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Why Sin Matters: The Surprising Relationship between Our Sin and God's Grace [Hardcover]

By Mark R. McMinn (Author)
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Item Number 47557  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.28" Width: 6.24" Height: 0.81"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2004
Publisher   Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN  0842383654  
EAN  9780842383653  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Recent statistics show that people tend to overestimate themselves thinking they're better that they actually are. Dr. Mark McMinn suggests that there is a cost to this kind of pride but true freedom is found in humility. This emotionally stirring book brings us to a point where we can realize our sin and through that, leads us straight into the arms of a grace giving God. Using Rembrandt's ornate painting, The Return of the Prodigal Son, McMinn illustrates how the father's lavish mercy and grace could not be experienced without the son's outlandish rebellion and rejection of the father.

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More About Mark R. McMinn

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! McMinn is the Dr. Arthur P. Rech and Mrs. Jean May Rech Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College.

Mark R. McMinn has published or released items in the following series...
  1. AACC Counseling Library
  2. Resources for Christian Counseling

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Excellent Seller  May 7, 2006
Great service, speedy delivery, the book is in excellent shape, better that advertised!!
Get past the beginning and you'll love it.  Aug 29, 2005
This book is so much better than the title makes it sound and than the first 25-35 pages make it seem. Just get through the beginning, and then you'll love it. Once you get past the tedious part where he's summarizing Nouwen (it's better to just read Nouwen), you'll find McMinn's wonderful contribution. If you're a preacher, buy this book. It has awesome illustrations for sermons. If you're trying to get right with God, read this book. It will help you see what's blocking you from God. If you're a psychologist, read this book because it's written by a psychologist who thinks highly of the discipline but has some vital things to say to those in the field. If you're interested in spiritual formation, buy this book because it will spawn you to change. The challenges are many, but the tone is so gentle that you might be able to swallow truth that you have previously denied.

Truthful and Encouraging  Feb 11, 2005
At first glance, the title may cause people to turn and run, but this is one of the most encouraging and outstanding books I have read. The author has a keen ability to address truth with grace, and point to the true hope of God's grace. Sin is an issue that permiates our lives. This book talks about the various ways that this is true and about how God deals with this reality in the process of sanctifying His people. The book is wonderfully written--a great balance between theology, illustration, truth and grace. Highly, highly recommended. May become a Christian classic.
A book of uncommon wisdom and warmth  Jul 15, 2004
Written with a blend of wisdom and warmth all too uncommon in books addressing the subjects of sin and grace, Mark McMinn has given his readers a tremendous well from which to draw nourishment and sustenance this side of heaven. As he contemplates Rembrandt's masterpiece "The Return of the Prodigal Son" in a Russian museum, he offers hope for all of us who roam and wonder if we'll be welcomed into our fathers' arms; as he explores our longings for "home" in the midst of our nomadic, earthly existence, he provides reassurance that we're not alone in the journey. Devoid of mere sentimentality and yet with the authentic voice of one on the pilgrim's way, this book was the right work at the right time in my own life.
The Surprising Relationship Between Our Sin and God's Grace  Jun 6, 2004
Open the front cover of this book, and you'll see a four-color glossy reproduction of Rembrandt's "The Return of the Prodigal Son," which captured the imagination of the late Henri Nouwen, whose best book personalizes that painting's characters and themes.

Inspired by Nouwen, McMinn, a psychology professor at Wheaton College (Illinois), went to St. Petersburg, Russia to "sit with" the Rembrandt and there decided to write this book about sin and grace --- far different, he says, from a never-published "book about grace" he wrote 15 years ago. The difference? From the perspective of empty-nest, middle age, he sees that one cannot understand grace "without understanding sin."

After two introductory chapters grounded in his epiphanic reaction to the Prodigal Son parable and painting, McMinn looks at sin from three perspectives: theology, psychology and spirituality. Noting the problems with a prevalent, secular "I'm OK, you're OK" mindset and a judgmental "I'm OK, you're a mess" stance, he concludes that it's wiser and more realistic, albeit countercultural, to admit, "I'm a mess, you're a mess." The voice of this humble stance draws the reader in; it turns what could have been an analytical book into an insightful, refreshing read. Through revealing (but not too) personal anecdotes, McMinn, the professor and expert, becomes a fellow traveler. "Our greatest hope is going through a long, slow process of understanding our messes, acknowledging our part in the problem, then seeking resolution and restoration."

Being a psychologist, not a theologian, his insights get better as the book progresses, but early on he does lay out good distinctions among three dimensions of sin: sinfulness, the "white noise" of original sin that "touches every aspect of our existence"; sins, the choices we make to "violate God's instruction"; and the consequences of sin, our own and others'. The point of this synopsis? "Only as we begin to grasp the immensity of the sin problem are we able to glimpse the depth of God's grace, and paradoxically, seeing God's grace gives us courage to face our sinfulness."

Much of part 2, "The Damage Report," which discusses the psychological perspective of sin, hones in on pride, "the utmost evil," according to C. S. Lewis --- how it wreaks havoc in our passions ("in our pride we love and hate the wrong things," writes McMinn) and also in our minds ("pride taints our thinking as well as our affections"). McMinn then spends a chapter acknowledging that we are not sinful trash but rather "noble ruins" --- made in the image of God.

Part 3, "Homeward Bound," draws us toward God and the grace he offers --- through himself and through people working on his behalf --- notably as we admit our sinfulness and sins. The best lines in the book may be those under the heading "Repentance and Forgiveness": "Time does not heal all wounds. Time heals clean wounds. Soiled wounds fester and infect, leading to bitterness and cynicism, to terrorism and war, to divided marriages and wounded children ...

"When we humbly admit our weaknesses and faults to God and to one another, we create the possibility for the intimacy we long for and we catch a glimpse of heaven."

It's hard to categorize this book. It is not self-help or how-to. Nor is it heavy theology (for all the talk of sin and grace, there isn't much technical talk of the Atonement). Nor is it a devotional. This is not a book for or of interest to men more than women. (Having said that, I note that in seven pages of endnotes, McMinn cites only two women; surely this says something about our fallen world, though it's hard for me to articulate what.)

Like the works of Henri Nouwen, WHY SIN MATTERS is a thoughtful, insightful nudge toward spiritual and psychological growth. It could well complement pastoral or clinical therapy. Its insights will be valuable for anyone who has sung John Newton's "Amazing Grace" and resonated with or has conversely been repulsed by its most difficult phrase: "a wretch like me."

--- Reviewed by Evelyn Bence


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