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Don t be fooled by the title although The Transforming Power of Grace sounds like the latest book by a celebrity pastor, it is really a rigorous exposition of the theology of grace Oden, a leading paleo orthodox scholar, copiously cites both the Bible and the wisdom of the classic Christian consensus in order to back up his points He wrestles with the contentious questions of foreknowledge, predestination and election and effectively demonstrates the soundness of Arminian theology though Don t be fooled by the title although The Transforming Power of Grace sounds like the latest book by a celebrity pastor, it is really a rigorous exposition of the theology of grace Oden, a leading paleo orthodox scholar, copiously cites both the Bible and the wisdom of the classic Christian consensus in order to back up his points He wrestles with the contentious questions of foreknowledge, predestination and election and effectively demonstrates the soundness of Arminian theology though Oden himself does not explicitly state this The first part of the book deals with philosophical and theological questions before investigating how grace was present in Biblical history and how it permeates through our world today I have heard that Eastern Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism share some theological ideas and with Oden s fondness for the Eastern Church fathers, that appears to be the case This book certainly makes me want to read some of the Church fathers This is a gem of a book that should be read by any and all Christians Truly, truly, it demonstrates that life is all of grace [[ DOWNLOAD KINDLE ]] ⇱ The Transforming Power of Grace ☔ How does an infinite God relate to finite human beings How does the death of Jesus Christ bring about human salvation How are Christians able to actively address the world s ills while maintaining their citizenship in the kingdom of God These are questions the church grapples with today, as it always has Yet, according to Thomas C Oden, contemporary theology has neglected the church s traditional answer to these questions the doctrine of grace All too often modern theologians either ignore the doctrine of grace or relate it to the achievement of a particular political agenda Oden asserts that only by reclaiming the centrality of grace defined as God s self giving through Jesus Christ in personal encounter with the individual human will can Christian theology be true to the gospelIn order to reclaim the doctrine of grace, the author reaches back, beyond the fragmentation of theology that took place during and after the Enlightenment He draws upon the ecumenical consensus held by early Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant theologians, councils, and creeds regarding this cardinal Christian doctrine By adducing this ancient unity, Oden challenges modern assumptions concerning the sources and methods of the theological enterprise and calls contemporary Christians to discern what their forebears in the faith knew to be essential to the gospel that to be a Christian is to be formed, nurtured, and upheld solely by divine grace Here are a several of lines from Oden that lay out the trajectory of the book The purpose of caregiving the pastoral ministry is to make the truth of grace plausible and appropriable in the inner life of the individual Grace is God s way of empowering the bound will and healing the suffering spirit Thewe try to autonomously to ignite a moral imperative within, theit turns to dust and ashes in our hands That God is powerful and sovereign and that we are held accountable to him Here are a several of lines from Oden that lay out the trajectory of the book The purpose of caregiving the pastoral ministry is to make the truth of grace plausible and appropriable in the inner life of the individual Grace is God s way of empowering the bound will and healing the suffering spirit Thewe try to autonomously to ignite a moral imperative within, theit turns to dust and ashes in our hands That God is powerful and sovereign and that we are held accountable to him, the Bible itself declares that we need no Bible to tell us But that God is merciful and kind to sinners, good to us in his grace, is the message of the Bible In this book, Thomas Oden, a Methodist theologian, roots the great vision of the Christian life in grace Oden is particularly concerned to restate the Arminian view of prevenient grace though he never refers to himself as an Arminian , that grace which goes before, flowing from the work of Christ on the cross, enabling those who are lost in sin to not be so overwhelmed by the loss of original righteousness in the Fall that they have become totally inert and passive with respect to the free offer of the Gospel All begins with grace, but this grace enables choice.This stands in contrast to Calvinism which sees the will as totally captive to the sin nature in such a manner that it remains wholly passive and without any capacity to choose in the normal sense of choose, which is the power of contrary choice Because man is totally noncooperative in regeneration, grace is monergistic and irresistible The very act of choosing, according to the Calvinist, is evidence that one has already been enlivened by Christ and made new Because of such, he can now by faith and repentance receive the offer of the Gospel, is then justified by God and converted Oden sees this process as described by the Calvinist something remote, impersonal and fully contrary to the nature of persons in relationship, not to mention not only without full biblical support but outside the consensus teaching of the church Grace is to his mind resistible, but it is gracious on the part of God to