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The Ragamuffin Gospel: Embracing the Unconditional Love of God

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Captures the hardest part of Christianity to accept

The Raggamuffin Gospel grapples with the hardest part of the Gospel message to accept: the idea that we cannot earn our salvation, and that it is always a gift of grace by God. ...
The Raggamuffin Gospel grapples with the hardest part of the Gospel message to accept: the idea that we cannot earn our salvation, and that it is always a gift of grace by God. Brennan Manning addresses how this is counter cultural, how our human tendency to require earning our salvation makes it difficult to accept the Gospel and God's grace. Mike, the previous reviewer, discussed the difficulty of reconciling repentance with Brennan Manning's writing. Must we repent before God gives us his grace? Brennan Manning would say that God gives us his grace all the time. Our humanity has so many limits 'sinful tendencies' that we wouldn't be able to do anything worthwhile without it. The role of repentance as per Brennan Manning is to allow us to accept God's gift of grace, 'not to trigger God giving us the grace'. It is when we are living outside of God's grace 'and thus outside ofrelationship with God' that we are not living in God's will. The message of grace was attacked by the Pharisees as well when Jesus discussed what was necessary to please God. The Pharisees believed it was actions that pleased God. Brennan Manning addresses that when you find freedom in God's grace, then His grace frees you from the power of sin on your life. It is counterintuitive, it is supernatural. It is dependence on God. Therefore, it is faith in God that pleases God, not actions. Faith in God produces life changing actions, through God's power in one's life. Actions alone produce only self-dependence. If we could do it alone, we wouldn't need God. Even 'repentence' can be used as an action to try to earn God's favor. B

posted by Anonymous on September 29, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

A feel good Gospel

At the request of a friend whom I respect I delved into the Ragamuffin Gospel with my typical 'teacher's attitude' regarding a new author, movement or dogma. I found much that many will like about this book, especially those whose commitment to the teachings of The Chr...
At the request of a friend whom I respect I delved into the Ragamuffin Gospel with my typical 'teacher's attitude' regarding a new author, movement or dogma. I found much that many will like about this book, especially those whose commitment to the teachings of The Christ is superficial. There is much to make one feel good about themselves and little to encourage one to strive for a deeper relationship with our Lord. While reading I was taken with memories of one of my previous pastors who stated unequivocally that just because my Mom and Dad were saved, my salvation wasn¿t automatic that just because I attended church my salvation wasn¿t assumed that just because I read the Bible didn¿t mean I was ¿born again¿. I have difficulty with the concept that forgiveness and grace comes before repentance. I have even more difficulty with the concept that God is neither a disciplinarian nor a judge of man¿s actions. This is contrary to New and Old Testament scripture. When combined with Manning¿s clear lack of understanding of scripture (which must be taken in context as opposed to single verse examples) which is demonstrated on many occasions, I must reject the philosophy presented. This is another of those ¿feel good¿, Universalists manuscripts that attempts to convince us that if we accept ourselves as we are, God will also. Unfortunately for those who praise this book, the truth is that either the teaching is all true or it¿s false. Salvation is not composed of accepting the sacrifice of Jesus plus anything else. Repentance must come before forgiveness or salvation is a farce and we all have missed God.

posted by Anonymous on September 16, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2008

    Captures the hardest part of Christianity to accept

    The Raggamuffin Gospel grapples with the hardest part of the Gospel message to accept: the idea that we cannot earn our salvation, and that it is always a gift of grace by God. &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 Brennan Manning addresses how this is counter cultural, how our human tendency to require earning our salvation makes it difficult to accept the Gospel and God's grace. &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 Mike, the previous reviewer, discussed the difficulty of reconciling repentance with Brennan Manning's writing. Must we repent before God gives us his grace?&#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 Brennan Manning would say that God gives us his grace all the time. Our humanity has so many limits 'sinful tendencies' that we wouldn't be able to do anything worthwhile without it.&#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 The role of repentance as per Brennan Manning is to allow us to accept God's gift of grace, 'not to trigger God giving us the grace'. &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 It is when we are living outside of God's grace 'and thus outside ofrelationship with God' that we are not living in God's will.&#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 The message of grace was attacked by the Pharisees as well when Jesus discussed what was necessary to please God. The Pharisees believed it was actions that pleased God. Brennan Manning addresses that when you find freedom in God's grace, then His grace frees you from the power of sin on your life. It is counterintuitive, it is supernatural. It is dependence on God. Therefore, it is faith in God that pleases God, not actions. Faith in God produces life changing actions, through God's power in one's life. Actions alone produce only self-dependence. If we could do it alone, we wouldn't need God.&#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 &#13 &#10 Even 'repentence' can be used as an action to try to earn God's favor. B

