Book Review: The Kingdom Life
By: Alan Andrews; Gen. Ed.
Publisher: NavPress ISBN: 9781600062803
I like this book; I like this book a lot. I don’t fully understand why it doesn’t seem to have gained more traction or popularity on the “spiritual formation” reading list. Maybe this book is more popular than I imagine, but as a person who stays fairly up-to-date with books circulating in the field of Christian education and spiritual formation, I simply haven’t heard a lot about The Kingdom Life. If my suspicions are correct, it is sad because I believe this is an excellent piece of work and I plan to use it as a primary resource for teaching the basic elements of spiritual formation. I have not found a single resource that can match the elements of process and theology contained in this one book. Best of all, I believe it is accessible to every person wherever they may be in there spiritual journey and wherever they may be in their maturity thereof. I have been working on curriculum and study presentation where I plan to use this book for both 101 and 201 level teaching and it is for that reason I am baffled that more hasn’t been written or reviewed for this book.
The contributors of this book are a veritable gold mine of experience and knowledge, many of them having authored books individually on various topics and teaching involving spiritual formation. This collaborative work came out of the formation of a group named TACT (Theological and Cultural Thinkers Group). It seems the group experienced a number of growing pains, but through perseverance and humility was able to come together with diversity of background, experience, and tradition to compile this book which represents a generalized common experience for believers on the path of spiritual formation.
The book is separated into two main sections; Part One consists of the Process Elements of Spiritual Formation and Part Two consisting of the Theological Elements of Spiritual Formation. Each section features specific “elements” which lend shape and substance to the theology and the process of spiritual formation. For instance, under the process elements there are chapter titles discussing the Gospel of the Kingdom as it pertains to spiritual formation, communities of grace, and transformation. While the theological elements are discussed in chapters titled The Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and The Bible to name a few.
At the end of each chapter there are questions and points for reflection and discussion. While these can be used for individual study and edification, I believe a small group or class setting would be most beneficial allowing for social interaction and diverse points of view (this in my personal opinion). Also included at the end of each chapter is a list of titles for further reading relevant to the material covered in said chapter. Finally, the book is very well cited and documented with resource material; this annotated index is included in a “notes” section at the end of the book.
As I mentioned, I don’t know why I haven’t heard more about The Kingdom Life…perhaps it may be that it reads somewhat like a textbook and that may be true, but it should not be discounted or put aside for those reasons. This book is full of great information and resource material and would be an invaluable addition to the library of anyone working in the area of discipleship.