Grace is Free: One Woman’s Journey From Fundamentalism to Failure to Faith, by Marci Preheim
Endorsed by Paula Hendricks, Julianna Zobrist, Marlean Felix, and more.
Far too many Christian women are bound and burdened by rules, expectations, and a spirit of competition that have nothing to do with the gospel of grace. Grace Is Free exposes a dangerous but popular teaching among women in Christian circles today. The gospel is meant to set people free, but instead it has been subtly tainted by the enemy. False teaching has slipped in virtually unnoticed but its effects are deadly. To-do-lists, rivalries, and extra rules have enslaved women instead of guiding them. Grace Is Free attempts to realign perspectives and help women understand how to rest through faith in what has already been accomplished through Jesus Christ.
Marci Preheim teaches the Bible to women in a variety of church, conference, and ministry setttings. She and her husband, Arnie, have two children and worship and serve at Community Bible Church in Nashville, TN.
“I have never read a work so inspired, radical, and necessary for this time.”
Click for all endorsements
“I thought this would be a quick read. Ha! I had to stop several times to look up Scripture, ponder, and repent. In Grace Is Free, Marci challenges the status quo that we as Christian women don’t normally even think to question. She’ll step on your toes, but the result will be… freedom. If you’re like me, you won’t even make it to the end of the book before you’re sharing it with others.”
—Paula Hendricks, Writing and Editorial Manager for Revive our Hearts, and author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom
“I have endorsed very few books, despite a long career with Thomas Nelson. But I enthusiastically recommend Marci Preheim’s book, Grace is Free, to any woman who has ever suffered under the burden of human expectations for ‘how to be godly.’ In a simple and conversational way, Marci has skillfully recorded her experiences and advice. These experiences were born as pearls through difficult situations, providing answers that have been tried in the crucible of life. It is a helpful, practical, and down-to-earth book with no fluff. This brand of godliness is one that many Christian men would like to see in their wives.”
—Charles Z. Moore, former Executive Vice-President, Thomas Nelson, Inc.
“In a time where self-proclaimed spirituality and theologically erroneous Christian hierarchy run rampant, this work could not have come at a better time. Marci punches holes in our thinking and swiftly pulls the rug out from underneath what we define as ‘godly.’ I have never read a work so inspired, radical, and necessary for this time.”
—Julianna Zobrist, Christian singer/songwriter and wife of major league baseball player Ben Zobrist
“Revealing, convicting, and inspiring. What an incredible message of hope for all women striving to be godly! Marci Preheim provides us with a much-needed practical resource for discovering who the truly godly woman is and isn’t. Major lies are identified that have held women captive through the years and are replaced with the freedom and truth of God’s Word. Here you will find the blending of personal illustrations with biblical insights that reflect her deep commitment to rightly dividing the Word of truth. Marci masterfully reminds women that at the core of godliness is abiding in Christ — in truth, and in faith. This book will be an immeasurable blessing to every woman who seeks to be godly and to be set free at last from the bondage of conformity to rules and standards set by man, not by God. I highly recommend this book and plan to introduce it to others as I share with women in conferences and retreats across the country.”
—Marlean Felix, women’s Bible conference speaker, elementary school teacher, wife of Professor Paul Felix (The Master’s Seminary), and mother of Wes and Allyson, Gold Medal Olympian 2012
“As one of Marci’s youth pastors, it was both saddening and at the same time incredibly encouraging to read her book. It grieved me deeply to hear how ‘law/rules/do-this’ Christianity had been communicated and what hypocrisy such distortions of biblical truth created. But to read that through it all, the tenacious pursuing love of Christ was arresting a soul…total delight. Then I let my wife read it. And she was immediately an enthusiastic endorser! Linda said that Marci has written a ‘spot-on’ work about the unaddressed realities of ‘do/don’t do’ expectations imposed upon women seeking to be truly biblical. She became an instant fan! Marci has obviously identified an ‘itch’ and provided a timely ‘scratcher’! May many women find new freedom to live the biblical Christian life by taking time to seriously consider Marci’s excellent work!”
—Tom Rempel, Senior Pastor of Faith Bible Church, Lincoln, Nebraska
Blog Review –
“I would highly recommend you read this book”
In the week leading up to Mother’s Day, I took the opportunity to read a book directed at womanhood. I know, that sounds strange. Here I am, the evangelical gospel-loving pastor, who takes time to read a book addressing issues with women.
