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Larry Taunton - The Grace Effect - Book Review

April 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 124

Many non-fiction books present their case and successfully persuade through intellectual reasoning. Fewer effectively wield the weapon of emotional appeal. Larry Taunton, Founder of Fixed Point Foundation, CNN columnist, and adoptive father, has managed to blend both strategies to create a very stimulating case for the power of Christian influence in society.

Taunton's book, The Grace Effect, begins with a conversation between two unlikely friends-Taunton himself, an apologetic and defender of Christianity, and the late Christopher Hitchens, prominent journalist and author of God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. As both parties present intellectual and historical evidence to promote their individual cases, the question arises, are atheists correct in their hypothesis that religion, such as Christianity, offers more societal destruction than good (demonstrated by events such as the Crusades), or, can religion, particularly Christianity, be the life breath of civility within a nation? At this point, the intellectual discussion takes a back seat to Taunton's deeply emotional story detailing his adoption of a little Ukrainian orphan, Sasha.

Ukraine, unlike the United States, has little to no Christian heritage. Rather, its foundation rests on the humanistic ideology of secularism, spawned by the Communist revolutions that plagued the eastern block of Europe in the last century. So when Taunton, his wife, and two sons flew to Ukraine to begin what should have been the happy process of adding an additional member to their family, they instead meet a seemingly unending series of obstacles deposited by Ukraine's secular bureaucracy. As we get to know Sasha, and are drawn into the story of her adoption, each road block motivates a frustration within the reader that forces one to reflect on the notion-does the influence of Christianity truly shape a culture for the better, as seen in the contrast between America and Ukraine?

Here's where Taunton presents what he calls inherited grace, or, the grace effect. Essentially, a society dominated by Christianity, even deep in its past, benefits as a whole from the ideology of love and forgiveness as proclaimed by Jesus. Naturally, even those who are not living the Christian faith benefit from those who are. Selfishness, greed, slander, and deceit take a backseat to generosity, encouragement, truth, and hope of purpose. These attributes become a societal norm, and filter all the way to the highest levels of government. Taunton proposes that America has benefited deeply from thisgrace effect, and demonstrates how Ukraine suffers from the lack thereof.

Ultimately, after weeks and weeks of arduous struggles with the corrupt Ukrainian orphanage and judicial systems, little Sasha finally gets to fly home with her new parents, and family. Here the reader realizes that the grace effect truly begins in the family, and that families are the cells that make the greater organism of society. Experiencing Sasha's delight with her new family and home as she learns she's no longer an orphan, but a daughter, offers a powerful closing argument for Taunton's grace effect theory. I highly recommend The Grace Effect to any reader wishing for a broader understanding of how Christian ideology can shape society through inherited grace.

I was provided a free copy of this book through the Pinkston Group and was not required to provide a positive review.

Peter Dudek is a writer/blogger at

Source: EzineArticles
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