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Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards

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Jesus said we should focus our minds and hearts on God above all else. No small task! Is there someone we can turn to for help? "Wisdom tells us to sit at the feet of our elders rather than the latest ministry fad," notes author Kyle Strobel. And is there a better elder to guide us than Jonathan Edwards? In Edwards, the eighteenth-century Puritan pastor and theologian, we Jesus said we should focus our minds and hearts on God above all else. No small task! Is there someone we can turn to for help? "Wisdom tells us to sit at the feet of our elders rather than the latest ministry fad," notes author Kyle Strobel. And is there a better elder to guide us than Jonathan Edwards? In Edwards, the eighteenth-century Puritan pastor and theologian, we find deep thought balanced with deep passion. Through his writings and practices, Edwards provides us with the tools--the "means of grace"--that make us receptive to God's work in our lives as we learn to abide in Christ. Here we find a well-rounded account of being formed for the glory of God. Download the free discussion guide (pdf) by Kyle Strobel.


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Jesus said we should focus our minds and hearts on God above all else. No small task! Is there someone we can turn to for help? "Wisdom tells us to sit at the feet of our elders rather than the latest ministry fad," notes author Kyle Strobel. And is there a better elder to guide us than Jonathan Edwards? In Edwards, the eighteenth-century Puritan pastor and theologian, we Jesus said we should focus our minds and hearts on God above all else. No small task! Is there someone we can turn to for help? "Wisdom tells us to sit at the feet of our elders rather than the latest ministry fad," notes author Kyle Strobel. And is there a better elder to guide us than Jonathan Edwards? In Edwards, the eighteenth-century Puritan pastor and theologian, we find deep thought balanced with deep passion. Through his writings and practices, Edwards provides us with the tools--the "means of grace"--that make us receptive to God's work in our lives as we learn to abide in Christ. Here we find a well-rounded account of being formed for the glory of God. Download the free discussion guide (pdf) by Kyle Strobel.

30 review for Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards

  1. 4 out of 5

    Clint Walker

    I remember in my seminary class on Christian Education, our professor made an effort to have us read a book on on Spiritual Formation in Congregational Life. Coming from a more evangelical background, I shared with my professor my struggles with the book. "This is such a different way of talking about church," I told him, "I have to slow down, filter, and then reinterpret this book through my current vocabulary to understand what the author is getting at." My professor told me that this was his g I remember in my seminary class on Christian Education, our professor made an effort to have us read a book on on Spiritual Formation in Congregational Life. Coming from a more evangelical background, I shared with my professor my struggles with the book. "This is such a different way of talking about church," I told him, "I have to slow down, filter, and then reinterpret this book through my current vocabulary to understand what the author is getting at." My professor told me that this was his goal. He wanted us to be conversant with work done on Christian Education that used Spiritual Formation language. His vision was very prescient. This is because I believe that the "Christian Education" model of church is dying, and is quickly being replaced by a "spiritual formation" model of explaining how we do the work of discipleship. Reading and studying Formed for the Glory of God will create similar challenges for those readers who are a part of the spiritual formation conversation, but are not used to the language and approach of the Puritans to spiritual practices. Strobel does his best to be our guide into the world of Puritan spiritual formation through its most articulate spokesman, Jonathan Edwards. He teaches us a new vocabulary as we journey with him. We learn of the practice of soliloquy in spiritual formation. Then we ponder the centrality of the concepts of beauty and grace in understanding how souls are truly transformed. Much of the first three chapters of Formed for the Glory of God, the reader is given an overview of Edwards' theology that is relevant to his understanding of how persons grow close to God. It is a deep, thoughtful survey of Edwards' beliefs, which are deeply rooted in Calvinism. Strobel does an excellent job of both explaining this theology, and talking about why it is relevant to a conversation on spiritual formation. The next section of the book talks more generally about how God changes people. What I thought was most interesting was the conversation about replacing the language of spiritual disciplines with Edwards' language about "means of grace". For Strobel, the language of spiritual disciplines tends to lean toward works righteousness and/or a therapeutic model of self-salvation. While Strobel has some good points, I tend to disagree. I have always thought of the model of practicing spiritual disciplines as a relational journey. The practice of these disciplines helps me to listen and attend to what God is doing, and connect with him in a meaningful way. It is not me changing my life when I practice spiritual disciplines. When I practice spiritual disciplines I am just using time honored practices of making myself available to God to speak to and transform. I think Strobel gets his aversion to the language of spiritual disciplines because it has its historical roots firmly planted in the ground of Catholicism. And, in Catholic writings on spiritual formation, there is a lot that lends itself toward works righteousness in the more historic works, and there is a lot of fluffy self-help stuff in contemporary thought. Nevertheless, I do not see the need to throw out perfectly good language because some have abused it. The same could be done with the phrase "means of grace" with enough effort and research. As Formed for the Glory of God continues, there is some really good work that Strobel does in sharing some of Edwards' spiritual practices. The discussion of the difference between meditation and contemplation in Edwards' thought was instructional and helpful for me personally. Also, hearing about some of the spiritual practices of Puritan New England will be useful and I continue to understand how God is working on me, and how I can find ways to yield my heart to him more faithfully. This little paperback packs more of a punch than it lets on. It is deep, thoughtful, and well-researched. I think it needs to be on the bookshelf of every pastor interested in Reformed Spirituality, and this work needs to be considered within discussions on how spiritual formation works across traditions.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Very good. I didn't agree with all of his theology, but his writing was excellent. Very good. I didn't agree with all of his theology, but his writing was excellent.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tony Villatoro

