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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


****Soul Survivor

by Philip Yancey

Reviewed December 31, 2001.
A Sonderbooks' Best Book of 2001
Doubleday.  2001.  320 pages.

In this book, Philip Yancey, a popular Christian author, tells about the lives of twelve great people.  Mr. Yancey grew up in a “dysfunctional” church and saw many things that might have pushed him away from Christianity forever.  However, the lives and writings of the people he presents showed him what Christianity could be, and brought him back to the example of Christ.

This is an outstanding book.  I recommend it for Christians to read, but also for people who have doubts or criticisms of Christianity.  I think it can be inspiring to anyone.

I was trying to articulate why I like Philip Yancey’s writing so much.  (I also found What’s So Amazing About Grace? to be excellent.)  I decided that I’ve always liked pastors (like Pastor Doug Moore in LA) who don’t try to come across as having all the answers, but as fellow seekers.  Philip Yancey does this, too.

Soon after I had decided this was what I liked about him, I came to this statement:  “When I began writing openly about my faith, I concluded that I had only one thing to offer:  honesty.  I had heard enough church propaganda growing up.  I would cling to the stance of a pilgrim, not a propagandist, describing life with God as it actually plays out, not as it is supposed to play out.”  This honesty is refreshing and reaches deeper than books that simply set out to give answers.

This book does seem long.  For each of the twelve people presented, he talks about how their life or work touched his own life.  At times, this seems a little repetitious.  However, I think it’s worth taking a little extra time to think about these things.

Another book by Philip Yancey:  The Jesus I Never Knew


Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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