Christian Spirituality, Donald Alexander

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“How can we grow closer to God? Is there a secret to spiritual life? Do we need a second blessing? Is sanctification God’s work or ours? Is it instantaneous or is it a process? The nature of Christian spirituality has been widely debated throughout the history of the church. The doctrine of sanctification was one of the main fissures separating Luther from the Catholic Church. Even today different groups of Protestants disagree on how we draw closer to God. What distinguishes the different positions and what exactly is at stake in these recurring debates? To answer these questions Donald L. Alexander, professor of biblical theology at Bethel College, has brought together five scholars that represent each of the main historical Protestant traditions:

  • Gerhard O. Forde on the Lutheran view
  • Sinclair B. Ferguson on the Reformed view
  • Laurence W. Wood on the Wesleyan view
  • Russell P. Spittler on the Pentecostal view
  • E. Glenn Hinson on the Contemplative view

With an introduction by Alexander and responses to each of the main essays by the other contributors, this book provides a helpful and stimulating introduction to an important doctrine of the church.”

Here are some other books on soteriology that might interest you.

Happy New Year from Maranatha Baptist Seminary

While purely symbolic, the start of a new year leads many people to consider some change in their lives. We live in a world where change seems to be the only constant anymore, and much of that change makes many of us nervous.  Change is not inherently a bad thing, however. New Year’s Resolutions are usually good things, although these Resolutions should not be limited only to January 1st.  This is a good time to consider some needed change.

Change requires an initial, honest analysis of where we are. Some questions concern our spiritual life – how is our relationship with God? Are we content with our knowledge of Scripture? Do we pray enough – either in length or in frequency? Read more…

What should I do?

What should I do? What does God want me to do in any given situation? What is the Christian thing to do? Is God con­cerned about everything I do? Does God care if the Packers win or lose? These are questions Christians face every day. The Bible does not give us instructions to cover every contingency, yet the expecta­tion is there to be holy. The purpose of this series of articles is to attempt to explore how we might establish a standard of obedience.

This topic has interested me for years. As a college Dean of Students (a long time ago), I was interested in trying to balance the pragmatic needs of a college campus filled with young men and women with the biblical instructions found in the text of Scripture. I was struggling with how to handle the commands of the Old Testament, some of which were routinely used as a basis for behavior in the preaching and teaching I had heard through much of my life. As a theologian, I had studied well the theology of sanctification; it is a regular topic in systematic theologies. The Read more…

Pride and Apologies

I recently made an off-handed comment about a conservative evangelical in a public setting. A short while later I received an email from a colleague at another institution, noting the inaccuracy of my statement. His email was the result of an email from a colleague at a third institution, “sharing” my comment with him. While the email I received was essentially kind and considerate, the initial email noted that I was either ignorant or lacked integrity. Ouch – that hurt.

At this point, pride rose. Pride is the queen of the vices, at least the queen of my vices. So I responded (internally, since I’m not generally eager to put my sin nature on display). Response #1 was definition, “I’m a nice guy. Why criticize me?” Then my theology got in the way. My anthropology and view of sanctification assured me that I’ve not quite arrived yet. It took a while – maybe all of 15 minutes – to set my pride aside. Read more…