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Authentic Faith: The Power of a Fire-Tested Life Hardcover – February 1, 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Many Christian books address spiritual growth, but few have as much potential for impact as this book by Thomas (Sacred Marriage and Sacred Pathways), a veteran writer and speaker in evangelical Christian circles as well as a teacher of spiritual formation at Western Seminary. Thomas is able to communicate many deep insights from the heritage of classical Christian faith in a cultural and spiritual idiom that will resonate well with evangelicals. Rather than discussing the traditional spiritual disciplines (e.g., fasting, prayer or Bible study), Thomas focuses on the spiritual disciplines that are initiated by God rather than by believers: selflessness, waiting, endurance, persecution, social mercy, forgiveness, mourning, contentment, sacrifice, and rewards and punishments. Each chapter explores a discipline with memorable illustrations, Scriptural foundations, insights from classical Christian writers and references to current life situations and struggles. Thomas's discussion of mourning as a spiritual discipline is particularly insightful: "Mourning invites us to a deeper life," he explains. "It takes us beyond the surface to give us a glimpse of the world as God sees it." Despite the difficult nature of many of the topics, the book offers an overarching sense of a deep joy and meaning that can be obtained by seeking God through life's darkest times. Thomas provides an unusually compassionate discussion of many painful circumstances, offering a fresh perspective of wisdom and hope.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Thomas provides an unusually compassionate discussion of many painful circumstances, offering a fresh perspective of wisdom and hope." -- Publisher's Weekly, January 14, 2002
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Company (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310236924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310236924
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,280,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dawn on January 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
If I could give this book more then five stars I would. "Authentic Faith" was very convicting, and really made me think about some things in my life. I am a fast reader, but there were days that I could only read a couple of pages because I had to take time to think about what Gary Thomas said.

Thomas starts off his book by talking about laying new groundwork for what defines authentic faith, which is a life centered around God and not ourselves. Authentic faith developed by "authentic disciplines" such as contentment, suffering, persecution, waiting, mourning, humility and forgiveness. These disciplines are different than traditional disciplines such as fasting, praying, studying the Bible etc., because they are not initiated by us but rather by God. Whereas on the other hand, traditional disciplines are initiated by us to help build our faith. Although, they are worthy of our initiation they can sometimes foster religiosity, pride and self sufficiency.

One of my favorite chapter was about the discipline of suffering. To think about suffering as being a good thing seems ironic, but Thomas quotes another writer named Thomas Watson who says it so well, "Sometimes a sick bed can teach us more than a sermon". This made me think of sufferings I have gone through, that haven't been on a sick bed, and yes they did teach me more than a sermon could. Thomas also shares in this chapter about how our refusal to suffer can lead to addictions and physical breakdowns, which I have never thought about before. I would recommend that anyone suffering from an addiction should get this book, because how he explained the process of addiction and physical breakdowns made so much sense.

The other chapter that I found helpful was about the discipline of mourning.
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I'm reading this with a group of women as a devotional for a Mops leadership group and we all recommend it! Gary talks about a host of areas in our lives that we don't frequently dwell on, areas that can be hard to think about much less discuss. There are chapters on selflessness, waiting, suffering, persecution, social mercy, forgiveness, mourning, contentment, sacrifice and hope and fear. Lest that sounds too depressing, take heart! Using many real life examples, he discusses how each of these areas can draw us closer to God. As he says, "what if life isn't meant to be perfect, but we are meant to trust the One who is?" As any human being knows, life isn't perfect but our experiences can help shape our faith, if we allow God to let them. I also highly recommend going on his website [...] for a free study guide to go along with the book. You can also download free chapters of other books as well as study guides to go along with them. This book isn't a light read, but if you really want to grow deeper in your faith, I highly recommend reading and pursuing an "Authentic Faith".
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This is one of the best books I've ever read! Thomas address areas of faith that most people never talk about (the difficulties that we can't control). I recommended it to all my friends. We even used it for our women's study bible stuy. Every one of my friends who've read this book has also loved it. It's challenging, and it makes you uncomfortable with the comforts of your own faith. This book is convicting, but it also helps to transform your thinking and test your faith.
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Gary Thomas has a lot to say, and it becomes obvious that he lives it. This book is a challenge to the way we live. A friend remarked: "I read the first chapter twice. I flunked." But it certainly is something to reach for.
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Format: Paperback
I absolutely enjoyed this book...but what I enjoyed even more than the book itself was the amazing resource of classic authors and texts through Gary Thomas' extensive footnotes...it is always a joy to find a book that sends you on a long and wonderful trail through the greatest thinkers/theologians of all time...a must read!
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Read this for assigned seminary course material. Seemed like the easiest first bite of a 5 book reading marathon. The content and pace of the book are great The incredible challenge comes not from the concepts proffered, but the application of them. Thomas's candour and vulnerability leave the reader no place to hide from the truth that is God's word.
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Gary Thomas is a gifted writer and communicator who presents classic foundational truths in a fresh and understandable way. This book represents another work that will cause the reader to think past a stereotypical walk with Christ.
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I took on this book with a small group of believers in a weekly study. I am not a reader, but this book kept me coming back. Maybe it is this time in my life, but the lessons and principles revealed through Gary's insights into scripture have been hard, reassuring, comforting, and challenging...all at the same time. Thank you.
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