A Journey in Grace
A Theological Novel

Book Details

Discerning Reader Editorial Review

Reviewed 03/16/2006 by Tim Challies.

Recommended. Good theology, poor fiction, but well worth reading.

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.