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The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life (Ancient-Future) Paperback – October 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Learn to live out true Christian spirituality in today's world

In The Divine Embrace, part of his acclaimed Ancient-Future series, Robert Webber lays the foundation for understanding Christian spirituality by tracing it from the ancient church to the present, showing how biblical teaching has been developed theologically and informed by changes in culture. He then explores how we can return contemporary spirituality to its biblical source, living out God's story in our individual lives and in our life together as the church. You will be encouraged and equipped to live out your spirituality as a deeper and more delightful response to God's divine embrace.

"Robert Webber's new book places him in the good company of Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, and Eugene Peterson as one of our most important thinkers about spiritual formation for authentic Christian living. It provides fresh, wise, and challenging guidance that is rooted in a career of Christian leadership development. It draws from decades of research in church history and spirituality, and flows from the mind of a scholar and the heart of a practitioner. I am a fan of all his work, but I think this is his best and most important book to date."-Brian McLaren, author/speaker,

"Do not read this book alone! Bob Webber is right: authentic Christian spirituality is a shared response of believers to God's actions on our behalf. Get your small group, Sunday school class, or church to study this challenging message together."-David Neff, editor, Christianity Today magazine

"Robert Webber-one of our most trusted voices on worship and discipleship-takes spirituality out of the closet of privacy and individualism and locates it smack in the middle of friendship and community. His is a wonderful, unique vision that cuts across the grain of the 'spirituality industry.'"-James K. A. Smith, associate professor of philosophy, Calvin College

Robert E. Webber is Myers Professor of Ministry at Northern Seminary and the president of the Institute for Worship Studies. He is the author of over thirty books, including Ancient-Future Faith and The Younger Evangelicals.

About the Author

Robert E. Webber (1933-2007) was, at the time of his death, Myers Professor of Ministry at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois, and served as the president of the Institute for Worship Studies in Orange Park, Florida. His many books include Ancient-Fut


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Product Details

  • Series: Ancient-Future (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801065550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801065552
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By on June 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Though you wouldn't know it from the title, this is the fourth book in Robert E. Webber's excellent and highly acclaimed Ancient-Future series, one of the most significant contributions to the discussion of the relationship between postmodernism and Christianity. In light of that, emerging church leader Brian McLaren, an admitted fan of Webber's writing, considers THE DIVINE EMBRACE the author's "best and most important book to date." I fully agree, and given that his previous books were all good and important as well, that means McLaren and I place this one in the exceptional category.

One element that makes this book so important is Webber's clarification of the word "spirituality" --- specifically, Christian spirituality as defined and experienced by the ancient church. Webber rescues the word from its ambiguous, anemic use in contemporary society and restores to it all the vibrancy and God-centeredness that is inherent in genuine Christian spirituality. "God has put his arms around us in the divine embrace and has restored our fellowship to him," Webb writes. The book, he explains, is the Christian story of that embrace, "the spirituality that proceeds from it, and how this spirituality can be recovered in a relativistic, postmodern world where spirituality is viewed as a common, contentless experience of otherness." If that postmodern view of spirituality leaves you cold, dissatisfied and more restless than ever, THE DIVINE EMBRACE not only explains why that is but more importantly shows what you can do about it.

Part of Webber's genius lies in his ability to articulate a thorough study of spirituality in a warm, reflective tone.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Morine on December 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I was in Canada for the Holidays, I was blessed to accomplish some reading. The "Divine Embrace" was not a planned read, because I was going to spend most of the time on hockey books. But I brought this book along "case in just". Thankfully I did. This is one of the best Christian books I have ever read. For those of you who read this blog, you know I read a lot. This book dealt with the topic of spirituality in a highly Biblical way. It roots spirituality in the narrative of the God story. Unlike many modern expressions that are centered in self, this spirituality is centered in the story of God. It gives a great overview of the various expressions through the ages of Christianity. This section was extremely interesting. The author continues by fleshing out the practice of spirituality. One of the strongest points of the book is his emphasis on baptism. The book is deep, but readable. It has a spirituality that is highly rooted in the Biblical text. If you are looking for a wonderful book on spirituality and the various expressions of this discipline, this is the book for you. I highly recommend it to Christians that desire to grow stronger in their relationship with God.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Blake TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
"The Divine Embrace" takes the reader back to the ancient past to help them learn to live out authentic Christian spirituality in today's world. Robert E. Webber encourages and equips the reader to live out God's story in their lives individually and in the corporate life of the church. Webber maintains that God's story is the very essence of Christian living and that spiritual life is a constant movement toward Christ-likeness.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One covers the history of spirituality from the ancient church to the present day. In this section Webber explains how spirituality became separated from the divine embrace.

Part Two focuses on the recovery of a biblical and historical spirituality. Weber goes on to present the challenge of returning to the divine embrace and covers such topics as the story of God's incarnation, death and resurrection, baptism into union with Christ, and the disciplines of Christian spirituality, and the nurture of the church.

"The Divine Embrace" is both comprehensive and concise. I was truly impressed with the thoroughness of Webber's research as evidenced by the notes at the end of the book, as well as the amazing quality of the selected bibliography, and the complete index to the book itself. I found the "Summary for Reflection and Conversation" section included at the end of each chapter both interesting and helpful.

Webber is articulate, brilliant in his field and portrays authenticity of character through his writing. "The Divine Embrace" is a book that can benefit pastor and layman alike and will appeal to anyone eager for a deeper relationship with God.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donner C. S. Tan on February 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like many other reviewers here, I am a Webber fan too! He is our hero in so many ways and a safe guide as we wade through the waters of post-modernism with its many seductions and threats. Webber has in so many of his other works shown us how to live out the Christian faith in an era that bears much semblance to the pre-Constantinian period where many other faiths are giving the Christian story a run for the money!

This last book in his ancient-future series serves more as a broad overview of his understanding of the Christian story vis-a-vis the various distortions that have crept in through the ages.

The Church has had to battle the heresies of Platonism/Gnosticism that splits matter from spirit in favor of the latter, medieval obsession with one's forensic status before God with its accompanying guilt and legalism, intellectualism and Romanticism which are opposite outcrops of the Enlightenment split between the intellect and experience, and modern day spiritual narcissism and private interiority. Webber lays out these distortions with candor and poignant critique and invites us to recover what the ancient Patristic Church has maintained as the first order understanding of the Christian story, which is 'recapitulation' - the healing and reconciliation of the fallen world to God through the redemptive works of Christ.

By pointing us to the core of the Christian story, he then lays out the ways in which Christians can make this story their own through the core practices of baptism,repentance and cultivation of Christian virtues, daily disciplines such as work, study and prayer as well as worship and immersion in the life of the church.
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