulation.
- Inspiring and Biblically sound
This is a book that's Biblically correct - as opposed to Poitically Correct. We live in a largely secular society where truth is relative and where values seem to change upon the whims of society. "My way is the only way," people say...
Then out comes this book by Randy Alcorn, which challenges our sometimes polarizing views. Based on Scriptures, he argues that Christ was not all truth or only grace; one camp has a tendency to stress scriptural truths while the other stresses grace only. However, Christ reflected both (John 1:17) - and so should we. We are called to love the sinner, but not the sin. How to do that? Alcorn gives some practical tips on how to navigate these tricky waters. It's not an easy road; and as Alcorn indicated, you might end up alienating one or both camps if you walk like Christ did.
Unless you stubbornly lean towards one camp or the other, you too will find this book overall Biblically balanced and sound. I bought this book upon the recommendation of some Christians and because it received high ratings on Amazon. I'm so glad I did - and highly recommend it to others as well!
- We cannot be 50 percent truth and 50 percent grace. We have to be 100 percent truth and 100 percent grace.
The Grace and Truth Paradox is primarily focused on helping Christians realize that they need to be showing non-Christians the grace that they have been shown by Christ, while at the same time affirming that there is ultimate truth and we as Christians are responsible for sharing that truth with others. I basically agree with the book. Grace is fairly well defined and defended by Alcorn. But the concept of truth floats around a bit. Occasionally, he sounds like he is talking about Old Testament Law. Occasionally he is talking about the person of Jesus Christ. Occasionally he is talking about provable propositional truths like 2+2=4. In a specific section on truth, he talks about scientific truth (of evolution), fundraising without explicitly disclosing the fundraising costs, ghost writing, and a variety of other types of mistruths as if there is no difference in the types of truth being violated.
I get a bit uncomfortable when Christians have this loose understanding of truth. Especially when he paints in broad brushstrokes that is questionably truthful himself. In on section he suggests that all, or at least most, college campuses explicitly reject the concept of truth. He does not have any type of evidence that he cites or any disclaimers that he is talking about a particular type of college or a particular type of understanding of truth. This seems to be, by his own meandering definition of truth, untruthful.
I am 100 percent behind the fact that there is nothing true except Christ. I am mostly in agreement when we say as Christians that we can be confident in scripture as the word of God (my only quibble is that we can be confident in scripture, not as confident in our understanding of scripture). I am fine with saying there are specific truths for all time (the 2+2=4 types of truths.) My main issue is that I think we need to be much more humble about our understanding of truth. Not because truth does not exist, but because I am not sure that we always really understand the truth that does exist.
We need to be open to the fact that our understanding of truth is necessarily limited because we are on this side of heaven. We are human, and by definition limited in our understanding of truth. Yes we can understand truth, but as Paul says, as though we are looking through a dirty glass. Our understanding is tainted. NT Wright and others (not sure where the quote originated) have said, “I know that about 25 percent of everything I know is wrong. The problem is that I am not sure which 25 percent.” So he says he is open to correction and rebuke and tries (but not always succeeds) in being humble and gracious when presenting his ideas before others.
Overall, it is an OK little book, just not what I was looking for.
Originally published on my blog http://bookwi.se
- I thought this was the book...
I thought this was the book but it turned out to be a sermon. Do you do refunds?