Chaos and Grace

Discovering the Liberating Work of the Holy Spirit

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It's no secret that we are addicted to control. We work to control our time, our TVs, our weight, and even our faith lives. We strive for efficiency and quantifiable results. But all that control, we soon find out, is exhausting. And it is contrary to God's plan for us. In Chaos and Grace, Mark Galli offers readers freedom from the need for control and order by reintroducing them to the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit.

In this insightful book, Galli exposes our individual mistakes and the church's foibles and points the way to grace--which, as it happens, usually lies through chaos and crisis. Through Scripture he shows us that this problem is not unique to modern believers and helps us learn from the stories of God's people through the ages as they gave up and gave in to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.


"One of the most encouraging signs of renewed vigor in the church today is the return to the biblical story as the framework of our theology. To my knowledge, Chaos and Grace is the first story-framed study of the wonderful themes of the liberating presence of God's Spirit--from Genesis to Revelation we get Spirit, Spirit, Spirit, and where the Spirit is, there is freedom. Be careful. When the Spirit comes we encounter a liberating chaos."--Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University; author of One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow

"Mark Galli calls the church to awake to the Spirit of God--the Spirit who cannot be programmed, coerced, or manipulated. The Spirit who liberates us from such activities and invites us to deeper, more unexpected relationship with God. This book will challenge the way you think about the church in America."--Margaret Feinberg,; author of Scouting the Divine and The Organic God

"When he writes or speaks, Mark always makes me think and wrestle with issues--generally mine! This book wasn't written for a fast, casual read. You will have to slow down and reflect. Some chapters you will need to go back and reread more than once. Biblical, solid, and honest--it will force you not just to think but to examine yourself."--Bob Roberts Jr., senior pastor, NorthWood Church; author of Transformation and Glocalization

"Mark Galli's Chaos and Grace reflects his mature views after many years of editing Christianity Today. Using biblical references applied to the present church scene, he shows the crucial value of the Holy Spirit's 'power of disorder' as contrasted to the comfortable and easy life of many modern churches. This is a most valuable resource for pastors of all types of churches, from small congregations to megachurches. I highly recommend it."--Vinson Synan, dean emeritus, Regent University School of Divinity

"Mark Galli has had it with the idea that life can be controlled or in any way managed. He's yearning for Jesus to really mean freedom. Galli observes the entry of the Holy Spirit into biblical history as a chaos-creating dismantling of useless supports. He counsels giving up rather than trying harder, an end to projects of transformation in favor of grace and mercy toward what is.
We all want liberation from personal repetitions and bad habits. Mark Galli pinpoints this liberation in our shattering moments of giving in to God's upsetting intrusions. Call this a 'theology of liberation' for evangelicals!"--Paul F. M. Zahl, former dean and president, Trinity School for Ministry; author of Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life

"As a human suffering from the control addiction that Mark Galli so saliently describes, I found Chaos and Grace disturbing, upsetting, and disrupting. With unrelenting clarity, Galli points to dozens of biblical and contemporary examples of a liberating God using chaos and disorder to break our bonds of self-direction and plunge us into the disorienting freedom of grace. I finished this book shaken; the more I ponder what I've read, the more I suspect that the things it left rattled are my chains."--Carolyn Arends, recording artist and author

The Author

  1. Mark Galli

    Mark Galli

    Mark Galli is senior managing editor of Christianity Today. A former Presbyterian minister, he is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, including Jesus Mean and Wild, A Great and Terrible Love, Beyond Smells and Bells, and...

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