Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self and Society by Jay Bakker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If anyone ever had a reason to leave the Christian faith, Jay Bakker did.
At the age of only 11 his parents' global PTL ministry was engulfed by scandal and undermined by Christian backbiting -all of which played out in the 24-hour news media.
Disillusioned, Bakker turned to drugs and alcohol and left his childhood beliefs behind. But along the way, an interesting thing happened: Bakker came to understand, through his personal challenges and suffering (as well as the help of some friends), what God's grace was really all about.
In this book Bakker explores the true nature of grace--what it means for everyday living and the hot-button issues of our day. With disarming humility, poignant observations, and spot-on theology, Bakker both challenges Christians to reassess their understanding of salvation and encourages non-believers to see Jesus with fresh eyes.
My Take: What I really liked about this books is that Jay speaks honestly and with a great deal of humility. He is intelligent and well read. He has also put a great deal of thought into the content of this book. Although evangelical, Jay is not thumping a bible on anybody's head. His premise is simple. Grace can not be earned. It is a gift to every person regardless of their sins. God loves you.
Although I was a teenager when Jim and Tammy Bakker became caricatures in the media, the images still haunt me; Tammy Faye with mascara running down her face. Jim having his public breakdown. They were the fallen television evangelists. It never occurred to me that there might be children who were in the background. There were two. Jay was only 11 when the Bakker's suffered their public humiliation.
Today I look back on the debacle and my heart breaks for all involved. The Bakker's were not innocent but aren't we all sinners? Unfortunately, they suffered at the hand of the harshest judges - the media and the court of peers. Jay tells the story with much objectivity but does not mince words when he describes what Falwell and others did to separate themselves from the Bakker's sins. Although Jay does not use this example directly in this parallel, what if we were all to be more Christ-centered? The Pharisees who brought the adulterous woman to Jesus and quoted Mosaic law that she be stoned, daring Jesus to save her. "Let he without sin cast the first stone." The accusers went away and Christ offered her grace. He loves the sinners. He loves me. He loves you.
The author honestly describes his own journey through rebellion and his most recent heartbreak as his marriage fell apart. Taking to no glory to himself, Jay indicates we are all fallible. As God's children, we will fall. As God's children, we are still offered Grace. Again and again and again. He simply asks that we love one another.