    Finished Book 14 of 2015! Rereading some of the quotes I marked has led to a refreshing view of who God is! In the first section, the author reminds us, through the great pastor-theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), about the beautiful realities of heaven, the affections for God, and the importance of spiritual practices. In the second section, I learned a bit more about meditation and contemplation, and finished the book with reading about Edwards’ spiritual practices. Excellent book! Here a Finished Book 14 of 2015! Rereading some of the quotes I marked has led to a refreshing view of who God is! In the first section, the author reminds us, through the great pastor-theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), about the beautiful realities of heaven, the affections for God, and the importance of spiritual practices. In the second section, I learned a bit more about meditation and contemplation, and finished the book with reading about Edwards’ spiritual practices. Excellent book! Here are a few quotes: Eternity should capture our imaginations. -11 Many are not concerned to actually understand the depths of spiritual formation, nor are they all that interested in really developing a way of life. Rather, they just want some simple answers to fix their broken lives. -12 Ultimately, the reason this is the road less traveled is that spiritual formation is not simply doing spiritual disciplines. Spiritual formation is about a life oriented to God in Christ by the Spirit. -13 Christian spirituality is ultimately about the work of the Spirit to bind us to the Son in love. This is not the “spirituality” of the world. The “Sprit” in spirituality denotes the Holy Spirit of God. Spirituality is not about some innate sense of transcendence or something inherent in people Spirituality is about the very thing we need and do not have - God’s own Spirit. Christian spirituality is a partaking in God’s work to redeem, reconcile and glorify believers. Rather than being grounded in human potential, Christian spirituality begins with complete dependence, utter neediness and alien righteousness. Rather than us centering ourselves, God pulls us into the orbit of his life, evoking a call to union and communion in Christ by his Spirit. -14 Part 1: A Journey into Beauty Chapter 1. A journey to See Clearly Quote: “Those that are here upon the earth are in a strange land; they are pilgrims and strangers, and are all going hence, and Heaven is their center where they all tend.” (Jonathan Edwards, Miscellanies 429: Ascension) -19 For Edwards, heaven and hell are not merely places, but realities whose powers are KNOWN NOW. -20 The eternal an infinite love of God quenches the thirst of all who draw near. In drinking deeply from this foundation, love of God and neighbor finally reign perfectly. Hell has no such fountain; it is the natural consequence of a society of selfishness. -20 Those who know God, as revealed in Christ Jesus, have a piece of heaven abiding in them. -20 Heaven is only heaven because God is there. He is the spring of love that gives direction to that place. -21 Heaven is a journey with God where we grow in live and knowledge of him for eternity; where our own love abounds to others in a society of love. Therefore, the term HEAVEN refers to the day when love of God and neighbor reign unhindered. -22 Meditating on the reality of heaven and hell helps us understand our calling in this life… Grasping the destination set before us helps us to understand the kind of journey we are on. -24 As pilgrims, we see through a glass darkly, but we see nonetheless (1 Corinthians 13:12). The life of faith is a life of seeing. -25 Just as God’s life is not some kind of static floating, so heaven is not static, but is relationally exuberant. -29 Quote: “The saints shall enjoy God as partaking with Christ OF HIS enjoyment of God, for they are united to him and are glorified and made happy in the enjoyment of God as his members.” (Jonathan Edwards) -31 The saints make up the body of Christ, and as such, they come to participate in the enjoyment of Christ’s relationship with the Father. Therefore, the saints’ access to God the Father is only through the person of Christ. -32 Conversion is finally grasping that the divine life is offered in Christ, who was sent by the Father to draw you into the divine life of love. -33 Chapter 2. Mapping the Way of Love The cross is not an event to leave, nor it a starting line; it is the path itself. -37 …What Christ has by nature (Sonship), we are given by grace in adoption. We are children of God as we are IN CHRIST, the true child of God. -39 By being made children, God calls us to the spiritual life of children - a life lived as a pilgrimage to our true home. This is not a pilgrimage to get away from the world, but to live heavenly lives in it, lives defined by love. -39 At the moment of salvation one is united to Christ. This union is by the Spirit and can never be lost. It is a static reality. Communion, on the other hand, is dynamic. Our lives, particularly the sin in our lives, can affect communion. -41 As we come to know and love god, we come to find our happiness, delight and satisfaction in him. God received his glory as we rebound his glory to him through our