Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 17:33 (Autumn 2004)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

By the Members of the Grace Evangelical Society

The Grace and Truth Paradox: Responding with Christlike Balance. By Randy Alcorn. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2003. 93 pp. Cloth. $9.99.

Popular author Randy Alcorn has tackled an important subject. In the prologue of John’s Gospel we are told that Jesus, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us, is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

This book could easily be called a pamphlet or booklet. It is just 4.5 by 6.5 inches. The actual text is printed in 3.25 by 4.75 inches. Thus this book is not much bigger than a stack of 47 3”X5” cards.

In spite of its size, this book contains some worthwhile material. In the first chapter Alcorn argues that to be Christlike we must be full of both grace and truth. The second chapter essentially covers the same ground with different illustrations. However, the title of second chapter is confusing: “Essential and Inseparable.” The title says they are inseparable. Yet in the chapter, and in the whole book, Alcorn shows that one can have either one separately. What he seems to mean is that they can not be separated in order for one to be pleasing to God. For example, in the conclusion to chapter 2 he writes, “So we have to make a choice. Are we going to spend our lives trying to please the grace-haters or the truth-haters? Or are we going to seek to please the only One whose judgment seat we’ll stand before: Jesus, who is full of grace and truth” (p. 26).

Alcorn has separate chapters on “What Is Grace?” and on “What Is Truth?” Unfortunately, both are short on biblical support.

The author doesn’t discuss the field of meaning of charis, the Greek word translated “grace” in the NT. Its major meanings are “favor,” “gift,” and “thanks.” We aren’t told that. Instead we find anecdotes about people like Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire fame. Indeed, I couldn’t find a definition of grace in the chapter or book. This is about as close as he gets to a definition: “What relief [it is] to realize that my salvation cannot be earned by good works—and therefore can’t be lost by bad ones” (p. 32).

The same can be said concerning his explanation of truth. We find no definition, just illustrations and a few verses that have the word truth in them. Of course, truth is reality. It is the opposite of falsehood and unreality. Truth is what actually is.

Evidently recognizing the need for more explanation of what these terms mean, the ...

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