A debut book delivers a brief statement of basic Christian concepts.
Brownell presents a simple yet instructive introduction to the concepts of grace, mercy, and hope as they relate to the Christian faith. Her work is scripturally based, with a healthy dose of examples and allusions from the larger world of literature and even popular culture. The book has a traditionalist tone but is neither judgmental nor particularly conservative; it does, however, approach the Christian faith from a thoroughly orthodox, Protestant point of view. Brownell begins with a discussion of grace, which she defines simply as “unmerited favor.” In addition to other Scriptures, the author uses the Apostle Paul’s life experiences as an example of grace in the believer’s life. She also uses the conversion story of John Newton—writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace”—to demonstrate the role and power of grace. Brownell goes on to discuss mercy, which she defines negatively as “God not punishing us for our sins like we deserve.” The author emphasizes that although God bestows mercy without price, it is the choice of each person whether or not to accept that offering through repentance. She proceeds to unfold a meaningful discussion of theological terms related to mercy, among them being justification (“the removal of the guilt of our sin”) and sanctification (“the healing of our sins”). Brownell explains at length the importance of giving thanks for the gift of mercy from God. Finally, she turns to hope, stating that “biblically, hope is confident expectation.” “Our hope,” the author points out, “comes from salvation in Jesus Christ.” Because of hope in redemption, eternal life, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil, the believer has no need to experience worry and concern. Taken as a whole, Brownell’s work provides useful guidance and food for thought for the burgeoning believer.
Well-written and engaging yet also folksy and approachable, especially for readers new to the Christian faith.