When Grace Comes Home by Terry L. Johnson is a book that I happened to add to my Amazon wishlist based solely upon the cover and the title. The old idiom "Never judge a book by its cover" does not apply to me, as so often I will purchase a book based solely upon its cover. It turns out that this book is one of those gateway purchases. You know the type: one purchase leads to two more. Terry Johnson has actually written three books about grace, this being the first.
The author leads into the main content of the book by giving a brief introduction to the Doctrines of Grace, focusing in particular on the sovereignty of God, the depravity of man, the sovereignty of God's grace, and man's response. I know those are not the "five points" that we often think of when the Doctrines of Grace are mentioned, but they are all essential doctrines that permeate throughout the five points. Mr. Johnson includes this lead in for those who may not be familiar with Calvinism, or the Reformed faith as he so often refers to it, and also to refresh the minds of those who may be more familiar with the Reformed faith.
After the introduction, the author proceeds to write chapters on how the Doctrines of Grace affect your life on a very personal level. His breakout is as follows (each is a separate chapter):
- Law and Liberty
- A Faith for Living
Terry Johnson takes each one of these aspects of a Christian's life and, using Scripture, shows the reader just how the particular aspect is affected (for lack of better word) but the Doctrines of Grace. The reader is shown through Scripture proofs how their lives are touched by the Reformed faith in ways they may not have known before, and each point is elaborated upon with personal applications and historical examples. He also corrects (again, for lack of better word) common misconceptions or beliefs about each subject.
What I Liked
Without elaborating on what Mr. Johnson writes about in each chapter, I will instead tell you that the chapter on prayer was especially convicting. Why we pray, how we should pray, and how prayer changes us were all questions that were addressed in the chapter. Using prayers from men and women in the Bible, the reader is shown Biblical examples of how to pray. My eyes were opened to just how fearful (awestruck) we should be of God in prayer, and how we should prostrate ourselves before Him in heartfelt humility when we come to Him in prayer. Daniel's honesty in his prayer in Daniel 9:4-11 was especially convicting. There was no sugar-coating the sins of Israel, nor was there any attempt at justifying the sin. Daniel honestly and humbly confesses the sins in the presence of a just and righteous God.
As the book progresses, the author tends to keep referring to the Reformed faith more and more as he expounds on each point. While I understand he is reminding or pointing the reader to what the Reformed faith teaches, it feels as if he is saying that all along the Reformed faith has got it right. While I know this is not his intention, it left me wondering how someone new to the Doctrines of Grace would respond. Would they see the author's intention in pointing out the different beliefs, or would they see him as arrogant and assume those who believe the same would be arrogant as well? I would have much preferred him say something along "The Bible teaches" instead of "The Reformed faith has always believed" and the like.
It is nitpicky on my part to point this out, but nonetheless, it was something that I disliked about the book.
The way the author breaks out each aspect of the Christian's life and how the Doctrines of Grace profoundly affect those aspects was a refreshing reminder of how we should live and why. Conviction (upon my own heart) was rampant throughout the book as I was constantly reminded of just how lacking my own life is in response to God's grace. A solid read that is well worth the space on any person's bookshelf.