In The Grace Effect, apologist Larry Taunton effective weaves together a Christian apologetic with the story of his family’s adoption of their daughter, Sasha, from the Ukraine. The book is framed in the context of on-going conversations between Taunton and famed atheist Christopher Hitchens. Through Taunton’s work as the director of a foundation focused on the advancement of the Christian faith, he has developed a close friendship with Hitchens, which is an odd friendship because they believe in two fundamentally oppositional worldviews.
As an apologist, Taunton is constantly seeking arguments to present for the compelling nature of the gospel. As he travelled through the process of adopting his daughter, Taunton discovered that the lack of grace in a culture, which comes fundamentally from the Christian worldview, causes a culture to decline and become a place of no hope. The removal of the gospel from a culture deprives that very culture of hope, meaning, and vitality.
The Grace Effect is a compelling story of how Taunton’s presupposition came to life through his real life experiences as an adoptive father in the Ukraine. The Ukraine is a country that has personified the atheistic worldview that Christopher Hitchens supports. As Taunton walks the streets of the country, he sees the dark results of Hitchen’s worldview played out in the lives of real people. He is reminded once again of the power of the gospel and the Christian worldview to truly be a place of hope and healing for people and culture.
The book ends with Hitchens meeting Sasha. The child who has experienced extravagant grace through the gospel being displayed in the life of the Taunton family comes face to face with the atheist who promotes the cultural philosophy that negatively defined so much of the child’s life. As they meet, Hitchens is amazed by the child who overcame and saw that there must be something different about her. Though Hitchens remains in his worldview, the story of The Grace Effect made him come face to face with a real life apologetic of the power of the gospel.
The Grace Effect is an engaging book that weaves together theology, philosophy, history, and real life experiences into a page-turning story. Taunton truly presents a real life apologetic, through his daughter, and reminds his readers once again of the power of grace.