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Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal Paperback – August 13, 1979
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"Why is Lovelace's writing a must-read? It's a madly efficient use of your mental and spiritual energy. For pastors, church planters, missional leaders, and thinking Christians, the benefits of this book will be well worth the effort." (Coram Deo (cdomaha.com/blog), July 22, 2008)
"Here is more evidence of growing Evangelical concern with renewal, spirituality and the historic witness of Christianity. Dynamics of Spiritual Life is a major new contribution to our understanding of God's action in the church and in history. While writing from an essentially Reformed perspective, Lovelace remains open to other traditions, including contemporary Neo-Pentecostalism, and is sensitive to God's renewing action historically within Roman Catholicism as well as in Anabaptism, Pietism and other Protestant renewal movements." (Howard A. Snyder, author of The Problem of Wineskins and Liberating the Church)
"We need a book like this at this time. Lovelace has done the job in a sensitive, insightful, readable way. His work deserves a readership far beyond the Evangelical tradition out of which it grows." (Mark J. Link, S.J., author of These Stones Will Shout and The Seventh Trumpet)
"Disciples of Jesus Christ who know the cost of discipleship, heirs of grace who treasure its costly gifts, and men and women of taste and scholarship and civil impulse have good reason for wishing the author luck. No, put that not 'luck' but 'steadfastness' and 'grace.'" (Martin E. Marty, University of Chicago)
About the Author
Richard F. Lovelace (Th.D., Princeton) is emeritus professor of church history at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the author of Homosexuality and the Church (Revell) and The American Pietism of Cotton Mather (Eerdmans).
Top Customer Reviews
Richard Lovelace is an under-recognized great Christian thinker. This volume is scholarly, insightful, and surprisingly devotional. The principles are applied and oft quoted by Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian in New York. Redeemer has grown and planted about a dozen churches over the last decade. I consider this a must read for anyone who wants to understand how God works radically in normal "spiritual life."
He sees a missing link between justification and sanctification among many believers which he dubs the 'sanctification gap'. He sees how it is possible to have confessed Christ, continue a life of religiosity and remain spiritually dead. In fact, either an encounter with the grace of God without an ensuing commitment to sanctification or an exposure to the righteous demands of God's law without a concomitant experience of his grace can lead to aberrant forms of the Christian life. He offers a way forward by explicating how justification and sanctification are brought together conceptually and in practice.
Presenting his understanding from the Reformed perspective, he outlines the fundamental core of the gospel message that can truly set us on a vibrant course of growth and renewal. This includes depth conception of sin, and encounter with the life-transforming grace of God, justification as well as sanctification by faith, an experience of God's complete acceptance of us through the righteous achievements of Christ, claiming our authority through Christ's defeat over the diabolic, prayer and complete reliance on the Spirit, disenculturation (freedom from cultural binds)of our faith and theological integration.Read more ›
Dr. Lovelace approaches the theology of renewal as a church historian, who draws wisely from many movements and thinkers, of whom Jonathan Edwards features prominently. While Reformed theologically, Lovelace appreciates the best of the Protestant traditions and accept the ongoing power of the charismatic gifts. His reflections are deeply biblical, theologically rich, and spiritually heartening. To give just one example, his discussion of justification and sanctificatin is clear and cogent. It is also foundational to any Spirit-led renewal. Twenty years after I taught this material, one of my students email to say how helpful this was in her young Christian life.
The American church desperately needs renewal and reformation. This book, though written in 1979, can help chart the way. I cannot think of any book as profound, wise, and challenging on these matters. Yes, it is high time to reread this modern classic. Thanks to InterVarsity for keeping it in print all these years.
I found this to be a theologically rich book covering a wide variety of topics such sotierology, eschatology, pneumatology, and eschatology but generally grounded in the history of the church. Although addressing evangelicalism, he ventures more broadly into Roman Catholicism, Lutheran Pietism, and Reformed Puritanism to name a few.
There was much to commend about this book. I think it would be useful for church leaders to read even today to read and understand the dynamics of renewal. As a psychologist and one who is interested in the life of the soul, I found this book particularly sensitive to the role of soul care in the church. Lovelace does not commend a primarily exhortational method nor does he go so far as to wholly give way to modern forms of psychotherapy. In other words, his writings would seem to fit comfortably in the world of Christian Psychology, where I tend to identify myself.
For the average reader, this book may be overwhelming. It is 455 pages long and he is prone to using technical terminology at times. If you are willing to wade through that, however, I think the extra work will be worth the reward.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am thoroughly enjoying this book, (it has helped to explain some of the traumas that I have been through in my spiritual journey).Published 20 days ago by Sheila Gibson
A little thick. I would use it more of a historical reference than a cover to cover read. Also somewhat outdatedPublished on August 13, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I would highly suggest this book. I do hope the author and publish would do an update, as it is from the 1970s/1980s. However, its relevance is not diminished. Read morePublished on April 10, 2013 by Kyler Westerfeldt
From the back cover of this book, we have the following summary: "Richard Lovelace gives a history of spiritual renewals in light of biblical models. Read more
This book has been on my recommended reading list for some time. Do not hesitate to purchase this great work on renewal and revival. Read morePublished on November 23, 2010 by Nathan B. Shaver
People are always too enthusiastic about books and say silly things like, "Everyone should read this!" "It's A Must-Read! Read morePublished on May 21, 2010 by Philip Cotnoir