How Christians Have Misunderstood Grace


"Grace" appears exactly 170 times in The King James Version of the Bible. You'll stumble across the word more often than "forgive," "believe," or "hell." But, according to Preston Sprinkle, Christians have misunderstood grace. Sprinkle is author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestselling Erasing Hell (co-authored with Francis Chan), and professor at Eternity Bible College. His new book, Charis: God's Scandalous Grace for Us, explores how we've misunderstood this critical Christian concept. Here, we discuss how grace is "not just a New Testament thing" and how his study of grace has led him to a somewhat scandalous understanding of hell.

RNS: Why does the world need another book about grace?

PS: There many books on grace, but I focus primarily on the Old Testament to show that [tweetable]grace is not just a New Testament thing.[/tweetable]

The Old Testament is all about grace. It forms the rich soil from which Jesus’s gospel of grace blossoms. To understand Jesus, we must soak ourselves in Israel’s story of grace. That’s why I end the book by looking at the birth, life, and death of Jesus. Because Jesus is not just the beginning of the New Testament but also the fitting climax of the Old.

Plus, many Christians still remain stuck in a transactional relationship with Jesus. I'm saying that the message of grace is scandalous. It’s counterintuitive. [tweetable]If we haven’t been offended by grace, we haven’t truly understood it.[/tweetable]

RNS: You say that many of the faith’s Old Testament patriarchs aren’t the saints many have made them out to be. What does that have to do with grace?