Brennan Manning: The Ragamuffin Gospel

Brennan Manning is a former U. S. Marine as well as a former Franciscan priest.  He is also a recovering alcoholic.  In 1990, his book The Ragamuffin Gospel was published.  This is a book about grace — not grace in theory but grace in practice.  In fact, he believes that is a problem with the American church today.  We often say we believe in God’s grace while we practice something else.

Somewhere, I bought a used copy of this book.  Little did I know this was an autographed copy.  On the first page of the book, Manning had written a brief note to someone named Kathy.  The note reads, "To Kathy — From one ragamuffin to another — Brennan Manning."

The following is an excerpt (hear the echo of Romans eight):

The question which the gospel of grace puts to us is simply this: Who shall separate you from the love of Christ?  What are you afraid of?


Are you afraid that your weakness could separate you from the love of Christ?  It can’t.


Are you afraid that your inadequacies could separate you from the love of Christ?  They can’t.


Are you afraid that your inner poverty could separate you from the love of Christ?  It can’t.


Difficult marriage, loneliness, anxiety over the children’s future?  They can’t.


Negative self-image?  It can’t.


Economic hardship, racial hatred, street crime?  They can’t.


Rejection by loved ones or the suffering of loved ones?  They can’t.


Persecution by authorities, going to jail?  They can’t.


Nuclear war?  It can’t.


Mistakes, fears, uncertainties?  They can’t.


The gospel of grace calls out: Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord….  Faith will become vision, hope will become possession, but the love Jesus Christ that is stronger than death endures forever.  In the end, it is the one thing you can hold on to.

(Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, p. 86)  

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5 thoughts on “Brennan Manning: The Ragamuffin Gospel

  1. Hi Jim.  Found this site by searching for TRG on blogger.  I am currently finishing up this book.  What I’ve found is that there’s a lot of great content to this book mixed with what I think is extraneous, sometimes confusing words.  I’m not sure I would recommend this book to learn about Grace, althought I wouldn’t call Manning a heretic as many already have. I am just starting "What’s So Amazing About Grace" by Philip Yancey.  I feel this is a lot more readable, but have been warned it gets a little political near the end.  Good luck in all pursuits! 

  2. Heidi,I am so glad you dropped by.  Hope you will come back.For me, the power of Mannings book is found in some of his examples and images.  They were helpful pictures of God’s grace.  But, like you say, this is probably not the book with the best explanation.I read Yancey’s book several years ago and was blessed by it.  Hope you are as well.Thanks,  

  3. I enjoyed Phillip Yancey’s book very much but Brennan mannings books speak to me.  I am no longer ashamed of the ragamuffin I was or am….God loves me anyway and desperately wants to spend time with me…even if no one else does!

  4. The Ragamuffin Gospel changed my life. Ruthless Trust and The Importance of Being Foolish (also by Manning) have also contributed. My wife, daughter, and I are going to see Manning speak this weekend in Savannah, GA. I’m looking forward to it immensely. Its hard to discount the sincerity with which Manning writes. He admits his paradoxical nature and that makes him a lot easier for me to take seriously than someone who does not.

  5. Mark,How wonderful!  So glad to hear of Manning’s impact in your life.  Glad you are able to hear him this weekend.  How you comment about the experience.