lives (Romans 12:1-2). We function like mirrors that reflect light back to its source. -43 Glory is ultimately God’s own life of love between the Father and the Son in the Spirit. God;s communication of that glory is received as we live in relationship with God the Father, by the Son, in his Holy Spirit of love. -43 Conversion is more than a goal line, or a free ticket to heaven, but is the shape of the Christian life. The entirety of the Christian life is a continual turning to God. -44 …The more holy we become the more we are aware of our flesh, sin and limitedness. The more we grow, the more we grasp with all our might the game offered by God in Christ. -46 To see true beauty as beautiful, Jesus as the image of the invisible God, fallen humans need to have their souls altered by the Spirit. -48 Once we see the beauty of Christ our inner clocks are set to the pace of heaven’s time. -49 Whereas sin brings in chaos and unrest, the Spirit heals the brokenness of the soul so that true rest and devotion can be known. -51 The beauty of God consists in the life of love and delight he knows as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. -52 To know God AS GLORIOUS, one must know and love God personally. To know God AS BEAUTIFUL, one must know God and love him personally. This kind of knowledge is not knowledge of an object, but is knowledge of a subject. Therefore, being confronted by God is being confronted by the personal God personally. -53 Chapter 3. Walking in Affection ! Quote: “He that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affections, never is engaged in the business of religion.” (Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections) -54 As we focus our vision on Christ we are reoriented to true north, and all else falls into place around that reality. -55 Religious affection is the movement of the soul is affection to God. It is having your heart inclined to him as beautiful. Religious affection is the human counterpart to God’s life of love and delight. -57 Our own happiness and God’s self-glorification unite as one, so God seeks our greatest happiness as he seeks his own glory. -57 To know God is to love him, and to love him truly is to know him. This is why light demands heat and heat, light. One cannot have true knowledge of God without loving him. Likewise, one cannot have true love without knowing God. -59 When Edwards talks about religious affections, therefore, he is addressing two things: first, the term RELIGIOUS denotes what causes the affections, in this case God; and second, the term AFFECTION is used in reference to “lively” movement of the will. -59 Edwards was intently focused on the importance of theology, study and preaching. Equally though, Edwards was a pastor of the heart. He saw no other way to live with God than the way of affection. Therefore Edwards emphasizes discernment, spiritual council and the movements of the heart. Edwards provides a balance not often struck by theologians or practitioners. -61 Edwards’s model of the Christian life is God the Father who, for eternity past, has been grazing upon the beauty of the Son and loving him within the Spirit of love and beauty. To bring us into this life, God gives his image for his creation to behold and his Spirit so that his people cab gaze upon the beauty of the Son in the love of the Spirit. -61 For TRUE religious affections, the object, God, is primary, and I am secondary. With false affections, the focus reverts to me. -63 The ways of God, the calling of the church, the Word of God and the ordinances of God should be TASTY aspects of life. -63 Tasting and seeing beget desire. It is this desire that turns the Christian more and more fully to her Lord who is beautiful and glorious. It is a journey we will continue for eternity. -64 God fits them for heaven by conforming them to himself. God does so through the affections. -65 Part 2: tools for the Journey Chapter 4. Spiritual Disciplines as Means of Grace !The goal of spiritual disciplines is often explained as a transformation of character. If you struggle with lust you can find a discipline that will help you stop lusting (possibly fasting, for example). Notice the problem with this. God is totally superfluous to this discussion. You have a problem, and so you come up with ways to fix this problem. Rather than abiding in the vine to bear good fruit, you are figuring it out on your own. -71 !Let me suggest that the focus of the Christian life is not about character but about holiness. -71 While the goal of spiritual disciplines can digress into fixing or growing oneself, the goal of means of grace is abiding in God through Christ. -72 !By focusing on practices alone and their possible efficacy in holiness, we very quickly stop talking about Christ’s work to sanctify us and start talking about our own work to grow ourselves. -71 !The Gospel has been boiled down to forgiveness, neglecting the reality that god is calling us into his own life, then our understanding of grace has been narrowed to God’s NICENESS. Grace, as it is commonly used, simply becomes God’s free gift of forgiveness. Rather, God;s grace is the free gift OF HIMSELF, and in him we know forgiveness. -73 The "direction” of the Christian life is communion, abiding and resting in God, SO THAT