Review by John Paul Ortiz: Tullian Tchividjian’s One Way Love

5 out of 5 Stars
Author: Tullian Tchividjian
Publisher: David C. Cook
Buy One Way Love
Reading Level: Easy

John Paul Ortiz is a slave to the living Christ (and occasional guest blogger). Acoustic singer/songwriter currently residing in Corpus Christi, Texas. Using the gifts given him to work up hymns and spiritual songs to make much of our Maker. Lover of the church, reading books, cats, and theology. Deserving every flame of Hell, but through Christ receiving every grace of Heaven.You can follow him on twitter @LoveMeLastBand.

It wasn’t until recently that I even heard the name Tullian Tchividjian (let alone pronounce it!) I quickly found out we had a lot in common: We both loved the God of all grace and the radical, unconditional, merit shocking, one-way-love grace of God. Furthermore, we both (as I found upon reading this work) agree on the disdain for certain green vegetables! Yay!

Without getting past the introduction I was floored with a statement that hovers over the entire book:

Christianity is perceived as being a vehicle for good behavior and clean living—and the judgments that result from them—rather than the only recourse for those who have failed over and over and over again. (16)

Tullian couldn’t be more spot on. He further exclaims in following chapters that we are a people heavily prone to the grace threatening ailments of moralism, performancism, narcissism, and, topping it off, a identity founded on law dependency. Tullian proceeds to take us through the tapestry of radical grace in his own life, as well as gathers Biblical accounts and heart piercing stories to further drive us to the freeing cross of Christ. One cannot help but burst forth screaming out a resounding, “Amen!” “Yes!” and “That is me!” I joined him in laughter at his early versions of pious living attempts and rigorous scorekeeping, as well as being deeply moved by his personal failures and struggles I could all too well relate with. Showing in all that, even in spite of us, we’ve been woven in divine love, and threaded with grace abounding.

Next he tackles the identity crisis (Christian and non-Christian) we all too often find ourselves basking in. Our constant reliance on false grace and ladder climbing laws for acceptance and worth in all our personal relationships. Showing us that our identity seeking tasks are actually chains of crushing vanity. That the life we need to see is the One we have been risen with.

People let us down because they can’t give us what we want, and we continue to believe that they should. For crying out loud! we think. Somebody should be able to keep the law for me and make me okay!

We’ve forgotten that Someone already has. (148)

Continuing on, Tullian points us to the practicality of ground level grace. What it looks like in our lives, our marriages, our families, and work place. The freedom we have to extend it in our lives. The freedom to not be perfect. To know we can and will fail and yet still are upheld. The freedom to get messy with life alongside others. The freedom to a radical-no-strings-attached approach in place of our looming conditionalities. To now give what we have been so freely given--unconditional grace.

Even those of us who have tasted the radical saving grace of God find it intuitively difficult not to put conditions on it when we try to communicate it to others—“Don’t take it too far; keep it balanced.” As understandable as this hedging tendency may be, a “grace, but” posture perpetuates slavery in our lives and in the church. Grace is radically unbalanced. It contains no but: it is unconditional, uncontrollable, unpredictable, and undomesticated—or else it is not grace. (175)

He spends the concluding portion of this work answering objections to those who feel he’s swam too deep in the glories of God’s grace and needs to cling back onto the life jacket of Law again. Yet profoundly and thought provokingly he replies:

The fact is, the only way any of us ever start to live a life of true obedience is when we get a taste of God’s radical, unconditional acceptance of sinners. The message that justifies is the same message that sanctifies. What makes us think the same generosity that flows from the Gospel of forgiveness won’t lead others to repentance the way it has us? (189)

I couldn’t more heartily agree.

This book is a clarion call to look to the One whose life we are hidden in. A call to true transparency--to see as we are seen. A call to those who forgot. Forget. Are tired. Never experienced. Won’t preach enough about. Won’t rest enough in. A call to grace for broken people living in a broken world.

A call to learn of the One where a weary soul can find--“One Way Love.”

That’s something I cannot help but joyfully recommend.

If you plan on purchasing One Way Love, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by purchasing from Amazon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received One Way Love free from David C. Cook. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”