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2008

    A feel good Gospel

    At the request of a friend whom I respect I delved into the Ragamuffin Gospel with my typical 'teacher's attitude' regarding a new author, movement or dogma. I found much that many will like about this book, especially those whose commitment to the teachings of The Christ is superficial. There is much to make one feel good about themselves and little to encourage one to strive for a deeper relationship with our Lord. While reading I was taken with memories of one of my previous pastors who stated unequivocally that just because my Mom and Dad were saved, my salvation wasn¿t automatic that just because I attended church my salvation wasn¿t assumed that just because I read the Bible didn¿t mean I was ¿born again¿. I have difficulty with the concept that forgiveness and grace comes before repentance. I have even more difficulty with the concept that God is neither a disciplinarian nor a judge of man¿s actions. This is contrary to New and Old Testament scripture. When combined with Manning¿s clear lack of understanding of scripture (which must be taken in context as opposed to single verse examples) which is demonstrated on many occasions, I must reject the philosophy presented. This is another of those ¿feel good¿, Universalists manuscripts that attempts to convince us that if we accept ourselves as we are, God will also. Unfortunately for those who praise this book, the truth is that either the teaching is all true or it¿s false. Salvation is not composed of accepting the sacrifice of Jesus plus anything else. Repentance must come before forgiveness or salvation is a farce and we all have missed God.

    7 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Should be required reading!

    There are very few books that I have read in my lifetime that have had such an impact upon me. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning is one of those books. The gospel of grace is one of the most misunderstood doctrines of the Christian faith. So many Christians say they believe in God’s love and grace but do not live under God’s love and grace. Brennan writes about this grace in his book. The thing that stands out to me the most is the sheer honesty and rawness with which he writes. Some Christian books sound like the author has it all together and is a complete expert on their subject (and maybe they are). Brennan writes as a man still on a journey of discovering God’s grace. The only thing that Brennan seems to be an expert on is being a ragamuffin. Within the pages of this book you will go on a journey of discovery. You will see humanity as God sees them….the very objects of His great love and affection. You will not read about perfect people, only real people on a journey. You will read about broken lives and the God who longs to fix them. You will discover grace and love in a down-to-earth style. I cannot recommend this book enough. If you struggle with feeling like you are on a treadmill of performance or like you just can’t please God, then read this book. If you feel like you are a failure and just can’t get it together, then read this book. If you feel that you have it all together and you understand God’s love and grace, then read this book. This book should be required reading for every pastor and seminary student. It should be on every “should-read” list. The Ragamuffin Gospel is one of those books that should be read once a year, or anytime someone begins to feel beat up by life. God loves ragamuffins and is in a furious pursuit of them. I have gotten plenty of material for sermons, blogs and articles from this book. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2006

    Telling It Like It Is!

    Do I like to read a book that has something to say, you bet I do! This book does not waste my time with wasted words and ideas and was hard to stop reading until finished. I give it a five star.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2008

    Truth, finally!!!

    Brennan Manning is one of the few Christians I have encountered who has a wealth of theological knowledge, evangelistic experience and also the body, heart and soul of a real human being. There is absolutely no show here. No preaching. Just a man telling it like the Gospel was meant to be told- with love, grace and simplicity. This book changed me and I will never stop giving it to everyone i meet!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2010

    Grace changes lives

    I found this book to be so life changing that I have given copies to my best friends, grandparents, mother, sisters, and bible study leader. This is a MUST read and has a permanent place in my library. Brennan Manning has a wonderful grasp of Grace. This is a good book to use for a Bible Study as there will always be topics for discussion and debate.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Perfect

    It wouldn't be an understandment to say how much this book changed my life. I had felt beaten up, bedraggled, and tired. The Brennan Manning writes makes you want to give the man a hug. I loved how comforting this book was to me. I would suggest this book to just about everyone! You'll understand grace in whole new ways!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2008

    The pure gospel¿

    The Ragamuffin Gospel<BR/>Brennan Manning<BR/>ISBN: 9781590525029<BR/>Multnomah, 2008<BR/>Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com, 12/08<BR/>5 stars<BR/>The pure gospel¿<BR/>No one is worthy of standing in the presence of God. We are all broken, tattered, and torn. It is only through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that we are saved. The Ragamuffin Gospel offers the gospel in a plain and simple manner. It is easy to understand and heartwarming. This is a book that just keeps on giving. The message of this book will shake your world. Brennan Manning tears down the legalistic teachings of so many churches and returns to the basics as taught by Jesus Christ.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2012

