It’s not often that you can get a group of front-ranking theologians and scholars together to discuss spiritual formation, spiritual theology and what “life in the Spirit” means. But the Wheaton Theology Conference in 2009 did just that and this volume is the result: Life in the Spirit: Spiritual Formation in Theological Perspective
. The book has good scholars and some great topics, and it never strays from developing a theology of spiritual formation.
Gordon Fee, Dallas Willard, Lawrence Cunningham, Kelly Kapic, Chris Hall and Susan Phillips — to name some. I really like the topics: definition by Jeffrey Greenman, the Spirit by Gordon Fee, the soteriology that shapes how we see spiritual formation with Dallas Willard, Kelly Kapic on John Owen, George Kalantzis on the desert monastics, Bruce Hindmarsh on evangelical spirituality, James Wilhoit on centering prayer, Cherith Fee Nordling on singing and David Gushee on sanctity of life… yes, this is a great roster. And Linda Cannell closes the volume by pushing the theme into theological education.
Jeffrey Greenman’s opening definition can’t be improved upon: “Spiritual formation is our continuing response to the reality of God’s grace shaping us into the likeness of Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, in the community of faith, for the sake of the world” (24).
This would be a great book for pastors and for a pastoral staff to ponder together for a year; and a fine textbook for seminary classes.