By Jay Bakker, FaithWords, $19.99, 224 pages

10In Fall to Grace, Jay Bakker uses a brief biography of his family’s life in the Christian limelight, their plummet to church pariahs, and his recovery from substance abuse as a springboard for introducing the concept of grace. Bakker implies that grace is the “unmerited favor” of a loving God, that the Bible is not about guilt and punishment, but acceptance, and that faith, rules, paves the way to salvation. Bakker provides deft support for his assertions, drawing on Biblical evidence from the Apostle Paul’s letters, and supplementing his arguments with the works of well-known theologians such as Martin Luther and St. Francis of Assisi.

Bakker’s book is suitable for seekers or skeptics of Christianity, but is primarily aimed at those “who’ve been battered by the church”. At times, Bakker’s organization is somewhat aimless; he drifts from Biblical commentary, to friends’ testimonies, to specific hot topics, such as homosexuality in the Bible. However, those in need of an uplifting view of the church in today’s world will be satisfied with this read. Bakker’s refreshing vision of a transformed church echoes contemporary, controversial theologians such as Donald Miller, Rob Bell, and Shane Claiborne.

Reviewed by Emily Davis