Thursday, January 17, 2013

Paul Zahl: Grace in Practice

I just finished reading a fascinating book written by Paul Zahl entitled Grace in Practice. While I disagree with some of Zahl's theological conclusions and applications of a grace-centric hermeneutic, I nevertheless could not put the book down. I found it to be a refreshing read. I would cautiously commend it to discerning readers who are looking to be uncomfortably stretched and awakened to the impact of grace in everyday life.

I will say though, the first 100 pages were pure gold. Here is a passage from pages 35-36 where Zahl beautifully contrasts law and grace:

"What the law requires is exactly what men and women need in order to be wise, happy, and secure. But the law cannot pull this off. The problem with the law is not its substance. The problem with the law is its instrumentality. The law is not up to the task it sets for itself. If the law says, “Jump,” I sit. If it says, “Run,” I walk. If it says, “Honor your father and mother,” I move…to Portland. If it say, “Do not covet” (Romans 7:7-8), I spend all day on the Home Shopping Channel...

[In contrast] the one-way love of grace is the essence of any lasting transformation that takes place in human experience.”

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