    A Classic Worth Reading with Caution

    Brennan Manning has a bag full of luggage in his background. He is a veteran of the Korean War, a former Franciscan priest, and much-respected author and speaker in many Christian circles. He’s also a battling alcoholic and an embattled preacher of the word. He’s embattled because of the movement that rose out of the book we’re reviewing today. It has become a classic of modern Christian literature; it touched the hearts of several Christian artists—to name a couple, Michael W. Smith and the late Rich Mullins who was so inspired by the book that he formed the “Ragamuffin Band.” With that background, I’ve wanted to get hold of a copy of this book and read it for quite some time. And I’m glad I did. I can see the draw to this teaching book, but I also found some of it a bit disconcerting. As a matter of fact, as with anything that one reads, I found parts of the book with which I could not agree. The author is thoughtful and well-read as well as a superb communicator. He points out the need for God’s grace in the life of everyone, reminding readers that our unworthiness is not at issue (after all we’re all ragamuffins, even if we don’t think we are), but His love and mercy. In this, Manning has a wonderful grip on the concept of Grace. So much so to the point that he shares in a more recent response to the original 1990 book that one Roman Catholic scholar accused him of “out-Luthering” Luther (see p. 212). Even so, the reading of the book becomes a little lop-sided. Not knowing any more of Manning’s faith walk than I do, I understand that the Love of God (through Christ) rushes at him through the lens of telescopic need. And I would also argue right along with Manning that we need to swim longer in the deep end of the Love of God pool. However, the view of God’s righteousness, justice, and even His wrath gets crowded out and even talked down, bringing readers to a touchy feel-good approach to the Throne that flatlines faith. (In response to this let me add that this Lovefest reaction is natural for people who see nothing from the community of Christian faith but red-faced condemnation). A couple of other issues that I have (personal issues because of my background juxtaposed to the author’s) with the book are the Church teachings that move beyond the discussion of personal response to God and His love, and with which my faith calls me to disagree (commentary about the Eucharist and the ideology of Trans-substantiation – look it up – that are common in some Christian communities, for example). He also leans heavily on a “getting away” type of Christian life that tends to say that spiritual growth only happens when we are by ourselves. (To which end the new edition includes not only the essay “The Scandal of Grace: Fifteen Years Later” but also “19 Mercies: a Spiritual Retreat” which can guide the reader into some excellent devotional reading and reflection.) Admittedly, we all need times of retreat and reflection, but not at the exclusion of community. Relationship with Christ includes relationship with His Bride, His Body—the church. The question that always arises at the end of the day in reviewing books is: would you recommend this book? Sure. It is probably the best response to the God is out to get us teaching that so saturates our church culture today. I’d also recommend the book to people (and preachers in particular) who have bought into the idea that God is up in the Heaven’

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2011

    Great read!

    Very encouraging in my relationship & journey with God. A "gotta read" especially if feeling doubt or guilt.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    A refreshing reminder

    I recently finished reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. It was a timely read for me as I've been struggling with constant fear of failure, and never-ending reminders that I'm not good enough. Manning's book reminds the reader of a pivotal truth - that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of grace, not works, available to each and every ragamuffin that will choose to accept it.
    Manning begins with an anecdotal response to a sermon - "that airhead didn't say one thing about what we have to do to earn our salvation". He explains how our culture's "work your way to success" mentality has sculpted in us an incorrect view of salvation - that we have to be good enough so that we are pleasing to God and can thus be saved. While, as a Christian I know this is not a biblical teaching, it is something that I tend to fall prey into to believing. I found the book to be a refreshing reminder of truth, and an encouragement for my soul.
    Manning contrasts the true God of grace with the invented god of legalistic Christianity. He explains how viewing God incorrectly compels us towards works at appeasing him, and gives us great fear when we fail, as inevitably we must. This is exhausting, frustrating, and ultimately prevents us from knowing and loving God for who he is. Manning continues to explain the true gospel (which he calls the "Ragamuffin gospel") and invites Christians to "loosen their halos" and live in freedom, with adoration, repentance and thanksgiving, as a result of the grace they have been given, not because of a checklist or as an act of duty.
    I thought the author did a thorough job addressing an issue that is common to Christians who have grown up in church, with lists of do's and don'ts. He reminds us that the gospel that leads to the salvation of souls is not based on performance or merit, but is about grace given to the least of these. I loved the way he used the story of the prodigal son to make the point that Christ loves us as we are. Luke 15:2o says, "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." Manning reminds his reader, throughout the book, that God loves us and runs to us with grace - even when we are a long way off.
    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    highly recommended

    Simply put, the best book of spirituality I've read in recent years.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Life-Changing

