Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 148:589 (Jan 1991)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Grace Awakening. By Charles R. Swindoll. Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1990. xvi + 311 pp. $15.99.

In this new book Swindoll attempts to help individuals understand and accept the grace of God in their own lives while extending that grace to others. In his familiar conversational style he writes effectively for a wide audience and gives a variety of practical and convicting applications. The book may be recommended with enthusiasm.

Several portions are especially helpful. For example Swindoll provides a description of salvation by grace alone that articulates the biblical concept with exceptional clarity (pp. 17-33). Later in the book, he demonstrates balance, insight, and humility in recognizing that personal strengths are frequently accompanied by interpersonal failings that can turn Christians into “grace killers” (pp. 279-83).

Swindoll’s desire is that believers learn to enjoy the freedom God has given in His grace, and he clearly distinguishes this from license in his exposition of Romans 6 (pp. 125-47). He also emphasizes the need to grant the same freedom to one another. His comments reflect the wisdom of experience, particularly when he addresses the subject of secondary separation (though he does not use that term). He writes, “My encouragement for you today is that each one of us pursue what unites us with others rather than the few things that separate us. The ‘common ground’ is vast” (p. 189). Swindoll illustrates the point by noting that he is comfortable enjoying fellowship with five-point Calvinists, charismatics, covenant theologians, and those with varying eschatological ideas, even though he disagrees with them. Some readers will criticize this position as overmoderate, but these are precisely the readers whom Swindoll is addressing. He does not waver in his own convictions, nor does he regard lightly such crucial issues as the deity of Christ and the inerrancy of Scripture. He simply maintains that many doctrinal disputes are not worth the harm they bring to the body of Christ. He writes, “There was a time in my life when I had answers to questions no one was asking. I had a position that life was so rigid I would fight for every jot and tittle. I mean, I couldn’t list enough things that I’d die for. The older I get, the shorter that list gets, frankly” (p. 189).

This discussion illustrates a prominent theme in the book, that maturity in the Christian life is accompanied by (and results from) a greater comprehension of the grace of God. With illustrations frequently drawn from his own life, Swindoll suggests that legalism and intolerance are marks of immaturity and insecurity. The ...

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