In a groundbreaking book that rethinks spiritual formation, Gary Thomas argues that the contemporary church is in danger of accepting Christianity as a historical reality but not as a present power. Is the grace that pardons powerful enough to transform? Answering with a resounding yes, Thomas presents a compelling picture of what it means to be a God oasis in a God-forgetting world. The first chapter alone is worth reading many times. This is beauty and struggle. This is the death that leads to life. John Ortberg, Pastor and Author, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church Set this book down
and run away
unless you hunger for a deeper vision of faith and thirst for genuine life transformation
if you do, read on. Kevin Harney, Pastor and Author Once again, Gary Thomas challenges me to live passionately for God and to apply his transforming power to my daily decisions. Kay Warren, Executive Director, HIV/AIDS Initiative, Saddleback Church The Beautiful Fight will energize your life and your church. It will inspire you, equip you, and challenge you to delve ever deeper into what it means to be a truly holy believer, transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. Discover just how radical Christian transformation can be, as you learn to see with new eyes, think with a new mind, and feel with a new heart. Thomas rallies you to the Beautiful Fightthe struggle to fully express the wonder and life-changing power of Christ in this world through every aspect of who you are.
Gary Thomas is a writer in residence at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, and an adjunct faculty member teaching on spiritual formation at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of over a dozen books, including Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways, Pure Pleasure, Sacred Parenting, and the Gold Medallion Award-winning Authentic Faith.
Bestselling author Thomas (Sacred Marriage) based the title for this book on the way Orthodox Christian fathers translated Paul's words in 2 Timothy 4:7: "I have fought the Beautiful Fight." Thomas is concerned that Christians often focus on "mere morality" and wants to introduce readers to a more experiential, compelling Christianity that focuses on transformation, not simply conduct. This Christianity emphasizes the ascension of Christ, the presence of Christ with us, the need to listen to God daily and the fact that God is already on our side-we do not need to earn his favor, although our actions can please him. Walking through this spiritual primer, Thomas addresses a range of attitudes and actions that contribute to Christ-like living. He draws on the stories and teachings of Christians past and present, including St. Francis, Teresa of Ávila, John Calvin, C.S. Lewis and J.I. Packer. Well written, this is largely very familiar evangelical teaching with a subtle shift. Thomas may have done better to focus more on his distinctions with traditional evangelical thought, though readers will likely welcome his valuable perspective on living the Christian life. (Nov.)
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