    Brennan puts it all out there. I was finally able to see how perfectionism hurt instead of helped me. I understand the true meaning of grace, and how the message Jesus delivered was so different from anything before then. So many people still live by the old ways of thinking. They think that they have to follow the "rules" (usually thought to be the Ten Commandments and other regulations) perfectly in order to get into heaven, but that is just not the case. So many people think that God wants us to carry our burden of guilt - - so not true! The author makes a strong case for the reader to understand that God is a patient and loving parent who wants nothing more than to love us, and for us to love others of our own free will. One reviewer I read was upset because he felt cheated; he couldn't stand the idea of being in heaven with people who had "broken the rules." That's not what God is all about. Jesus pointed out to us that ALL of us are sinners, and that's part of what makes us who we are. So hang it all out there. God wants you just the way you are. If you choose to live a better life, it is because YOU want to NOT because you HAVE to for an E-ticket into Heaven. God loves you, no matter what.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2005

    Healing for brokenness

    Brennan Manning writes from brokenness and humility. His writings bring me into the healing presence of the Holy Spirit. I heard him speak and he is a dear, caring soul, frank and open, not hiding himself, because Jesus is his all in all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2004

    Reflections of a College Freshman

    Brennan Manning has opened a can of worms, so to speak. He has profoundly uncovered the gospel in a way that I did not even know was possible. What some critics call a book with heretic views, I call a Christ-centered commentary on what the Christian life is really all about. Throughout this book Mr. Manning seemed to be challenging the reader to better know Christ through personal experiences and observations. He also challenges readers to give up mundane living and to live the life that Abba had originally meant for us. Although the entire entire book was fabulous one chapter in particular stuck out to me, I believe that the chapter was entitled, Grazie, Signore. In this chapter Mr. Manning addressed the issue of wanting physical assertions from others in order to know that the relationship is real. He also addressed through a quote how a Christian¿s need to have a relationship with Jesus should be different and how our view should be changed, in both circumstances. I believe that Mr. Manning knew what he was saying. He brought up many strong arguments over how we live our lives and how we should be living them. He brought up many evidences to back up his writings; not only did he use scriptures, but he also used his own personal experiences and that of others. He was very clear on his views and perceptions of the Christian Life. His view has not changed in the past ten years either. In the 2000 edition of this book he wrote a note in the back telling of how things have been since he originally wrote it. I read approximately ninety-nine percent of the Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning. The ninety-nine percent would have to be the actual text, and the one percent would be the footnotes, and prayer/reflection guidelines. Overall this book was an amazing help for me in my walk with Christ. It has helped me to pinpoint and begin to work on some of the issues that I didn¿t even know that I had. I believe that this book would be a very big help to anyone who has ever struggled or marveled with God¿s amazing love and grace. I emphatically recommend this book as a five star read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 18, 2013

    Highly Recommended - Good to distribute

    We like this book because he is talking to ordinary people who deal with struggles - not the super spiritual people. We hand a lot of them out and others appreciate it too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    .

    .

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2004

    I agree with PJ and Tom

    Who is Brennan Manning to title a mortal book 'Gospel'? He cons you into paying to read or listen to his life's testimony without mentioning an attempt to change for the better, and garnering all the attention for himself. The advocation of lighting a few candles and Ohm some meditations for peace in your heart wasn't taught by Jesus in either Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2003

    'We are beggars...this is true!' -Martin Luther

    Martin Luther's dying words echo in this book. We are beggars, or 'ragamuffins' to use Manning's terminology. I literally stumbled on this book in much the same way I did Roland Bainton's Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther. It caught my eye in a bookstore because I noticed that Rich Mullins, whose music I have listened to for many years, was on the cover. I associated the Ragamuffin motif with Mullins and his 'Ragamuffin Band' but did not know the origin of it. Mullins built many of his songs on Manning's concept of the sinner who comes to God as a ragamuffin, not only beaten by his\her own sins, but often by the church as well. Manning presents a well-written exposition that is both personal and perceptive. I think it is essential for Christians to realize the real basis of our acceptance, our 'right-standing' before God. It is not in us, or our works, good or bad. It is in Jesus Christ. I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this book, however, because Manning does not go far enough, failing to provide the reader with the rest of the 'truth as it is in Jesus,' namely that we not only are made right with God through Christ but also that as His life becomes manifest in our own lives, we become more like him. It is the age-old balance between 'justification' and 'sanctification' that again gets lost. There are also some parts of the book I found questionable and even inappropriate for a book that may be read by female as well as male readers. A better choice would be Billy Graham's Peace With God or How to Be Born Again. For more depth on the subject read John Piper's Counted Righteous In Christ.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2003

    Manning overated

    Brennan Manning spends this book describing a grace which he refuses to have with those he disagrees with he is offensive towards anyone who holds positions different to his and appears to forget the latter half of the story, yes sin is overcome (Rom 6) but shall we go on sinning, by no means (Rom 7). Manning is one sided. I honestly learned a lot about grace in this book but think it is an unbalanced perspective.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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