Author Archives: Philip Yancey

Do No Harm

Do No Harm

The apostle Paul said about a healthy community, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” The Christian community, known worldwide by the symbol of a cross and by our regular partaking of a sacrament “in remembrance of Me,” should be able to make

Does Prayer Make a Difference?

Prayer can be easy during the good times, but it can be challenging during difficult times. Admitting this can be a difficult thing, but for many it is true. Philip Yancey tackles the subject of prayer, beginning with the question, “Does it make any difference?” He asks the questions that we ask, but digs deep

Prayer: Timeless Love

The scene of Jesus huddled in a locked room with a dozen friends, one of them a traitor, while outside temple guards and Roman legionnaires buckle on their swords and whips and torture devices, preparing for another dreary night’s work, stands as a tableau of human history. A hushed moment of foreboding, a heartfelt prayer,

Grace on Tap

Living “in the world,” we can look for natural opportunities to dispense grace — not just words — to those around us. Gabe Lyons recommends inviting community leaders, whether Christian or not, into church to tell how best to engage with the neighborhood and its problems. As he notes, African American churches have historically done that, finding ways to honor teachers,

Ask Seek Knock

Editor’s Note: Today is the National Day of Prayer and we would love for you to join other believers all over the United States in praying for our families, our nation, and the world. We’re so thankful for God’s blessings and know that He hears us and responds when we pray. We hope you’ll join

I Want to Know Why!

It does not help to try to quantify suffering, I have learned along the way. That the tsunami of 2004 killed far more people than the tsunami of 2011 or that more students died at Virginia Tech than at Sandy Hook Elementary School does not make one event more tragic than the other. Likewise, to

The Scandal of Forgiveness

The only thing harder than forgiveness is the alternative. Magnanimous forgiveness, allows the possibility of transformation in the guilty party. Lewis Smedes details this process of “spiritual surgery”: When you forgive someone, you slice away the wrong from the person who did it. You disengage that person from his hurtful act. You recreate him. At

Oddballs, Defectives, Sinners, Aliens, Gentiles… and Grace

Before writing The Jesus I Never Knew, I spent several months researching the background to Jesus’ life. I learned to appreciate the ordered world of first-century Judaism. I admit that the ranking of people rankled my American sensibilities — it seemed a formal pattern of ungrace, a religious caste system — but at least the

The New Math of Grace

When a column of mine titled “The Atrocious Mathematics of the Gospel” appeared in Christianity Today magazine, I soon learned that not everyone appreciates satire. Response letters scorched the inside of my mailbox. “Philip Yancey, you do not walk with God or with Jesus!” wrote one irate reader; “This column is blasphemy.” Another condemned my

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