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If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person    by Philip Gulley & James Mulholland order for
If Grace Is True
by Philip Gulley
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Pastors Philip Gulley and James Mulholland have co-authored a book presenting their words as one voice, in the first person, after arriving separately at the 'same truth'. They both grew up believing traditional church dogma, that people who believed in God in a certain way, and lived their lives a certain way, would go to heaven while others would be hell-bound. In If Grace Is True, Gulley and Mulholland state 'I believe God will save every person.' They present their case for universal salvation through grace, discussing events in their own lives and in those of people they have met.

Over the years, the authors began their journey of questioning the portrayal of God as forgiving, yet wrathful and punishing. Introspection led them to the belief that God loves unconditionally. They tell us there are 'hindrances to experiencing the fullness of God's grace - confusion, fear, prejudice, ignorance, and pride, to name a few. The removal of these obstacles ought to be the primary purpose of the Church.' Through comparison of specific discrepancies in the Bible, Gulley and Mulholland validate their conclusions of universal salvation with the following message: 'Now I have a new formula. It too is simple and clear. It is the most compelling truth I've ever known. It is changing my life. It is changing how I talk about God. It is changing how I think about myself. It is changing how I treat other people. It brings me untold joy, peace, and hope. This truth is the best news I've ever heard, ever believed, and ever shared. I believe God will save every person.'

Written for general audiences, this book is controversial - because it goes against strong beliefs that have been in existence for generations. While reading, I had moments of holding my breath, but then letting go as I grew to appreciate the authors' stance and convictions. They offer a comprehensible, logical read imbued with kindness, compassion, and grace. Gulley is a Quaker minister. Theologian James Mulholland's ecumenical background is in the American Baptist and United Methodist sect. I recommend If Grace Is True to readers who seek alternatives, and to those who appreciate opinions and beliefs presented with logical, intelligent connections. This is an ideal book for church discussion groups.

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