Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Review: The Gospel in Ten Words

I've been doing a number of book reviews here at Beyond the Pale but this is the first review I have done where I have known the author on such a personal level.  Paul Ellis, author of the Escape to Reality blog http://escapetoreality.org/ , has published his first "Christian" book.  I have to designate the "Christian" part because Paul, as a university professor of 15 years in Hong Kong, is one of the most prolific authors in the field of International business.  Fortunately for us, Paul has shifted his energies from the academic arena to the area he is most passionate about; the Grace of God.

The Gospel in Ten Words unpacks the grace of God through the use of ten, often misunderstood, words.  I have been on a Christian book marathon since about February and I have read a number that have blessed me greatly.  However, I can name two that will have long term impact on me and I will be buying and passing out copies for years to come. 

The first was Brian Zahnd's Beauty Will Save the World which caused a paradigm shift in my thinking about what church is meant to be.

The second is Paul Ellis' Gospel in Ten Words which will become a major resource tool for me as it is, in all honesty, the best book on explaining the grace of God I have ever read.

Loved
Forgiven
Saved
Union
Accepted
Holy
Rightous
Died
New
Royal

Using these 10 words Paul defangs law, cripples self-righteous effort, and reminds the children of God that they are His children and that none can pluck them from His hand! Ten Words reminds us that the "good news" is indeed, good!

Because of Paul's many years as a Christian and ten years as a pastor, he may not have seen it all, but he's seen ALOT.  For this reason,  he is extremely adept at turning long entrenched religious structures inside out and exposing them for what they are; dead works that often keep the Children of God in chains and ignorant of their position as sons and daughters of the Most High.

For example, much of my Christian life has revolved around getting people to "accept Christ."  However, Ten Words suggests:

"The gospel is not an invitation to accept Jesus; it is the stunning announcement that He accepts you.  Although the law reveals it is impossible for you to make yourself acceptable and pleasing to God, the gospel of acceptance declares that in Christ you have been made acceptable for eternity.  Nothing you do can make you more or less pleasing to God than you already are.  All this is to the praise and glory of His grace."
Now
"Secure in your Father's favor you will become fearless and bold.  You will dine in the presence of your enemies and laugh in the face of adversity.  You will dance upon the waves of circumstance and when you are tried by fires of life you shall not be burned."
I've enjoyed the irony of seeing a very academic professor, whose previous professional articles on statistics, research, and business models I could barely understand, produce a book on the gospel that is so profound and yet, so simple.  Probably the reason for that is he ultimately brings everything back to Jesus!

The individual chapters are bite sized nuggets that can be easily digested in a short read.  Hence in the coming weeks and months I will be returning to the book to spend 20 minutes reading about "Holy" or "Loved"; allowing these foundations to be reenforced so that my "good news" remains good.

I really recommend you allow this book to be a blessing to you as much as it has been to me.  Check it out on Amazon here 

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