There are at least two reasons for this. First, I want to learn more about what women struggle with as this would hopefully, make me a better pastor. Second, my assumption is that the solution to a woman’s struggle is not that much different than the solution to my problems, even though I am a man.
Both of those hopes were fulfilled in Marci Preheim’s little book, Grace Is Free. In this book, she shares how she grew up in a very fundamental home in which her lack of perfection told her that she was not good enough to be loved by God. That moved her to abandon the faith and run headlong into a sinful life. Thankfully, she eventually discovers the truth of grace in the gospel message.
Throughout the book, Preheim wonderfully shows how the gospel of grace penetrates and releases the heart from any sort of performance-based thinking. And there is one phrase that seems to come up over and over again. She consistently calls women (and men) to believe more, not do more.
I never perceived in her writing that she thinks the pendulum should swing so far to one side that a person never does things. It’s just that it follows the believing. And so the greatest need for the woman (or man) is to trust Christ and believe more intentionally the truths of the gospel, not first do something. Believe, not perform. Let me share two quotes of many that explain her perspective on this thought of believing more instead of doing more.
Both Leslie and I default to a “striving” mode when we are not consciously believing the true gospel. It’s in our DNA to feel like we are not praying hard enough, reading enough Scripture, or doing enough godly things to deserve God’s favor. We fall into the mentality that somehow with Christian activity we can draw down God’s favor upon us. Believing we have his favor no matter how we perform in a given day is the hardest thing for us to do (51).
And then she writes,
When it comes to the gospel, perspective is everything. I can easily default to what I grew up believing–that I can make myself better. It’s the same individualistic lie the world promotes: do better, discipline yourself more, choose your own destiny, be somebody. But the gospel is a gift given to sinners who humble themselves before an almighty God, surrender to his plan, and gratefully receive the sacrifice he made on the cross to pay for their sins. It doesn’t demand the spotlight–it doesn’t demand anything (122).
Obviously, this is not just a thought for women. I learned many things about women in this book. For instance, she shares how no women can ever live up to the standard of Proverbs 31 and to teach it as the standard probably hurts women more than helps them. But this book helped affirm to me how the gospel of grace impacts and heals from the temptation of performance. For that reason, I would highly recommend you read this book!
Thad Bergmeier,Changed by the Gospel
Amazon Review –
“Ladies, this book has been like a sweet gospel hug from a best friend.”
Marci Preheim is legit. This is the second time I have read her book (first time was under title Super Free Woman) and I swear I needed it more this time around. Ladies, this book has been like a sweet gospel hug from a best friend. She shares things that need to be said, but come from a safe place (via grace in the gospel) so that it can be freely received. Marci is so honest about her own experiences within the church, it makes you laugh and cry because you find yourself identifying with the very things she addresses! She writes in such a way it seems more like sitting across the table from a good friend sipping coffee sharing her life with you. The Christian life isn’t about performance and duty. Grace sets us free to love the Lord and love others out of response to the love He has lavished upon us. She talks about everything from the silly rules we put on each other, issues in relationships, sex (hello! Thank you! We can talk about that!), among other things. But she always sweetly points us all back to one thing–our hope in the gospel! This book is a breath of fresh air! I highly recommend it!
Sarah Taras, in a 5-star review on Amazon
Amazon Review –
“Another good study that leaves me with hope.”
What is so amazing about grace is you can never get enough of it. It reveals the heart of God and when we receive God’s grace with humility and humbleness, we are able to extend grace to others. I so appreciate Marci’s teaching on this and I hope she continues to write and teach. She is transparent but also very clear in the truth. She has great understanding of the heart and how we can deceive ourselves and by deceiving ourselves, we become our worst enemy.
Grace is a gift and being a gift, we can not have a attitude of demanding. That means our rights, love, fairness, etc. How we respond reflects the heart and we have Jesus as an example. Jesus made no demands.
Grace is not self. Self-preservation. Self-righteous, selfie, it is a surrender to God and who He is. With that surrender, we truly have a life that is abundant that enables us to love freely. We can not love others, when we are enslaved to their opinions of us.
Grace is God’s work not ours. Repentance releases God’s grace to our heart where the real work is done. Our modification to behavior does not reach the heart. We end up just coping and not going for the cure of pride.
Grace keeps us abiding in Christ. Our constant awareness of how much we need the Lord.
I appreciate the teaching of Cruciform Press books. They are short; to the heart of the gospel and reveal my heart like no other. Another good study that leaves me with hope.
