I confess; I haven't read the book; I have the audio CD. Since I have a long commute, I have listened to all of Lee Strobel's books and I prefer those read by the author. The accounts of people in "The Case for Grace" vary from shockingly tragic to all-too-human, but each is gripping in its own way. I appreciated that he included some less than perfect outcomes, because even with God's amazing grace, we have to face the consequences of our decisions.
I purchased this book - highly recommended from my sister's friend. In fact she said if I didn't buy it for my son, she would (she doesn't even know my son). That's how much she thought it could encourage and help my incarcerated son. I wanted to know what all the hype was so I also bought one for myself. We were not disappointed (even though we are already believers). My son also enjoyed it, but he really liked "A Case For Faith". We highly recommend this book.
I had been a Christian for almost 20 years, and that was 20 years ago, when I first began to truly understand Grace. I had failed my wife, my family, and my God. And I finally learned what Grace was all about. Though it was not the beginning of my understanding of Grace, Chuck Swindoll's The Grace Awakening made the biggest dent in my understanding of Grace back then; but every so often, I need a swift hit on the side of the head to remind me what Grace is all about.
This year, Lee Strobel's The Case for Grace provided that hit. The book provides a series of biographical sketches, including his own, of men and women who, after living particularly trying lives, came to understand the nature of Grace in their own lives and found ways of sharing that Grace with others. The stories are well done, with enough detail to let the reader know the backgrounds, both the good and bad, of each character, but also provide keys to how they had discovered Grace and how it changed their lives. In some ways, each story echoed my own from 20 years earlier.
My greatest disappointment as I read the book was finding men and women who had already been or who would have been highly successful whether they found Grace or not. I would like to have found a story or two of ordinary men and women, people from the working class, people who had to struggle with tight budgets, clogged drains, and broken cars, whose attitudes and actions had been touched by Grace. Lee Strobel's stories focus on those whose lives have made a visible impact - where many who are touched by Grace will find an appreciation for who and where they are, not so much changed by what they do, but by how they perceive the world in which God has already placed them. These stories may not be as inspiring, but they would give a more complete look at the effect of God's Grace on a broken world.
Strobel begins by quoting Thomas C. Oden, "[Grace is necessary] to know truth, avoid sin, act well, pray fittingly, desire salvation, begin to have faith and persevere in faith. [Grace ... is nothing less than] the motivating power of the Christian life." The book accomplished this thesis for this reader. My thought is that it will for others as well.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.