VG Cover“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.

The end of the politics-oriented Evangelicalism that was so dominant in the second half of the 20th century is a strong example that we are living in a post-Christian culture.

Yet while the opinions about Christianity are dropping, interest in spirituality is rising. Why the disconnect? Why are so many asking, “What’s so good about the “Good News?”

Yancey’s writing has focused on the search for honest faith that makes a difference for a world in pain. In his landmark book What’s So Amazing about Grace he issued a call for Christians to be as grace-filled in their behavior as they are in declaring their beliefs.

But people inside and outside the church are still thirsty for grace. What the church lacked in its heyday is now exactly what it needs to recover to thrive. Grace can bring together Christianity and our post-Christian culture, inviting outsiders as well as insiders to take a deep second look at why our faith matters and about what could reignite its appeal to future generations.

How can Christians offer grace in a way that is compelling to a jaded society? And how can they make a difference in a world that cries out in need?

Yancey aims this book at Christian readers, showing them how Christians have lost respect, influence, and reputation in a newly post-Christian culture. “Why do they hate us so much?” mystified Americans ask about the rest of the world. A similar question applies to evangelicals in America.

Yancey explores what may have contributed to hostility toward Evangelicals, especially in their mixing of faith and politics instead of embracing more grace-filled ways of presenting the gospel. He offers illuminating stories of how faith can be expressed in ways that disarm even the most cynical critics. Then he explores what is Good News and what is worth preserving in a culture that thinks it has rejected Christian faith.

12 responses to “Vanishing Grace”

  1. Susan Thisell says:

    I’m confused. What is the difference between Vanishing Grace: Whatever Happened to the Good News? and
    Vanishing Grace: Bringing Good News to a Deeply Divided World
    I’m interested in using this for a small book group and want to know which is more relevant to my context. Please explain.

    • Philip Yancey says:

      They’re exactly the same. When the publisher moved the book from hardcover to paperback, they changed the subtitle. Inside text remained the same. I hope the group goes well–there’s a video curriculum available on the book too, if you’re interested. Philip

  2. Lisa Schwartz says:

    Our church just started a bible study on his Vanishing grace.. Think it is very interesting & something we all will enjoy….

  3. Roro says:

    My bible study is using the participant’s guide and DVD for Prayer, Does It Make a Difference. In the stceion about prayer problems, you talked about unanswered prayer. One of the reasons you listed for unanswered prayer was God doesn’t answer prayers if we are in the wrong condition when we pray. We talked about how it seems impossible to be in a right condition for longer than a millisecond. We just were confused at how anyone could be in that right condition when we’ve all been in wrong conditions and experienced His mercy and love. And we all have unanswered prayers that burn in our hearts for answers and then we wondered if our imperfections are hindering the answers we long for. Can you please help us understand what you are saying about that aspect of unanswered prayer? Thank you for all the comfort and understandings we’ve already experienced through your books. Laurie Isenberg

    • Philip Yancey says:

      There are numerous passages in the Prophets in which God says he no longer listens to the prayers of his people because they have turned away from him and persist in evil. Yet even in some of those, God relents and responds. I agree, when are we ever in “the right condition”? I should have clarified that in the Bible this refers to people persisting in deliberate rebellion. For example, say a person is in an unsatisfying marriage and prays for God to break it up and find a way for his/her affair to lead to something more permanent–that’s an illustration of a “wrong condition.” Or praying that you not get caught cheating on taxes. That’s what I had in mind. I like your “millisecond” observation–how true!

  4. Janet Zimmerman says:

    We are launching a church wide study on this book, and am wondering how to match up the book with the DVD and study guide. The study guide does not indicate how many chapters of the book should be read each week to match up with the DVD and study guide. Has anyone figured this out?

    • Philip Yancey says:

      The guide leaves that decision up to the leader. Since the book has 13 chapters and there are 5 DVD sessions, that works out to 2-3 chapters per week. Hope this helps!

  5. Paul Molick says:

    We plan to use “Vanishing Grace” as a book study for our men’s group meeting weekly. Do you have any suggestions

    • Philip Yancey says:

      There is a DVD in which I interview some of the people profiled in the book. And also a Study Guide that goes with it. The Study Guide has lots of ideas and details, and I suggest you get one of those even if you don’t use the DVD. You can order from your local Christian bookstore, Amazon, or directly from Zondervan, the publisher.

  6. Marg Miller says:

    From my Facebook page where I shared the promo of your book and wrote: “While on holiday in Florida, I read Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? by my favourite author Philip Yancey. Very readable! Very interesting all the way through! Very important! I cannot recommend this book highly enough!” Thank you so much for this book!

  7. Marty Jones says:

    I finished Vanishing Grace today; possibly your best book yet. Or it came into my life at a time that makes me think this. One of your books that causes me to wish I had a photographic memory, so I could recall and quote passages at will.
    Thank you
    Blessings, Marty

  8. Dear Philip,

    A study group at our church is beginning to study your “Vanishing Grace” – in my opinion one of the most important and relevant recent books on Christianity. What you say about attitudes to Christianity USA is mirrored (with cultural differences) in UK.

    I have your DVD, and am waiting for the Study Guide, which is not yet available in UK apparently. We meet in a week’s time, and the Guide will not be delivered until after that.

    Is it possible to get hold of the study questions for week 1 in electronic format? I would be eternally grateful, and so would our study group, I am sure.

    With every blessing.

    Terry Cooke-Davies
    Webmaster and Lay Preacher

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