so restore us from our lost condition that choosing is a meaningful and personal act That God would by fiat, apart from human choosing, elect to revivify some and pass over others whom he could save but chooses not to, would run contrary to the metanarrative of the biblical story as well as to human consciousness itself, not to mention the very character of God as good.Calvinism appeals often to the writings of Augustine In fact, Calvin s Institutes is essentially a restatement of Augustine But, as Oden points out, the early Augustine is muchmoderate and in keeping with the church fathers The late Augustine with its rigid predestinarianism moves further away from consensus Christianity, and these views were never affirmed by the church councils, though Augustines stand against Pelagianism was fully embraced.In these days there are few powerful descriptions of Arminian accounts of grace For an explanation of this state of affairs, see Roger Olson s Arminian Theology Myths and Realities I found this book enormously helpful, as there seem too few books out there offering a non Calvinistic view on Biblical grace and I had never read one before To hear Calvinists referring to Reformed Theology as a Theology of Grace, as if any other position in the history of the church neglects grace, makes me wince Oden does a magnificent job of drawing thoroughly on the historical ecumenical consensus regarding Biblical grace in order to celebrate how grace has long been emphasized througho I found this book enormously helpful, as there seem too few books out there offering a non Calvinistic view on Biblical grace and I had never read one before To hear Calvinists referring to Reformed Theology as a Theology of Grace, as if any other position in the history of the church neglects grace, makes me wince Oden does a magnificent job of drawing thoroughly on the historical ecumenical consensus regarding Biblical grace in order to celebrate how grace has long been emphasized throughout church history Oden is clearly Arminian in his convictions, and having read this book, I will never again think of Arminianism as man centered or works based This book very capably explains a God centered grace based theology that allows for the exercise of our free wills to receive it or reject it, and documents how the Church has held such positions with notable exceptions since the early Church Fathers Make no mistake, this is not a devotional book, but onetilted toward academic use, but I found it truly edifying Thomas C Oden has written an excellent, readable book on the grace of God We have all read books that talk about God s grace and at least I have had some confusion about what in the world they were talking about or the distinctions between various graces of God.This book is the best exposition of God s grace that I have read It also talks about John Wesley s prevenient grace by going way back to the comments of the early church.The book is divided into five sections The first is Grace in spi Thomas C Oden has written an excellent, readable book on the grace of God We have all read books that talk about God s grace and at least I have had some confusion about what in the world they were talking about or the distinctions between various graces of God.This book is the best exposition of God s grace that I have read It also talks about John Wesley s prevenient grace by going way back to the comments of the early church.The book is divided into five sections The first is Grace in spiritual formation, the second is The reach and depth of the forming work of Grace, the third is how grace becomes freedom, the fourth is on predestination and the permissionof recalcitrance and the last is where the history of grace meets the mystery of personal choice.This is an excellent read for anyone who is interested in learning about the different graces of God.J Robert Ewbank, author, John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms A thorough treatment of grace Emphasizes that grace goes before faith, works all through faith and repentance, and continues to keep and shape those who respond to God s call to salvation A deft Arminian treatment of grace, highlighting dozens, it seems, of aspects and categories of grace This is no Semi Pelagianism The effectiveness, power, and comprehensiveness of grace is emphasized alongside the responsibility of each person to respond with appropriate faith When people refuse Christ, t A thorough treatment of grace Emphasizes that grace goes before faith, works all through faith and repentance, and continues to keep and shape those who respond to God s call to salvation A deft Arminian treatment of grace, highlighting dozens, it seems, of aspects and categories of grace This is no Semi Pelagianism The effectiveness, power, and comprehensiveness of grace is emphasized alongside the responsibility of each person to respond with appropriate faith When people refuse Christ, the defect lies not in grace, but within the fallen will At times the wording seems pretty academic, however, the content in this book is wonderful It takes the sometimes difficult topic of grace and presents it beautifully Though it was required reading for school, I was hooked after the first chapter The entire book was one I was excited to read weekly I learned a lot from it. Very, very thought provoking Many beautiful points made However, although I understand it is mainly a history, I would have preferredScriptural basis. Oden is outstanding in this seminal work on grace Not an easy read in some parts, and you may need a dictionary handy to define his scope of vocabulary, but worth the trouble. Not an easy, or even enjoyable read, but weighty and impactful for those willing to pay the price of reading it.