Friday, August 29, 2014

Vanishing Grace: Whatever Happened to the Good News? By Philip Yancey (Forthcoming Book)

"I made my fourth trip to this land of endless fascination in August.  I’d been asked to give the Ida Scudder Humanitarian Oration (a fancy word for a speech) at the Christian Medical College in Vellore in honor of Dr. Paul Brand, with whom I wrote three books." I read Philip Yancey's latest blog post "Darkness and Light in India" utterly fascinated; its been less than a year since I was at Paul Brand's chapel in Karigir and Dr. Ida Scudder's home in Vellore. Besides, Yancey is one of my favorite contemporary Christian writers (Soul Survivor is my personal favorite). Yancey's Jesus is the Jesus I know and love, a humble God-man who changes us and our life, our world. Yancey's descriptions and arguments about how Western Christianity had misunderstood Jesus core message resonated with my own lived experience in the West. Now, it looks like Yancey's done it again.  In his latest book, which is due out in late October, Yancey starts with a question which he has apparently been asking all his life: “Why does the church stir up such negative feelings?” I invite you to join me on Yancey's Book Tour of this his new book, Vanishing Grace: Whatever Happened to the Good News? on Oct. 25th in San Diego.

Before I share Yancey's latest book and invitation details of the October Book Tour, I share briefly from his post on his August trip to India.

"India is an assault on all the senses," I've always said (pretty unoriginally, since many writers have said that, I think). That's how Yancey too begins his post about his recent trip to India:

"India assaults the senses." 

I found the stories Yancey heard and reports of what happened in the Orissa killing of Christians (6 years ago) appalling.    

"In the final hour before we left to head back to the U.S., the director arranged for interviews with some of the attendees who had been victims of a terror campaign by Hindu fanatics in the state of Orissa (now known as Odisha).  In August and September of 2008, rampaging mobs burned around 6000 houses belonging to Christians, killing 400 and displacing 50,000 Christians, who were forced to flee to refugee camps.  Even now, six years later, thousands of families in Orissa remain homeless.  The mission has established a center of refuge for such trauma victims."

The witness stories that followed are pure horror.

My favorite parts of Yancey's travel essay were these:

"Speaking at Dr. Brand’s funeral in 2003, I said that we had an unusual exchange.  While I was giving words to his faith, he gave faith to my words.  Yes, he helped me with some of the intellectual issues.  More importantly, though, he lived out the principle articulated by Irenaeus in the second century: “The glory of God is a person fully alive.”"


“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind,” wrote John in the prologue to his Gospel.  “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  On my trip to India I saw clear evidence of both the darkness and the light.


I went away mindful of a principle Dr. Paul Brand once taught me—he who identified leprosy as a disease of painlessness: “A healthy body is one that feels the pain of the weakest part.”  The same principle applies to the Body of Christ.  May we never forget those who suffer for the light in a darkening world.

Yancey's entire is here:  Darkness and Light in India

Yancey's closing lines stir me, deeply troubled as I am about our modern ecclesiastical tendencies to divisiveness. Yes, the Body of Christ is the worldwide body of Christians, visible and invisible. We must learn to love by understanding and valuing, cherishing solidarity and unity. I am looking forward to reading Yancey's stories, about how the "church" can overcome stirring up negative feelings, from his new book, Vanishing Grace.  

Now for the Invitation: Yancey will be speaking in Maranatha Chapel, San Diego, Oct. 25th-26th. I invite you to join me on Saturday evening, October 25th. Here's details:

  • Saturday, October 25 at 6: 30 pm (part of the San Diego Christian Writers' Conference which is on Oct. 24th and 25th)
  • Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 8:30 am (morning worship service)
  • Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 10:30 am (morning worship service)

12 minutes Welcome and Worship
30 minutes Session 1
15 minutes Break
8 minutes Worship
30 minutes Session 2

Maranatha Chapel
10752 Coastwood Rd
San Diego, CA 92127
No registration  required. Simply show up and enjoy! VIP tickets not available.

Worship Leader: Anthony Evans (Real Life/Real Worship) - Read his bio here
Event website:

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