Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ Through Community

James C. Wilhoit, Author, Dallas Willard, Foreword by . Baker Academic $17.99 (233p) ISBN 978-0-8010-2776-5

The title of this tightly woven, consistently challenging meditation on Christian spiritual formation serves notice that this book is going to be more than another self-help manual. Indeed, Wheaton College professor Wilhoit, author of The Christian Educator’s Handbook on Spiritual Formation , asserts that although developing “Christlikeness” in its members is the church’s main job, many congregations have either abandoned old practices without developing new ones or have relied on stratagems instead of on God’s grace. Because he views spiritual growth as a lifelong process, Wilhoit delineates a communal perspective on responding to Jesus’ invitation to love God and neighbor, emphasizing shared practice and learning. His “four pillars of formation” include receiving, or being open to God’s grace; remembering, or understanding who we are and why we were created; responding in service to neighbors and the world; and building relationships in the context of community. In alternating chapters, Wilhoit gives readers theological and biblical foundations for each principle, then suggests a set of practices. While it would be easy to get lost in the sober volume, this skilled writer uses many pedagogical tools to keep his audience focused. Clearly written from an evangelical perspective, this cogent and passionate book deserves to have wide appeal. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/12/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008
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