Are you a guilt or grace dispenser?


Excerpt from Vanishing Grace:

I have tried to listen to the uncommitted, not as opponents but as seekers who are still looking.

Why did they leave and church and perhaps the faith? What can we learn from them, and how can we invite them back? Can the good news, once spoiled, ever sound good again?

Jesus ‘came from the Father, full of grace and truth,’ wrote John in the preface to his gospel. The church has worked tirelessly on the truth part of that formula: witness the church councils, creeds, volumes of theology, and denominational splits over minor points of doctrine.

I yearn for the church to compete just as hard in conveying what Paul calls the ‘incomparable riches’ of God’s grace. Often, it seems, we’re perceived more as guilt dispensers than as grace dispensers.”

– Philip Yancey


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Every day in October I’m sharing a short quote on grace from a favorite book.


4 thoughts on “Are you a guilt or grace dispenser?

  1. TC Avey

    I read an article recently that quoted a preacher (I can’t remember his name) about this same topic. He said the church as a perception problem. How the world perceives us (as guilt dispenser) is turning them away from Christianity.
    Bob Goff in “Love Does” says that before he knew Christ he used to think the church stood AGAINST more things than what they stood for.
    If that is the perception we give the world, why would they want to come through our doors?
    Christ stood for love.
    I think we all need a refresher course on 1 Cor 13. I know I do.

  2. Sharon

    Philip Yancey is one of my favorite authors. And I know that he grew up in a very legalistic background, a legalism that made him wander far from his faith. I think his words are particularly pertinent on the subject of grace.

    We must remember that the Good News of Jesus is good. And what makes it good is that the message of grace is a balm to the sin-burdened soul.


  3. David

    I don’t know anything about the church (whatever the “the” means).

    But what about the creeds? I feel no loyalty at all to the Nicene creeds. They are a pragmatic product of the Roman imperial state bureaucracy. Isn’t intellectual assent to a dogma a barrier to faith and to real engagement?


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