Monday, December 2, 2013

Book Review: Derek Prince's By Grace Alone

By Grace Alone is a good book for those struggling of feeling worthy to follow the faith, especially if you've experienced legalism at church or from other Christians. While Prince balances the subject well of following law and God's grace, he let's some of his own opinions verses letting scripture talk in the book. I didn't disagree with his viewpoints, but I felt to strengthen them it would have been better to let proof in the scriptures attest to what he was saying. It would have made for a more concise book.

Summary:  For many Christians their walk consistent of a bunch of don't's. Don't drink alcohol. Don't curse. Don't smoke. Don't miss church on Sunday. Plus many more as well. Derek Prince though believes that while trying to follow the laws of God is a must, and one that represent your love and loyalty to God, he also believes that getting caught up on legalism can turn your act of faith into act of works toward believing you can be righteous enough for God's grace. Prince believes that the law is more than about causing people to feel they should be perfect, but one that instead shows us just how much humanity needs the grace of God because we can never achieve perfection.

Characters: Well there are no characters. Just Prince discussing his views and thoughts on the delicate balance of law and grace. Prince comes off with some great viewpoints, and I loved that he has made it a pursuit to try to find this very thin line in how you follow your faith without becoming the king of laws yourself. I don't know if anyone has every met someone who makes constant statuses about the evils of drinking alcohol or even others' sexuality, but it sometimes feels that these people are so busy constantly wanting to report on others, and building themselves up on the things they don't do to make themselves feel more pleasing to God. It's like they've lost the idea that the sole reason Christ died in the first place is because no one could eve please God only through our works. And while as a Christian you want God's grace, you also try to follow the standard God has set to try to show your love toward him. I would say that trying to follow God's standards is more about showing your thankfulness, your love, your loyalty, and commitment to God. It's not about making yourself feel better than others because others don't want to, or have fallen away from God.

Writing: The writing at times doesn't always flow easy. I like the overall point, and there were enough repetitive points to keep us on cue with that. I felt at times he lacked referring to scripture to back up some of the statements he made though. Don't get me wrong, for the most part he seemed really great about always giving a lot of insight to Bible, but some things seemed like gigantic leaps of assumption. Like the Cain and Abel bit about that being the first of two religions. I thought that was a great idea, but not necessarily anything you could say so firmly in stone. There are ideas and solid foundation ideas you could get from that, but the Bible never clearly states why Cain had an offering that God thought lesser of than Abel's. I think Derek Prince makes some great points about what he has concluded as to why God thought the way he did, but to write so know all about God, I guess is the way to put it, just seems so set in stone, and unless God clearly ever stated it then it isn't. Also, it is very obvious that Prince is Pentecostal. I don't disagree with Pentecostals in many of their view points, but I feel they do put a lot of emphasis on some Biblical ideas than others, and at times I felt that Prince was almost being a bit stand offish from other denominations because honestly speaking tongues, healings, etc., are much more apart of his central doctrine.

Plot: Prince develops his point with making each chapter an additional build upon on the last one. He goes from just discussing the law, to what the law leaves for humans who can't even fully achieve, and then how grace comes in to play. I guess the biggest thing was that I felt the book could have been summed up quicker. There are times I zoned out reading because it was very wordy and felt like things I had already gathered somewhere else in the book.

By Grace Alone does present one of the better portraits of how God's grace works that I've read. There were a few moments I oddly felt someone might feel condemned though in a book trying to avoid people feeling that their is no grace for them. A book like this should try to fully reply on scripture, but with a person writing it there will always be that struggle to not be the know all to your book and present a portrait of God that might be more about the opinions someone has placed on how he works. I loved the overall message and hope though.

Rating 7 of 10.

This book was provided by Chosen books in exchange for a review.

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