George, Timothy. Amazing Grace: God’s Pursuit, Our Response. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011 (2nd ed.). 152 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Westminster books for $10.12.
Timothy George is the founding dean of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. There he teaches theology and church history. He also serves as the executive editor of Christianity Today. He is most noted for his book Theology of the Reformers. The fact that this book is in its second edition (in a decade) shows the importance of the Christian understanding the truth that God’s grace is amazing.
This work is divided into six chapters and moves quickly and persistently from topic to topic all driving home the fact that God’s grace is more than amazing. Chapter one looks at our gracious God. George defines what grace is according to the Bible and then offers discussion on common grace to all. Chapter two is perhaps the key chapter. This chapter offers a look at the mystery (and it is a mystery regardless) of God’s providence. He shows the four “dead ends” that many theologians find themselves when they try to understand this doctrine.
The third chapter explains what it means to be saved by grace and looks at a few of the historical debates throughout the centuries of church history. The fourth chapter is an exhortation to all entering into what is called the Calvin/Arminian (though this is really a misnomer today!) debate. George challenges the reader to show the same grace that the Lord has shown all–this is a warning that must be heard and heeded.
The final two chapters look at the pragmatic aspects of living with the knowledge that the grace of God is undeserved and unmerited. The challenge to missions and evangelism, nestled in the doctrinal discussion of election and salvation, ought to motivate the reader to gospel work. The final chapter offers advice on how to live consistently with this knowledge.
Well-written is perhaps the best phrase I can come up with regarding this book. Timothy George has taken an extremely thorny theological
argument discussion and made it into a worthwhile conversation. His exhortation to live consistently with your doctrines (regardless of where you land on the orthodox spectrum) is phenomenal. When I first read Russell Moore’s blurb, “This is the best book on God’s grace in print today” I confess I was a bit skeptical. I trust Moore’s statement, but also know that he disagrees with George’s doctrine. Moore proved to be accurate in his assessment.
While there is some controversy over digging up the tulips and planting roses, George’s approach is a breath of fresh air in what has become an old and musty debate.
Regardless of where you fall in this centuries-old debate, you will enjoy reading Amazing Grace. For all who struggle with the acceptance of these doctrines need to read this book for a passionate yet pleasant perspective. For those who have accepted the doctrines of grace, you need to read this book so as to learn how to be a bit more graceful in your discussion with those who disagree.