Jeanie S, in a 5-star review on Amazon
Amazon Review –
This book is a revised and edited version of Marci Preheim’s self-published Super(Free) Woman. The following reviews are from the Amazon page of that earlier book, which is no longer available.
“The tools we need to be free from the self-imposed Law.”
In this first book from Marci Preheim she offers Christian women the freedom to give themselves, and each other, a break. By exposing the “good things” so many of us impose upon each other as Law, she shows us the tools we need to be free from the self-imposed Law. Those tools come from believing God’s Word and abiding in Christ (John 15). Preheim shows, throughout the New Testament, that faith, rather than guilt, fuels action.
The author’s voice is a needed one in modern evangelical churches, where women frequently impose the Proverbs 31 woman as the ideal example of what we should be striving after. In the first chapter, Preheim writes:
If we could interview the Proverbs 31 woman, she would reject all the praise about her and give praise to God instead. She would not point to the things she does, or is able to accomplish in a given day. She would be ashamed of all the fuss we’ve made over her. She would thank her husband for his encouragement, but admit her inadequacies in her next breath. She would not point to herself or anything she has done. She would point to the grace of God found in the righteous sacrifice of Jesus Christ. She would humbly tell us that in spite of her sin and many failures, God has been gracious to her. When we are not able to keep up with the behavior of the Proverbs 31 woman, we are cordially invited to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Our freedom comes from a place of abiding in Christ and His substitutionary work on the cross, and this is truly freeing. In particular I was challenged and encouraged by the chapter on women and friendship.
Overall I would commend this book to any Christian woman, but in particular those who are coming out of a legalistic background. There is freedom to be found through faith, and Marci Preheim desperately wants women to know that freedom.
Amazon Review –
“Convicting, yet deeply comforting.”
Honestly could not put down this book! It was convicting, yet deeply comforting. As my husband snored, I read by flashlight late into the night and was comforted by God in my walk of faith. This book is for any woman just seeking the truth or one who has walked many miles in the journey of spiritual growth. It’s rare to find a book that has Scriptural accuracy with raw honest insights each of us can relate to. It’s for the woman who wonders why she still struggles in her walk of faith or the woman who thinks she is truly at a spiritually mature place. I gained 20 years of hard earned wisdom combined with a closer joy in God Himself by the end of this book.
Amazon Review –
Excellent book! Did as a book club book with women from my church and we all enjoyed it very much! One woman commented, “Definitely a book I will go back to and reread from time to time!”
Amazon Review –
“A paean to God’s finished work at Calvary.”
First, a disclaimer. I’ve known Marci and her family for several years, and serve on our church’s elder board with her husband. So I know something of her character and reputation, and can say without footnote that her walk is congruent with her talk. Her odyssey will resonate with thousands who grew up under the yoke of a repressive brand of fundamentalism that defined itself by lines and lists, and set an impossible burden of lawkeeping on its adherents.
There will be a passage or two that might cause a ripple of concern that this is one of those “let go and let God” arguments so redolent of the Keswick movement, but read on and be assured that it is really a paean to God’s finished work at Calvary, and the freedom that inures to slaves of Christ as they submit to His easy yoke. A very encouraging narrative for struggling or recovering legalists.
Amazon Review –
“A breath of fresh air.”
Marci’s book is a breath of fresh air compared to so many books out there today.
“It’s in our DNA to feel like we are not praying hard enough, reading enough Scripture, or doing enough godly things to evoke God’s favor. We fall into the mentality that somehow with Christian activity we can draw down God’s favor upon us. Believing we have His favor whether we perform well in a given day or not is the hardest thing for us to do.” Marci points to Christ and encourages women to abide in Him, and not get bogged down by all the “activities” we must do to somehow maintain a relationship with God and with others. We can rest in His grace and enjoy our relationship with Him. We can enjoy our friendships without comparison, jealousy, etc.
Thank you, Marci, for sharing your heart and sharing the gospel through this book.
Amazon Review –
“You will devour what Marci has to say.”
This book is for the woman who is finished fearing other women and being a prisoner to their opinions of her. If your desire is to please the Lord you love and not be a slave to all the thoughts you might have about what a Godly woman looks like, then you will devour what Marci has to say. Encouraging, challenging, and insightful – Marci humbly shares truth from God’s Word. You will fall that much more in love with Jesus as you put your reputation on the altar being freed from the false gospel of works or perhaps even discover you’re ‘faith’ is unfounded and you’ve bought a pack of lies about what it means to be a Christian…never having loved Jesus Christ!