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Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Pilgrimage Growth Guide) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Pilgrimage Growth Guide
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: NavPress; Reprint edition (June 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576830276
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576830277
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

FREEDOM. THE REWARD OF DISCIPLINE. It's not uncommon for an accomplished musician to be able to sit down in front of a new piece of music and play it through without a hitch. He makes it seem easy, as if it required no effort. Yet, the "freedom" to play with such skill comes only after years of disciplined practice. In the same way, the freedom to grow in godliness––to express Christ's character through your own personality––is in large part dependent on a deliberate cultivation of the spiritual disciplines found in God's Word. Far from being legalistic, restrictive, or binding, as they are often perceived, the spiritual disciplines are actually the means to unparalleled spiritual liberty. So if you'd like to embark on a lifelong quest for godliness, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will help you on your way. Drawn from a rich heritage left us by godly believers from Christian history––including the Reformers and the Puritan writers, and primarily Jesus Christ Himself––Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will guide you through a carefully selected array of disciplines including Scripture reading, prayer, worship, Scripture meditation, evangelism, serving, stewardship of time and money, Scripture application, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning. By illustrating why the disciplines are important, showing how each one will help you grown in godliness, and offering practical suggestions for cultivating them on a long-term basis, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will provide you with a refreshing opportunity to embrace life's greatest pursuit––the pursuit of holiness-through a lifelong delight in the disciplines.

About the Author

DONALD S. WHITNEY is the associate professor of spiritual formation at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the best-selling author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, and How Can I Be Sure I’m a Christian? (all NavPress). Don holds a doctor of ministry degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and is completing a doctor of theology degree with specialization in Christian spirituality from the University of South Africa. He is founder and president of the Center for Biblical Spirituality. Don lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with his wife and daughter. Don's website is www.BiblicalSpirituality.org.
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Don Whitney has been Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation (the first such position in the six Southern Baptist seminaries) at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri since 1995.
Don grew up in Osceola, Arkansas, where he came to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He was active in sports throughout high school and college, and worked in the radio station his dad managed. After graduating from Arkansas State University, Don planned to finish law school and pursue a career in sportscasting. While at the University of Arkansas School of Law, he sensed God's call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He then enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1979. In 1987 he completed a Doctor of Ministry degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Don is currently completing a Doctor of Theology degree in Christian Spirituality at the University of South Africa.
Before coming to Midwestern, Don was pastor of Glenfield Baptist Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (a Chicago suburb) for almost fifteen years.
He is the author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (NavPress, 1991), which has a companion discussion guide. He has also written How Can I Be Sure I'm A Christian (NavPress, 1994), Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church (Moody Press, 1996), Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health (NavPress, 2001), and Simplify Your Spiritual Life (NavPress, 2003).
Don's wife, Caffy, ministers from their home in Kansas City as a women's Bible study teacher, an artist, and a freelance illustrator. The Whitneys are parents of a daughter, Laurelen Christiana.
Don's website address is www.SpiritualDisciplines.org.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Whitney's book is a classic on the subject of spiritual disciplines.
Laurence T. Baxter
If you like practical help in developing your Christian walk, I highly recommend reading this book and then re-reading it again.
Lori Kasbeer
A great buy for those reading the book again as the book itself is a lot to chew the first time around.
B. Whaley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
I almost always carry a journal or notebook with me so I can scribble down thoughts as they come to me during the day. Some of these turn into articles and others turn into devotional material. More often than not I look at them weeks or months later and have absolutely no idea what they mean or what I was thinking when I scribbled them down. Recently I saw a comment in a notebook that did make sense to me. I had written about the difference between my friend Jason and myself when we sit down with a guitar on our laps and a sheet of music in front of us. I can read the music and strum those strings and make nothing but awful, painful sounds that bear little resemblance to music. Jason, on the other hand, can sit down and make music at will, even with no sheet music in front of him. The difference between Jason and myself is not necessarily inate musical ability or the quality of our guitars. The difference is in disciplined practice. Jason has dedicated thousands of hours to honing his skills so that it seems to require little effort to play the music. The freedom to play with this skill has come only at the expense of dedicated, disciplined effort.

