"'Why does the church stir up such negative feelings?' Philip Yancey has been asking this all his life as a journalist. His perennial question is more relevant now than ever: in a twenty-year span starting in the mid-nineties, research shows that favorable opinions of Christianity have plummeted drastically--and opinions of evangelicals have taken even deeper dives ... Yet while the opinions about Christianity are dropping, interest in spirituality is rising. Why the disconnect?"--Amazon.com.
Yancey gathered numerous examples from history, ranging from stopping arena fights in the first centuries after Christianity’s start, Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi‘s marches throughout India, silent churches and outspoken people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, etc. Yancey’s What’s So Amazing about Grace? (2002) landmark book is still valid, where genuine believers share not only words, but also practice what they preach. The author himself often is ashamed to have only words to shere, where others go the extra mile for others, spreading the Good News.
In societies fed up with superficial Christians, and religious outlets from New Age, Hinduism and Buddhism to Islam, as well as agnosticism and modern mixes of all of the above, respect, influence, and reputation in a newly post-Christian culture is something difficult to regain. Vanishing Grace makes you think on your faith and its relevance to neighbors, friends and family.
Divided into four main sections, there's plenty that's positive in this book. I hope it will make many re-think their aims. The author suggests that those outside the church are likely to take note of three broad categories of believers who show grace: the pilgrims who walk aside them, the activists who do something about their problems, and the artists who explain through metaphors and stories.
Recommended, though the book would probably not be of much interest to anyone who is not a believer.
I think he fails to accept that there are aspects of the faith which are never going to be popular in society, in particular 'the offence of the cross'.