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Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church [Paperback]

Philip Yancey
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Nov 2003
Overexposed to the distortions and hypocrisies of Christian churches, Philip Yancey set out in search of a life enhanced by faith instead of diminished by religion. Having struggled to forge personal convictions about God amid the ironies of life and the incongruities of religion, he looks closer at those whose lives radiate spiritual authenticity rather than pious posturing.

From John Donne to Martin Luther King, Dostoevsky to Mahatma Gandhi, G K Chesterton to Henri Nouwen, Yancey pays homage to some of the most remarkable, selfless, Christ-like lives our world has known, and asks what both he and we can do to find such beautiful faith in our own lives.

Soul Survivor's haunting new Preface covers Yancey's personal experience of the September 11 tragedy and his subsequent visit to Ground Zero, which once again prompted a searing spiritual self-examination.

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; New edition edition (20 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340862297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340862292
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.4 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,109,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author of CBC Book of the Year 2007 - PRAYER - Philip Yancey is one of the most popular and acclaimed religious writers of our day. His searching and refreshingly honest books, which include FINDING GOD IN UNEXPECTED PLACES, SOUL SURVIVOR and PRAYER have encouraged and inspired millions of people around the world.
With a background in journalism, Philip admits that he prefers to ask the questions instead of answer them. This has led him through a path of re-discovering his faith and sharing that, publicly through his writing, in some of the most heart-felt and tried ways imaginable. A true wordsmith, a curator of language, Philip tackles difficult issues with an approach of 'this is what I've wrestled with and how I got through it so perhaps you might find it helpful too' makes his reading incredibly engaging.
Philip admits that he lost his faith in a racist church and made a living out of being a doubter and sceptic. After he came back to his faith, he wrote books about his journey by 'circling the edges' of common issues and eventually moving on to topics like Jesus, grace and most recently prayer. Billy Graham has said that there is no one in the evangelical world whom he admires more.

Product Description


Brilliantly written, perhaps more for those with problems with Christianity than those whose faith has been strengthened by church life, but everyone will benefit. (Christianity and Renewal 2001-11-01)

Yancey's many fans will be inspired, and the 13 profiles can serve as starting points to explore the lives and minds of the individuals who have inspired Yancey. ( 2001-09-07)

Yancey writes well and his accounts of these outstanding people are a pleasure to read. If you are familiar with them you will enjoy being re-acquainted, if you are not, you will enjoy meeting them. (Church Review 2001-11-01)

Book Description

Winner of the CBC Book of the Year 2002.

In his most personally revealing book yet, Philip Yancey searches for the true hallmarks of Christian faith

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outsanding and brilliant. 20 July 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I've read in years. It's honest, hugely refreshing and hugely encouraging to the struggling Christian all at the same time.
If your a Christian buy it and read it. If your someone disallusioned by the Christian church or even individual Christians you've met, get this and read it.
The authors literary biographical journey through the lives of some well known and some less so Christians (& even the odd person who wasn't - such as Ghandi but who's life & behaviour was heavily infuenced by Christ) is a series of huge revelations. It's also written from the point of view of how these figures have influenced the authors own Christian journey.
Powerful and wonderful stuff, especially if your journey of faith is hitting rocky territory.
I think for people who don't believe yet but are curious it would also be an excellent read.
A brilliant book indeed - I thank The Lord for it !
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soul Survivor - How my Faith Survived the Church 20 Jan 2005
By A Customer
I have hardly read a book that is so intriguing, challenging, thought provoking, encouraging faith, comforting, all at the same time. Philip Yancey describes his own faith journey by introducing the reader to the life of personalities such as Mahatma Ghandi, John Donne, Martin Luther King, Dr. Everett Koop and many others. It is not only an incredibly fascinating read, discovering real people behind those more or less famous names, but at the same time so honest, down to earth and touching the heart - I hardly can put the book down. Certainly, this is a book I wholeheartedly would recommend to anyone who ponders on life's issues and/or faith in God.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading (cliche, I know) 19 Aug 2006
By Yerevan
This is a wonderful book, truly humane and intelligent, inspirational without resorting to 'easy answers'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is like a prayer. 10 Sep 2009
I will first of all say I am a huge Philip Yancey fan after a friend very kindly bought me "What's so Amazing about Grace?". I find his no-saccarhine yet hopeful approach very inspiring. He loves God with a passion that infuses anyone reading the book.