we can live according to his way in the world. This understanding of the Christian life has Christ at its center, and his people are held in orbit around him as they live in the Spirit of grace and love. -73 Grace is God’s movement to open up his life in the Son and the Spirit and to pull us into that life. -74 Grace is more than God’s niceness; it is God’s movement of love to reveal himself and draw his people back to him in love. -74 We never lay a claim on grace. Grace is always a gift. Therefore, in the same way, the life of grace will always be a life of receiving grace from the God who freely gives. -75 First, grace highlights that a PERSONAL God gives HIMSELF to people in a PERSONAL way... Second, grace orients the Christian life around beauty, holiness, glory and affection… Last the life of grace is a life of receiving from God what is always a gift. -75 The fire is grace and the wood is our spiritual practice (reading the Bible, praying, meditating and so on). Our actions do not create grace; our actions cannot create holiness, any more than Elijah’s placing of wood on an altar CREATED fire. Rather, we practice these things out of faithfulness to god, trusting that he will provide the fire. -77 Our call, in other words, is not to grow ourselves, but to present ourselves to God through the means he has provided (Romans 6:13). -77 Means of grace are opportunities to come to God in a posture of dependence. -78 Means of grace are actions to receive from God; they allow us to drink deeply from the fountain of love. -78 Edwards outlines three ways God uses the means of grace in spiritual transformation. First, the means supply one’s mind with correct notions of God and his way. Second, they harness our natural thinking to function in parallel with right notions of God. Third, they move our hearts in parallel with a true knowledge of God. -78 Sabbath is attending to the reality that we don not grow ourselves, but rather it is the Lord who sanctifies us. -81 Quote: “…attending and using means of grace is no more than a waiting upon God for his grace… ‘[T]is watching at wisdom’s gates, and waiting at the posts of her doors.” (Jonathan Edwards) -81 First, Edwards refers to “immanent” acts of grace. These acts of grace do not directly result in a specific practice but focus on the heart. -81 The second means of grace lead to Christ is through “practical” graces… This is a means of grace if you seek to walk in the way of Christ by kneeling before him in submission. -82 One way to outlines the means of grace is through three broad categories: (1) public means, (2) private means and (3) extraordinary helps. In the first category, “public means,” there were three offered: preaching, sacraments, and prayer with thanksgiving and psalms. In the second category, “private menas,” were listed watchfulness, meditation, the armor of the Christian (Ephesians 6:11-18), experience, company and family exercise, prayer, and reading. In the third delineation, “extraordinary help,” solemn thanksgiving and fasting were suggested. -82 He [Edwards] would have, most certainly, accepted each of these categories, and, at times, he did divide the means by public, family and personal. -83 Quote: “The chief of the means of grace is the Word of God; that standing revelation of the MIND and WILL of God that he gives the world, and it is as it were the sum of all means.” (Jonathan Edwards) -84 ! The end of the flesh is always self, but the end of grace is God. -85 Quote: “Conversation between God and mankind in this world is maintained by God’s word on his part, and prayer on ours. By the former he speaks to us and expresses his mind to us; by the latter we speak to him and express our minds to him.” (Jonathan Edwards) -86 ! Prayer is easily filled with attempts to lure God to our side or leverage God’s help to secure the kind of life we want (contra to Gethsemane, Matthew 26:39). Rather, prayer is about seeking God himself. HE IS THE GOOD we seek in prayer, not the possible response he will give. -87 ! Prayer from the heart is the prayer of faith, and all else is faithless talking at God. -88 Prayer is the voice of faith; it is the Spirit of God breathing through the person to converse with God. -88 The goal of prayer is not to feel complete, satisfied, or elated, but to come before God and seek him as he is. -89 Quote: “Christ so came like a humble, meek suppliant to the throne of grace with a quiet, calm, humble, waiting, hoping disposition. It may be, on the contrary, your petitions were out up with an inwardly unquiet, turbulent, discontented, unsubmissive, sort of spirit. A prayer that is put up after this manner, is no real prayer. Such persons don’t act the part of beggars that supplicate and pray, but of creditors that demand their dues.” -90 Prayer is important because the Christian life is about personally relating to a personal God. -91 Grace is primarily about God opening up his life to us in his Son and pulling us into that life by the Spirit. -92 Instead of using the tern SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES, which points to a stance of independence and self-help, it would be better to use the term SPIRITUAL POSTURES. These means of grace are ways to posture ourselves in the Spirit to God in Christ. -93 ....

