Book Review: “Fall To Grace”

Posted: September 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

Originally posted 5/2/11

This is my first attempt at a review of a book for public consumption. The book I am reviewing is “Fall to Grace” by Jay Bakker. You may remember Jay’s parents, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker from PTL Network fame,or in-fame as the case may be.

The first thing that struck me about the book was the title, “Fall to Grace” as opposed to “fall from grace”.  I often heard the phrase “fall from grace” as I was growing up. It was usually a description of someone who stopped following the rules and started doing things or saying things that were unacceptable for a Christian to do or say. Fallen was something I always felt in danger of becoming.  “Falling to Grace” implies something very different.  It’s almost like you need to fall to a level so low that grace is all you have left and the only thing that can save you.  And in fact, grace is the only thing that can save you no matter who you are or what you do.  You cannot be “good” enough to gain your salvation.  It can only be gained as a free gift from God because of and through Jesus. It turns out, much to my surprise, that you don’t have to earn, in fact it is impossible for you to earn, your salvation.  Wow, what a revelation.  I have heard preachers say as much many times in my youth, only to learn that they expected me to earn that salvation by being a “good boy”.  Like Jay, I found that to be an impossible task.  I remember one day I decided that repenting and getting saved all over again every Sunday night was a hassle.  I heard that God would hear your prayers and answer if you were earnest in your payers so I devised a plan and carried it out.  I prayed and asked God to forgive all my sins and all the sins I was going to commit in the future.  It lifted a great burden off my shoulders and for a time I was content in my faith.  I made a fatal error, though, that ended my contentment.  I told others about my plan.  Some people just found it amusing, but others were appalled and said I was just making excuses to be as bad as possible without the eternal consequences. Thanks  to Jay, I now find that I was very close to a sacred truth. Thank you Jay, for putting into words what I have always felt but was unable to express.

The last two or three chapters deal almost exclusively with debunking the conservative fundamentalist tunnel vision regarding homosexuality.  Wow, it is refreshing to run across a Christian who actually has the cajones to expose the hypocrisy.  Even if homosexuality is a “sin”, and I don’t believe it is, spewing hatred of homosexuals from the pulpit must be a much worse sin.

I highly recommend this book for people like myself who want desperately to remain Christian, but cannot abide the current trends in Fundamentalist Churchianity. I also recommend it to those who reject the fundamentalists, but find the Liberal “High Church” too cold and uncommitted, perhaps ritualistic.

Harvey Childers
May 1, 2011

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