I received a free copy of Larry Alex Taunton’s The Grace Effect from BookSneeze.com in return for a fair review.
This is the story of Taunton’s family’s adoption of a little girl from the Ukraine called Sasha. Yet it is not just a personal account; instead it is interwoven with an analysis of the arguments of the New Atheists for a society which denies God.
Such refutation of atheistic thinking is Taunton’s life work as both historian and Christian apologist and, at times, you might need a good measure of determination to sort through some of the more philosophical discussions in the book! But this is, by no means, all that this book comprises. The very human touch comes from his memories of the long adoptive process which required him and his family to spend weeks in the Ukraine. Skilfully, he interweaves both elements until the reader can see that he believes that Sasha, now his daughter, demonstrates the grace effect. By this, he means that she is the product of a largely atheistic state, treated as soulless. Sasha’s life, as it was, had been formed by the secularism being championed by so many today in the West, as she was dragged from one hopeless orphanage to another, places where the children’s food was rotten and some even lacked toilet paper. It was a world largely devoid of the common grace flowing from a Christian influence in society.
Yet, when brought into the Taunton family in a nation shaped by Christian values, a nation which is still enjoying the benefits of Christianity’s contributions to its society, Sasha’s life is utterly changed as she understands what it is to be loved, what it is to be cared for. She, says Taunton, is a demonstration of the grace effect as her life is transformed through grace.
I enjoyed this book and found it very readable, even where I felt momentarily out of my depth in the apologetics debates which Taunton records between himself and Christopher Hitchens. The description of the adoption process in an Eastern Bloc country was eye-opening and also a little horrifying and I suspect that, even if you did not connect with this book for its apologetics value, you would appreciate its honest account of life in a society which has largely abandoned God.