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The Grace and Truth Paradox: Responding with…

The Grace and Truth Paradox: Responding with Christlike Balance

by Randy Alcorn

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Great book! I had never thought about the significance of John 1:14 saying that Christ came "full of grace and truth." He says that if we are not representing both, we are not representing Christ. ( )
  MeriwetherR | May 19, 2014 |
Alcorn looks at balancing truth (which can be harsh) with grace (which can be too gentle). Generally, most Christians fall more to one side or the other of this balance. Some think that telling other folks they are wrong is the most important thing and believe they are doing so in love. Others instead favor showing grace and forgiveness over worrying about what the sin may be. Alcorn attempts to show the proper balance between these two extremes. My main complaint with the book is that it does not consider the proper way to speak or show truth to others. As a silly example, telling someone they should not steal office supplies is unlikely to do any good. Mentioning that I had had an issue with something similar and how I came to understand my error and stop doing so is more likely to be of help. Both may be speaking truth, but one is more likely to do any good. Alcorn’s book is a short one that can easily be read in an hour or two. I would recommend this to Christians trying to understand the proper balance between showing grace and speaking truth to those around them. ( )
  wbc3 | Nov 19, 2013 |
Randy Alcorn's book, The Grace and Truth Paradox is an excellent book. It is based on John's statement in John 1:14 that Jesus was "full of grace and truth". Some churches (and Christians) today emphasize grace over truth while others do just the opposite. Christ did neither. He was full of grace and truth.

The book is small (92 pages). Yet it has a big message. Maybe that's why it's part of Multnomah's "Small Books, Big Change" series! While it is very easy to read, some of its principles are potentially life-changing, and merit thoughtful contemplation. To that end, I will finish out this review by providing some quotes from the book itself, and let Randy do the talking.

"A grace-starved, truth-starved world needs Jesus, full of grace and truth." (p. 14)

"Some churches today embrace truth but need a heavy dose of grace. Other churches talk about grace but cry out for a heavy dose of truth." (p.15)

"Truth-oriented Christians love studying Scripture and theology. But sometimes they're quick to judge and slow to forgive. They're strong on truth, weak on grace.Grace-oriented Christians love forgiveness and freedom. But sometimes they neglect Bible study and see moral standards as "legalism." They're strong on grace, weak on truth.Countless mistakes in marriage, parenting, ministry, and other relationships are failures to balance grace and truth. Sometimes we neglect both. Often we choose one over the other." (p. 17)

"Why should we have to choose between conservatism's emphasis on truth and liberalism's emphasis on grace? Why can't we oppose injustice to minorities and to the unborn? Why can't we oppose greedy ruination of the environment and anti-industry New Age environmentalism? Why can't we affirm the biblical right to the ownership of property and emphasize God's call to voluntarily share wealth with the needy? Why can't we uphold God's condemnation of sexual immorality, including homosexual practices, and reach out in love and compassion to those trapped in destructive lifestyles and dying from AIDS?We cannot do these things if we are first and foremost either liberals or conservatives. We can do these things only if we are first and foremost followers of Christ, who is full of grace and truth." (p. 80-81)

"If we minimize grace, the world sees no hope for salvation. If we minimize truth, the world sees no need for salvation. To show the world Jesus, we must offer unabridged grace and truth, emphasizing both, apologizing for neither. The Colossian church "understood God's grace in all its truth" (Colossians 1:6)Truth is quick to post warning signs and guardrails at the top of the cliff. Yet it fails to empower people to drive safely--and neglects to help them when they crash.Grace is quick to post ambulances and paramedics at the bottom of the cliff. But without truth, it fails to post warning signs and build guardrails. In so doing, it encourages the very self-destruction it attempts to heal." (p. 87-88)

"Grace and truth are both necessary. Neither is sufficient....We who are truth-oriented need to go out of our way to affirm grace. We who are grace-oriented need to go out of our way to affirm truth. "Hate the sin, but love the sinner." No one did either like Jesus. Truth hates sin. Grace loves sinners. Those full of grace and truth do both." (p. 88)

"In Jesus, "mercy and truth have met together" (Psalm 85:10, NKJV). Grace and truth met face to face on the Cross." (p. 92)

An expanded version of this review is available at CrossFocusedReviews.com, where you can find book excerpts, giveaways, promotional offers, audio reviews and more. ( )
  bobhayton | Aug 16, 2010 |
Alcorn does a great job giving a concise analysis of how grace and truth work together. This is often a difficult thing for believers to grasp. The beauty of this book is how small and short it is. It would be easy for anyone to dive into because it does not look or read like a theological piece. It does, however, pack punch with its laser-like attention to the issue. ( )
  william_blair | Jul 10, 2008 |
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