There are many on the run from organised worship these days who feel perhaps that God has abandoned them because they haven't "played by the rules". All I can say is Philip Yancey is a great evangelist who does wonderful work to bring people back to the Lord's feet. This book puts power back into the hands of the individual if they choose to see it that way. The voice of Yancey is gently humourous, self-mocking, and deeply empathetic.

He writes as a "soul survivor" having come out of a very fundamentalist, bible-belt background, and each chapter explains a key figure who has been his inspiration - and why - as diverse as Martin Luther-King, John Donne, Solzenitzenn, and others. Yancey admits he was racist and over-zealous, and didn't get the true message of Christianity until later. He does not confuse but enlightens with a depth of scholarship which is utterly breathtaking. He does not patronise, he is a very humble writer, and very honest about his own shortcomings and formative experience.

Soul Survival, for Yancey, has been a lifelong quest, and his quest is so enlightening and brilliant for anyone who is trying to find God and spend more time in his presence.

Please humour me and let me quote from the book when he writes on the Japanese (Christian) Novelist, Endo:

"A Life of Jesus fills in the portrait of the mother-love of Jesus:

"He was thin; he wasn't much. One thing about him, however - he was never known to desert other people if they had trouble.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the shoulders of giants 2 May 2009
This is not, as the tile and tagline might suggest, a 'misery memeoir' of someone surviving 'Church Abuse.' Although Yancey talks of the damage done to his faith and soul by his experiences in a racist, reactionary, fundamentalist Church in the American South he spends comparatively little time on this. It does though remain the frame of reference for his examination of the work of 13 spiritual 'giants' who have helped him find a path to a God of Grace, love and justice again.

Again and again I felt I struck gold. For example, through reading for the first time about G K Chesterton, I found Yancey's enthusiasm so catching I went online and ordered a Chesterton book. Elsewhere, Yancey shows how these lives sometimes informed each other, as for example Dostoevsky fed the thought and soul of Ghandi, and Ghandi bequeathed his non-violent protest ethos to Martin Luther King.

Yancey communicates powerfully the sense of God working in partnership and through these remarkable people to life and world changing effect.

A thoughtful, powerful read that throws a door open onto some incredible writers and people. Prepare to have your reading plans changed for a long time..
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soul Survivor 6 Aug 2008
I loved reading this book and could keep on re-reading it. It gives an account of the people that inspired Philip back to Christianity. The stories are inspiring and makes you want to know more about each person mentioned. For those wanting to write christian books this gives a guide of how to start. I recommended this book to some people I know that were struggling with their faith.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and intense search for God. 22 Nov 2001
Format:Audio Cassette
Philip Yancey is a Christian almost in spite of his religious upbringing and his church.In this book he writes of people who inspired him and helped him in his search for God.A recurring theme is his quest for an answer to the world's suffering.
He examines the lives and works of twelve diverse people,including Martin Luther King,Mahatma Gandhi,Dr C.Everett Koop and John Donne.
It is a fascinating,thoughtful and intense read.It left me wanting to read more and this was helped by his useful directions at the end of chapter guiding you to more information about each of the featured people.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars for a better world
It is well written and I we were all to follow his beliefs how happy and peaceful this life for every one would be
Published 1 month ago by Derek Lott
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best books I've ever read
Philip Yancey is a brilliant author and this book is extremely well researched. So many true brothers and sisters on the same path.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. Roy Bolland
5.0 out of 5 stars Yancey nails it yet again
Yancey uses this autobiographical account to introduce 13 people who have helped shape his life.

Often it left me breathless, staring into space in wonder. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Yossarian
4.0 out of 5 stars Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey
I haven't finished it yet but it is proving a very interesting biography and series if reflections on the Christian faith of famous people from the past.
Published 9 months ago by gillian Voyle
5.0 out of 5 stars soul survivor review
An excellent book which I already have , but I wanted this other one to give to a friend. The delivery was exceptionally quick and the condition of the book was also very good,
Published on 17 April 2012 by catlover
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read !
If you're looking for honest answers to some difficult questions, this book is for you. He accepts that the Church has caused much harm but through the examples of people like... Read more
Published on 2 Aug 2010 by V. Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars As much autobiography as biography
Yancey describes thirteen figures who have inspired him in dark times, particularly dark times experienced as a result of his experience of church / other christians, indeed the... Read more
Published on 30 Aug 2008 by M. G. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting portraits of Yancey's heroes
I love this book and reread it at regular intervals. It is slightly different to other PY books - it combines an autobiographical tale of PY's journey in the Church with... Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2008 by Kate Massey
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