Don Whitney uses this same metaphor to show the importance of being disciplined in the pursuit of godliness, for there is freedom in discipline. The freedom to grow in godliness - "to naturally express Christ's character through your own personality - is in large part dependent on a deliberate cultivation of the spiritual disciplines." (From the back cover)

And so this book is an examination of spiritual disciplines - disciplines provided by God which are designed to help us grow in godliness, allowing us to become more and more conformed to the image of Christ.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Allan Thompson on November 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Donald Whitney is now a professor at a large midwestern seminary but was a local pastor when he wrote this excellent book. I mention that to say this was written out of practical experience and not as some thesis or doctoral work with no bearing on reality.
It is extremely readable, practical and applicable. An individual can read it alone and benefit wonderfully from it, or can also use the book in a discussion book and find it equally rewarding.
The Disciplines are ancient as avenues to express one's Christian life, but for modern audiences Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline was the hearkening call back to their practice. Dallas Willard's book followed several years later called The Spirit of the Disciplines, a "why" and rationale for the Disciplines. Whitney's book is the practical way to incorporate the Disciplines into one's everyday life, to escape the discuss and do nothing mode of many so called believers, and actually change one's life.
I heartily recommend the book. I have used it in training student leaders on the college campus and find its advice timeless yet contemporary.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By ServantofGod on January 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
In short, this book is a highly concencentrated dosage for strengthening us to "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness" (1 Tim 4:7). It's well written with good picks of scriptures, stories/sayings from spiritual leaders, and smooth flow of why and how on eleven disciplines. Relatively short with 235 content pages but really heavy in quality. Highly recommended! in particular Chapter Ten Silence and Solitude with the opening story "The Bet" by Anton Checkhov.

Below please find some copy and paste I like most for your reference.

Discipline without direction is drudgery. pg 15
Godly people are disciplined people. It has always been so.... Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin...Charles Spurgeon, George Muller...As "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17" pg 17
We have not advanced very far in our spiritual livs if we have not encountered the basic paradox of freedom...that we are most free when we are bound...The one who would be an athlete, ut who is unwilling to discipline his body by regular exercise and abstinence, is not free to excel on the field or the track. His failure to train rigorously denies him the freedom to run with the desired speed and endurance...Disicpline is the price of freedom. - Elton Trueblood pg 23
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Kellemen on April 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Donald Whitney writes in the spirit of Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. He unites the best of both of these fine authors--the bold practicality of Foster and the theological precision of Willard.

In "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life," Whitney develops the classical Protestant teaching on the means for tapping into Christ's resurrection power. Like an experienced athletic coach, Whitney offers a spiritual workout routine that each reader can format into a personalized plan for growth in grace.

Integrating scriptural wisdom, historic practice, Puritan theology, and relevant illustrations, Whitney weaves together a mosaic of "the habits of devotion and experiential Christianity that have been practiced by the people of God since biblical times" (p. 15, "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life").

After anchoring his theory in theology (chapter one), Whitney explains ten classic spiritual disciplines: Bible intake, prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, silence/solitude, journaling, and learning. Wisely, he emphasizes the core purpose of each discipline: godliness, Christlikeness. Knowing human nature well, he concludes his study with exhortations to perseverance in the disciplines.

Written a decade-and-a-half ago, "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life" remains relevant and required reading for anyone wanting to know how and why to practice the spiritual disciplines. One could only hope that Willard might now write a companion volume teaching how to practice some of the less frequently practiced historic disciplines such as Sabbath rest, holy listening, confession, secrecy, chastity, and submission.

Reviewer: Dr. Robert W. Kellemen is the author of "Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction," "Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction," and the forthcoming "Sacred Companions: A History of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."
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