Skip to content ↓

Book Review – A Journey in Grace

Book Reviews Collection cover image

A Journey in Grace, by Richard Belcher, is billed as being “A Theological Novel.” So intrigued was I at the prospect of reading a theological novel that I left this book sitting on my shelf for seven years before I ever thought to read it. And now I can’t help but wish I had read it sooner.

I believe the order of the words in “theological novel” is important. This book is definitely better theology than fiction. In fact, as fiction goes, it is quite poor. But as theology it is exceptional. I chose to read and examine it as theology rather than fiction, since that is clearly its primary purpose.

A Journey in Grace tells the story of Ira Pointer, a young man who is studying for the ministry in a fictitious Bible college. While being interviewed for the position of pastor at a nearby church he is asked the question, “Young man, are you a Calvinist.” The story then unfolds around Ira trying to define and understand Calvinism. Being the methodical sort, he examines Calvinist beliefs point-by-point, holding them up before Scripture to allow the light of the Word to shine through. And he is sure to study not only the points, but also the counter-points. What emerges is a strong defense of the doctrines of grace, that while set in a fictitious setting, is still remarkably instructive. In terms of usefulness as a defense of the doctrines, I would rate it higher than many non-fiction books I have read that cover the same topic.

I admit that this book sounds dry. But while it may sound that way, it actually flows quite naturally. It could be that I am biased towards any novel that features a hyper-Calvinist and a convinced Arminian as the antagonists, but I think there is more to it than that. I found it an enjoyable read and learned a lot about a topic I thought I had mastered. I recommend this one. In fact, I so enjoyed it that I have immediately begun to read the sequel, A Journey in Purity.

RatingEvaluation
★★★Theology
Strong, Bible-based theology throughout.
★★★Readability
It is theological fiction, combining theology with a story. Even teens should enjoy it.
★★★Uniqueness
I don’t know of any other theological novels, and certainly none like these.
★★Importance
Not a must-read unless you’ve never met the doctrines of grace.
Overall
It’s not great fiction, but it’s strong theology. I highly recommend it!
More About Ratings & Reviews

  • A Whole Batch of New Books for Kids

    A Whole Batch of New Books for Kids

    Every month I put together a roundup of new and notable books for grownup readers. But I also receive a lot of books for kids and like to put together the occasional roundup of these books as well. So today I bring you a whole big batch of new books for kids

  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (June 13)

    A La Carte: Were the earliest Christians illiterate? / Our new religion isn’t enough / Why do evil and suffering exist? / The missing ingredient in too many marriages / Is Genesis literal or allegorical? / The death of fear / and more.

  • Tear Down Build Up

    It’s Easier to Tear Down than Build Up

    In my travels, I encountered a man whose work is demolition. When buildings are old and decrepit, or even when they just need to be removed to make way for others, his job is to destroy them and haul them away. New or old, big or small, plain or fancy—it makes no difference to him.…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 12)

    A La Carte: Does Bach’s music prove the existence of God? / Living from approval, not for approval / A surprising test of true faith / Do you have the support you need to grow? / Who was the “black Spurgeon?” / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 11)

    A La Carte: The blessing of constant curiosity / Church discipline in the digital age / Don’t be too easy to join / Body matters in Genesis / The local church is a sandbox / Seasons in a pastor’s life / and more.

  • Trusting Jesus in The Public Square 

    This week the blog is sponsored by Moody Publishers. Parents have a biblical responsibility to protect their children not only from physical harm but also from spiritual harm. It is entirely appropriate and right for a parent to wrestle with whether they want to allow their child to continue to have a friendship with a…