Book Review: One Way Love by Tullian Tchvidjian

(click on book cover to buy at Amazon.com)

One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace For An Exhausted World 

by Tullian Tchvidjian

Description from Amazon.com:
Real life is long on law and short on grace—the demands never stop, the failures pile up, and fear sets in. Life requires many things from us—a stable marriage, successful children, a certain quality of life. Anyone living inside the guilt, anxiety, and uncertainty of daily life knows that the weight of life is heavy. We are all in need of some relief.

Bestselling author Tullian Tchividjian is convinced our exhausted world needs a fresh encounter with God’s inexhaustible grace—His one-way love. Sadly, however, Christianity is perceived as being a vehicle for good behavior and clean living—and the judgments that result from them—rather than the only recourse for those who have failed over and over and over again. Tchividjian convincingly shows that Christianity is not about good people getting better. If anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good. 

In this “manifesto,” Tchividjian calls the church back to the heart of the Christian faith—grace. It is time for us to abandon our play-it-safe religion, and to get drunk on grace. Two hundred-proof, unflinching grace. It’s shocking and scary, unnatural and undomesticated … but it is also the only thing that can set us free and light the church—and the world—on fire.

My Review:

Those who know me well know that Tullian is one of my favorite religious leaders and speakers. I enjoy watching Coral Ridge Presbyterian services online, and I read and heartily enjoyed Tullian’s recent work Jesus + Nothing = Everything. So, when offered the opportunity to read and review this new book, I jumped at the chance.What did I think? I loved it. Why? Let me tell you. It’s neither a self-help book nor a pretentious, stuffy theological treatise. Make no mistake, Tullian is well-educated and trained, and the theology is sound. However, this book is written for the modern, every-day person, not just for pastors and theologians.Tullian’s introduction presents an exhausted, broken world filled with frustrated, hurting people. And in this book, he explores two questions: “What is the cause for our exhaustion?” and “What is the cure?”In short, the answer to the first question is that “we are trying to save ourselves” through good works and performancism (defined by Tullian as “the mindset that equates our identity and value directly with our performance”). In discussing performancism, Tullian defines and discusses law, both “big-l Law” and “little-l law.” The first, being God’s biblical law, and the second being society’s laws and expectations.

The answer to the second question (“What is the cure?”) is, to oversimplify, Jesus — grace.

Tullian’s examinations of law and grace, as well as discussions of justification by works versus justification by faith brings the reader to a greater understanding of grace. Before you think, “Oh, this is going to rationalize lazy Christians,” pause and reconsider. As Christians, we all intellectually understand what Christ did for us. The gospel was preached to us as the Good News that brought us to the Lord. But, unfortunately, once we get to Jesus, we tend to forget what He did for us. Instead, we begin to try to earn our way to Heaven. Tullian’s book uses both real-life examples — many from his own life — and biblical support to illustrate what grace, or “one-way love”, looks like. Of course, grace cannot be fully understood in an intellectual manner; rather, it is felt or experienced.

Tullian has experienced this one-way love, and is passionately dedicated to declaring the gospel to the world. Because we continually forget what Jesus did for us, he preaches grace and the message of the gospel again and again.

Reading this book can be a liberating experience. It will remind you that “It is finished!” So stop running on that hamster wheel. Stop trying to fix everything and everyone, including yourself. Lean instead on Christ who succeeded that you might be free to fail.

About Tullian Tchvidjian: 

While you may not be familiar with Tullian Tchvidjian, Senior Pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, chances are you know his grandfather, the Reverend Billy Graham. In additon to his pastorial duties, Pastor Tullian lectures at Knox Theological Seminary and is the founder of LIBERATE.

Pastor Tullian and One Way Love on the Web: 

Below, view a sermon on the topic of the book:
Please disregard the butchering of his name by the gentleman who introduces him. His name is pronounced TULL-ee-an cha-VIDG-in. (As Tullian says, it rhymes with religion.)

Excerpts available here:

*Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received the above book for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 
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