Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered   -     By: James C. Wilhoit
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Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered

Baker Academic / 2008 / Paperback

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Product Description

Spiritual formation is undoubtedly a timely and popular topic in our materialistic culture. Plenty of high-quality books have been published, including the works of Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. Yet most of these resources focus on the individual. James Wilhoit leads readers in a new direction by focusing on the impact that Christian community can have on spiritual development in Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered. Also unique to this treatment is its historical and ecumenical approach.

Perhaps the most important metaphor throughout the text is that of a journey. Spiritual progress is not a destination; instead, it is a continuous process. Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered offers an introduction to spiritual formation set squarely in the local church. As such it is appropriate for professors and students (both undergraduate and graduate) but it is also helpful for church leaders and spirituality readers. Features that enhance this work include its brief chapters, sidebar content, and for further reading annotations.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Baker Academic
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0801027764
ISBN-13: 9780801027765
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

The yearning and restlessness of our souls drive us toward God. This hunger and homesickness is the beginning of spiritual formation, according to James C. Wilhoit. In Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered, Wilhoit takes a unique approach to the topic. Whereas most books focus on the individual's spiritual transformation, this one intentionally concentrates on how the local church itself is the seedbed of spiritual growth and how the process is a community effort. This book's short chapters, sidebar material, and concluding prayers fit well with readers' busy lives without sacrificing quality and depth of content.

Author Bio

James C. Wilhoit (PhD, Northwestern University) is the Scripture Press Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College, where he has taught for more than twenty years. His previous publications include The Christian Educator's Handbook on Spiritual Formation.

Author Bio

James C. Wilhoit (PhD, Northwestern University) is the Scripture Press Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College, where he has taught for more than twenty years. His previous publications include The Christian Educator's Handbook on Spiritual Formation.

Endorsements

"James Wilhoit has written a book of special urgency for our times. In it he addresses the central problem facing the contemporary church in the Western world and worldwide, the problem of how to routinely lead its members through a path of spiritual, moral, and personal transformation that brings them into authentic Christlikeness in every aspect of their lives. . . . Dr. Wilhoit, with a warm heart and a gentle and intelligent manner, helps us see, in great detail, what we can do to relocate spiritual transformation at the center of what we do in gathering as disciples of Jesus. He helps any serious person engage the project from where they are, discover what really works for Christlikeness and what doesn't, and assess outcomes realistically to make needed adjustments as they go." -Dallas Willard (from the foreword)

"James Wilhoit presents an exciting paradigm for spiritual transformation in the community of faith---God's setting for transformation. It is a seminal work that I trust will be taken seriously." -Larry Richards, distinguished educator, North American Professors of Christian Education, and author of Creative Bible Teaching

"Theologically grounded, educationally sound, and gracious in tone, Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered is a robust response to Dallas Willard's challenge to the church to give greater attention to congregation-wide spiritual formation. Pastors and church teachers will appreciate this rich resource---well versed in the spiritual formation literature, with its summaries, stories, and practical steps---to guide and discern growth toward Christlikeness." -Klaus Issler, author of Wasting Time with God: A Christian Spirituality of Friendship with God

"From the first stunning sentence in Wilhoit's book---'Spiritual formation is the task of the church'---to the last sentence of the book---'We belong together in our Father's home'---I was hooked. Wilhoit captures the journey and struggle of spiritual growth through the life and invitations of Jesus Christ. The breadth of biblical images used to describe transformation reveals the limits of quick-fix models and one-size-fits-all programmatics. Wilhoit offers a means for the church to provide an accessible pathway for growth in the ordinary events, relationships, and brokenness of our lives. This lovely work nourished my heart, instructed my mind, and opened my spirit to the Spirit of Christ." -Adele Calhoun, pastor of spiritual formation, Christ Church of Oak Brook, IL

"Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered is the mature fruit of a devout scholar. Here Jim Wilhoit weaves theory, passion, and practice together into a rich re-presentation of the gospel for the local church. He takes the discussion about spiritual formation an important step forward, shifting the emphasis from private pursuit to corporate culture. Sensitive to the seldom-noticed dangers along the path of growth toward Christlikeness, this book is loaded with wisdom for those who desire to facilitate communities of formation. Wilhoit's insights regarding anointed teaching, public testimony, the enlarging cross, and mutual confession are alone worth the price of the book." -Evan Howard, author of The Brazos Introduction to Christian Spirituality

More Info

The yearning and restlessness of our souls drive us toward God. This hunger and homesickness is the beginning of spiritual formation, according to James C. Wilhoit. In Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered, Wilhoit takes a unique approach to this topic. Whereas most books focus on the individual's spiritual transformation, this one intentionally concentrates on how the local church itself is the seedbed of spiritual growth and how the process is a community effort. This book's short chapters, sidebar material, and concluding prayers fit well with readers' busy lives without sacrificing quality or depth of content.

Library Journal

Wilhoit (Christian formation & ministry, Wheaton Coll.; The Christian Educator’s Handbook on Spiritual Formation) pens a deep and wide primer on what he argues is the task of the Christian church. He begins each chapter quoting scripture and experts to set the scene or to get the reader thinking; his first chapter, e.g., begins with the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19–20. With this injunction firmly in front of us to make disciples, Wilhoit then leads us through what formation is and how it can be accomplished. For Wilhoit, spiritual formation is necessarily a community process, and he goes on to identify four dimensions of this process: receiving, remembering, responding, and relating. He spends two chapters on each dimension, describing its foundation and the means of fostering it. Wilhoit bolsters his own discussion by supplementing each chapter with relevant extracts of other works and further reading lists that include both recent and classic titles. This book belongs in every seminary, on every clergyperson’s shelf, and in any library supporting a community of inquiring Christians.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Lib., Wisconsin Rapids

Publisher's Weekly

The title of this tightly woven, consistently challenging meditation on Christian spiritual formation serves notice that this book is going to be more than another self-help manual. Indeed, Wheaton College professor Wilhoit, author of The Christian Educator's Handbook on Spiritual Formation, asserts that although developing "Christlikeness" in its members is the church's main job, many congregations have either abandoned old practices without developing new ones, or have relied on stratagems instead of on God's grace. Because he views spiritual growth as a lifelong process, Wilhoit delineates a communal perspective on responding to Jesus' invitation to love God and neighbor, emphasizing shared practice and learning. His "four pillars of formation" include receiving, or being open to God's grace; remembering, or understanding who we are and why we were created; responding in service to neighbors and the world; and building relationships in the context of community. In alternating chapters, Wilhoit gives readers theological and Biblical foundations for each principle, then suggests a set of practices. While it would be easy to get lost in the sober volume, this skilled writer uses many pedagogical tools to keep his audience focused. Clearly written from an evangelical perspective, this cogent and passionate book deserves to have wide appeal. (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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