On The Death Of Brennan Manning

Brennan Manning
Brennan Manning (Photo credit: Jordon)

I was sad to pick up the news today about the death of Brennan Manning. His books, with their radical embrace of God’s grace, have meant a lot to me in recent years. I recall someone once saying that you have not truly preached grace until you are falsely accused of antinomianism – well, if that were ever true of anyone it was true of Brennan Manning. His message that ‘Abba is very fond of you’ was too much for many contemporary Pharisees.

And the same Pharisees had a field day with the self-confessed evidence of Manning’s own life. In many places, not least his final book, a memoir entitled ‘All Is Grace‘, he talks ruthlessly about his failings and his unconquered sins. To the horror of many fellow Catholics, he quit the priesthood to marry (not that I see that as a sin). However, his marriage didn’t last. He never broke his habit for alcohol. To the scandal of many, he would return to his room after giving a powerful sermon or a homily at a retreat and hit the bottle. He knew the gutter at the same time that he knew Jesus Christ. He said that he was dying of a disease caused by his alcoholism, ‘wet brain‘. Where did he stand on the New Testament conviction that Christians will not continue to sin? Some felt this made him a false teacher. Others felt the accusers were not being honest about their own besetting sins.

Time and again, Manning the sinner came back to the message of grace. He brought his readers and listeners back to grace, too. If you have never read ‘All Is Grace’ or classics such as ‘The Ragamuffin Gospel‘, then I commend them to you highly.

Sleep well, child of Abba. A reward awaits you on the Last Day when you awake.


  1. I have read The Ragamuffin Gospel. I picked it up in a charity shop because it looked interesting. I’d never heard of Brennan Manning or his background so your post filled in the blanks. I loved the book and second your recommendation. I still have it because I think I might return to it one day.


    1. Hi,

      Welcome here and thanks for the comment. Yes, I definitely recommend ‘All Is Grace’. Manning is ruthless about his failures in the book, but clear about the grace of God.


  2. Something frighteningly ironic about the fact that the judgementalism he preached against should have overshadowed his work. Once they know you were a wasted drunk your writings become cast with doubt and can no longer be seen by the so-called critics who would have lifted him aloft as one of THE great spiritual writers of the century if only he had behaved himself and proved himself worthy of being worthy of a seat at their dinner table. Nothing has changed and if Christ was not using Brennan to reiterate his message to these idiots then He never existed.


  3. Thank you for writing this! Ive always loved “Abbas Child” and adore Brennan Manning for his transparency. I can relate to his story and so can some of my most loved ones. The amazing grace of Jesus Christ. I really so appreciate what you wrote.


  4. I to am having a hard time with booze Brennan manning was a kind man I have read most of his books some twice.recommend them all sleep in peace brennan


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