Book Review: Four Views on Christian Spirituality
Edited by: Bruce Demarest and Stanley Gundry
Contributors: Bradley Nassif, Scott Hahn, Joseph Driskill, Evan Howard
Published by: Zondervan ISBN: 9780310329282
I’ve purchased and read quite a few of these “multiple point of view” books over the years and I don’t think I’ve ever read one I did not appreciate. This particular title exploring multiple perspectives of Christian spirituality is no exception. In this volume, Eastern Orthodoxy (Bradley Nassif), Roman Catholicism (Scott Hahn), Progressive Mainline Protestantism (Joseph Driskill), and Evangelicalism (Evan Howard) are explored. Bruce Damarest serves as the general editor of this installment of the Counterpoints series.
When talking about “spirituality” the definition can be taken in many different directions. The scope and direction of the essays in this book address the work and perspectives of spiritual formation in particular. Personally, I found the essays and contributing counterpoints from the other traditions fascinating. I did not find the language used too theologically obtuse for me to understand and came away from the book better educated and more appreciative of the rich history that is the stream of Judeo-Christian faith. Most important to me, I was interested to see how the differing perspectives might be presented and/or countered. I must say that it was a present and joyful relief to sense a great measure of civility and respect between the respective contributors.
It should be noted there are a number of doctrinal issues not addressed in the discussions of this book, but that is not the objective. Christian spirituality as it pertains to spiritual formation is the single focus of the various authors. If you’re interested in perspectives concerning Christian formation outside of your tradition or if you’re looking for a general overview of what sets apart the various streams of belief in the primary traditions of the Christian faith, this is a book worthwhile of your time. I found it highly informative, very understandable, and graciously civil in the temperament of its discussions.