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jon Nitta

    My hats off to Kyle Stobel! His latest book Formed for the Glory of God is actually a gift from God to all of us and helpful for a number of reasons. The first way this book is helpful is it makes Edwards accessible to more people. Frankly, Edwards, one of the smartest philosopher/theologians in the history of our country, can be a very difficult read for people. There is a place for über-academic works on Edwards, but Kyle does a great job of taking complex thoughts/concepts and explaining them My hats off to Kyle Stobel! His latest book Formed for the Glory of God is actually a gift from God to all of us and helpful for a number of reasons. The first way this book is helpful is it makes Edwards accessible to more people. Frankly, Edwards, one of the smartest philosopher/theologians in the history of our country, can be a very difficult read for people. There is a place for über-academic works on Edwards, but Kyle does a great job of taking complex thoughts/concepts and explaining them in a way that allows more people to appreciate the great mind of Edwards. The second way the book is helpful is it captures the devotional life for us as not just what we do in private but how a vital faith is lived out. Edwards was not only a brilliant thinker but his Christian faith was deeply devotional. While much of modern Christianity tends to split good thinking and emotions (head/heart split) Edwards seems to seamlessly connect the two. The life of the mind is important because it serves to help us make good distinctions in order to live well. As Kyle rightly emphasizes, the devotional life is a life of wisdom. The book is helpful in a third way – it’s not just an exposition on Edwards. It actually led to an exploration of my heart. I’ve had that same refreshing experience with a book I read recently about Mother Teresa. As Kyle spends the first three chapters laying the foundation of Edward’s devotional life, I sensed my own heart stirring in a like manner. It’s one thing for a writer to merely explain. It’s a whole different thing for the reader to be taken into the narrative, to have his/her heart stirred. This book is a great example of not only explaining Edwards but also offering us an “ethos”, an emotional connecting to Edwards’ spiritual thoughts and practices that leads to a transformed heart. There are a few details I appreciated followed by two quick suggestions. The first detail I appreciated, Kyle gives us a clear picture of Edward’s foundational beliefs in the first three chapters - God’s glory, God’s beauty, and the sense on the heart in affection where one’s heart is gripped by and rests in the gospel of Christ. This is absolutely critical because rather than beginning with the actual practices, Kyle begins with the gospel as it must get into the deepest recesses of the heart rather than one jumping immediately into the practices. Second, I agree with Kyle that the disciplines/practices are not the way to be good or to fix ourselves or to even try and do something/anything. This is an important distinction to make contra how many of the basic “disciplines” are presented today. The “disciplines” or “practices” are means of grace - ways to open more deeply in honesty to our own depravity and the immense love of God. Bravo for keeping everything in the right order! Two quick suggestions are in order. The first is (and I could be wrong), I couldn’t find any description of biblically what the immaterial heart represents. Just as concepts like “glory”, “beauty” and “affection” are explained, I think it’s important to unveil a robust picture of the heart, as Edwards understood it. There’s a reason why Edwards focuses on the heart, particularly in Religious Affections that I think is important to the discussion. Maybe Kyle included it and I just didn’t see it… My last suggestion would be to offer some devotional exercises after each chapter. Particularly as the chapter “Spiritual Disciplines as Means of Grace” begins to examine some critical practices, it would be very helpful to have something like a daily exploration of how Edward’s spiritual theology would work itself out in one’s life. So in addition to having three exercises in the appendices (which are very helpful), having some questions to reflect on with God at the end of each chapter would actually help readers engage even more with the material. In summary, this book does what it proposes to do and it represents the best of what the written words of others should offer: Holiness that is not a five-step plan to a better life. My recommendation? Read it. Then re-read it. Then give it away to others. As a pastor of spiritual formation, I fully intend to use this resource in the future. Kudos Kyle!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Allison Cantrell

    This is the kind of book you finish reading and immediately want to give to someone else to talk about. I came away from each chapter feeling humbled, convicted, and encouraged. A few favorite quotes: “The journey into wisdom requires time...Wisdom entails sitting at the feet of those who have walked with Christ before us.” “If Edwards did have an obsession, it was the beauty and glory of God.” “Spiritual formation is about learning a song we will sing for eternity.” “For Protestants, the Christian This is the kind of book you finish reading and immediately want to give to someone else to talk about. I came away from each chapter feeling humbled, convicted, and encouraged. A few favorite quotes: “The journey into wisdom requires time...Wisdom entails sitting at the feet of those who have walked with Christ before us.” “If Edwards did have an obsession, it was the beauty and glory of God.” “Spiritual formation is about learning a song we will sing for eternity.” “For Protestants, the Christian life is lived at the very place where salvation was first known — at the foot of the cross. It is here where we are saved and here where we are grown. The cross is not an event to leave, nor is it a starting line; it is the path itself.” “Journeys change those who walk them.” “We cannot start with an understanding of love and force God into it, since God is love. Rather, we start with God as love and then evaluate our life and experiences based on the God of love.” “Beauty, in all things, acts to witness to God and his way.” “The goal of prayer is not to feel complete, satisfied, or elated, but to come before God and seek him as he is.” “A real knowledge of God is knowledge abiding in love — an affectionate knowledge that God is beautiful and glorious.” “The degree to which we are afraid of revealing our sin to God is the degree to which we are still trying to save ourselves. Instead of making us overwhelmed and faint-hearted, these discoveries of sin provide us with opportunities to relish in God’s grace. Revelation of sin is an opportunity to throw ourselves on him and him alone.” “To know God and to know oneself is to be humble.” “Many are so focused on practical means of grace, on doing things for God, that they fail to realize God wants to form their hearts through a vision of his beauty.”

