Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 05:1 (Spring 1992)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Healing Grace—Let God Free You From the Performance Trap. By David Seamands. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1988. 192 pp. Cloth, $14.99.

Over the years, there have been many books written about the theology of grace. But in Healing Grace, Dr. David Seamands has given us a book that powerfully demonstrates how grace can practically impact our everyday life.

The subtitle, Let God Free You From the Performance Trap, reveals Seamands’s intended audience-believers who to one degree or another have bought the lie that who we are, how we feel about ourselves, and how God and others feel about us depends on our performance. Seamands suggests that while most Christians believe in grace (the favor of God freely given in spite of performance), they have trouble applying it to their lives. The result is a life of emotional and spiritual pain, demonstrated in low self-esteem, guilt, negative feelings, problems in relationships, and an insecure relationship with God. Seamands wants to free believers from the painful performance trap.

To this reviewer, who has himself experienced firsthand the pain of the performance trap, Seamands’s efforts to provide healing instruction are an unqualified success. In fact, he accomplishes his goal in three specific ways.

First, he exposes key barriers to grace-those factors in our lives and culture that distort grace and lead to an addiction to performance. Especially helpful is the section on grace in the home (chap. 3) with instruction on avoiding the abuse of grace (“parental dysgrace”) as well as positive teaching about communicating unconditional love to children.

Second, Seamands describes in detail the journey of an average believer from early hurts all the way to perfectionism with its many destructive tendencies (chap. 6). The clarifying chart alone (pp. 90–91) is worth the price of the book, as the author helps us “see” if perfectionism has somehow infiltrated our lives.

Third, he encourages us with a sure hope of recovery and attempts to lead us through the recovery process by saturating us in healing grace. Especially poignant is his emphasis on the necessity of grace being fully realized in our emotions. Specific chapters on grace and guilt (chap. 8)

and self-esteem (chap. 10) help provide the application.

But perhaps Healing Grace accomplished a more far-reaching (though secondary) purpose by providing some much-needed insight into the current debate on the Gospel. Seamands does this in three ways:

First, he is amazingly clear in his statements concerning justifying gr...

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