  6. 4 out of 5

    J. Alfred

    Strobel begins his introduction by saying that he could have written a book answering life's big questions himself, but instead wrote one with Edwards answering those questions. But the reader might be tempted to disagree: a lot of the book feels like sermons with Edwards drifting in and out of the picture as an important guest. There's just not a lot in here about Edwards himself, either the man or his work, which is not prepackaged to such an extent one fears it loses all its individual flavor Strobel begins his introduction by saying that he could have written a book answering life's big questions himself, but instead wrote one with Edwards answering those questions. But the reader might be tempted to disagree: a lot of the book feels like sermons with Edwards drifting in and out of the picture as an important guest. There's just not a lot in here about Edwards himself, either the man or his work, which is not prepackaged to such an extent one fears it loses all its individual flavor. And the Spiritual Practices of the title turn out to be mainly theological, and don't show up in force until the last chapter. Neither of those things stop this from being a good book as such, and in fact the book has some very good points. Consider the following, for instance: "God wants to transform us and cannot transform the people we pretend to be (because they do not exist)." Yet if you're interested in Edwards as such-- and you should be-- this is perhaps not the book for you.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Schwarz

    So much meat in this book....In a format that is easy to read. That being said, there are many times when I would read a sentence or two and have to “park there” to think about it for a while. Loved it. I’m also excited about the additional resources at the end. I will be re-visiting this book often.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cole Shiflet

    Much of this book can be condensed into a lecture that Strobel presented at the TGC National Conference. The content of this book was very interesting, but there is little purpose in reading this book when you can listen to the lecture.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

    Not sure if it was just me or the book, but it was hard to follow along. At several points even felt like a lot of inserted fluff and repetitive words used to round out an otherwise great topic through analyzing historical works from the life of Jonathan Edwards.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Robert Cox

    Brings Colonial New England Congregational piety into the 21st century.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Bradbury

    4.5 stars. Excellent! One of the two best books I read in 2019

  12. 5 out of 5

    Isaac

    Good. Solid. Helpful.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Lulich

    Great book on spiritual formation / disciplines, in part because it's so well-focused on the point of it all and how none of it's in our power -- a convicting, but no-stress approach. Great book on spiritual formation / disciplines, in part because it's so well-focused on the point of it all and how none of it's in our power -- a convicting, but no-stress approach.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Highly commend to anyone who wants to deepen their spiritual walk with God, with one of the giants of the faith as their guide.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Struggled to figure out what audience would enjoy reading this book. As a seminarian, I felt like Strobel addressed many things I was already familiar with from previous books or classes. Maybe this is a great book for a first year seminarian with little theological training. Yes, he makes Edwards more accessible, but I'd rather read Edwards. Struggled to figure out what audience would enjoy reading this book. As a seminarian, I felt like Strobel addressed many things I was already familiar with from previous books or classes. Maybe this is a great book for a first year seminarian with little theological training. Yes, he makes Edwards more accessible, but I'd rather read Edwards.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Link to my review in the Presbyterian Outlook: http://pres-outlook.org/reviews3/book... Link to my review in the Presbyterian Outlook: http://pres-outlook.org/reviews3/book...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ben Rice

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Strenn

  19. 4 out of 5

    John

  20. 5 out of 5

    James

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ty Kieser

  22. 4 out of 5

    Phil

  23. 4 out of 5

    Colin Fast

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Lee Williams

  25. 5 out of 5

    Justin Deeter

  26. 5 out of 5

    Finn

  27. 5 out of 5

    David Becker

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura Smith

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  30. 5 out of 5

    Clay Burgess

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