In recent decades Christian spirituality, spiritual formation and spiritual theology have become important concepts in the global evangelical community. Consequently, an accessible and reliable academic resource is needed on these topics---one that will offer a discerning orientation to the wealth of ecumenical resources available while still highlighting the distinct heritage and affirming the core grace-centered values of classic evangelical spirituality.
The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality reflects an overarching interpretive framework for evangelical spiritual formation: a holistic and grace-filled spirituality that encompasses relational (connecting), transformational (becoming), and vocational (doing) dynamics. At the same time, contributors respectfully acknowledge the differences between Reformed, Holiness, and Pentecostal paradigms of the spiritual life. And, by bringing together writers from around the world who share a common orthodoxy, this reference work is truly global and international in both its topical scope and contributors.
Entries give appropriate attention to concepts, concerns, and formative figures in the evangelical tradition of spirituality that other reference work neglect. They offer a discerning orientation to the wealth of ecumenical resources available, exploring the similarities and differences between Christianity and alternate spiritualities without lapsing into relativism. The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality is a resource that covers a wide range of topics relating to Christian spirituality and is biblically engaged, accessible, and relevant for all contemporary Christians.
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Customer Reviews for Dictionary of Christian Spirituality
Review 1 for Dictionary of Christian Spirituality
This product is very easy to use and informative
Date:March 23, 2012
Location:William Carey University--Tradition
I would recommend this a an excellent resource for anyone wanting to know more about christian spirituality as well as for the scholar engaged in research on the topic.
In my humble opinion, Bible geeks such as myself can never have too many reference works at their disposal and I am always an easy sell (AKA sucker) for a good dictionary. Now when I think about biblical and theological dictionaries that would enhance the list of reference works available in my personal library, the first publisher that comes to mind in this category is generally IVP (InterVarsity Press). As much as they might try, IVP cannot keep this space all to themselves, so I was excited to have a chance to peruse a reference work from Zondervan, whose academic titles I have come to respect over the past decade, especially when it comes to basic and intermediate texts for the study of biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew, and more recently Aramaic).
The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality seeks to raise the bar when compared with the broad spectrum of "Christian" literature that is being produced today. This volume strives "to help Christians reunite their heads with their hearts (and also with their hands...)" (p. 7). Acknowledging the many authors and reference works on whose shoulders they stand, the contributors have attempted to provide readers with "an accessible and reliable academic resource...one that will offer a discerning orientation to the wealth of ecumenical resources available while still highlighting the distinct heritage and affirming the core grace-centered values of classic evangelical spirituality" (p. 8). The distinctive features that readers can expect in this volume are:
1. Biblically engaged 2. Accessible and relevant to contemporary Christian practitioners 3. Generous in its regard for the full range of Christian traditions of spirituality 4. Attentive to otherwise neglected topics, concerns, and formative figures in the evangelical tradition of spirituality 5. Global and international in both topical scope and contributors 6. Reflective of interdisciplinary engagement with related fields of inquiry
The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality is divided into two main parts. Part one (Integrative Perspectives) is made up of thirty four essays from a wide range of scholars on topics including:
*Overview of Christian Spirituality - Glen G. Scorgie *Jesus - Dallas Willard *The Holy Spirit - Clark H. Pinnock and Glen G. Scorgie *Ancient Christian Spirituality (AD 100-600) - Christopher A. Hall *Music and the Arts - Stephen R. Guthrie
Part two (Dictionary Entries) has nearly seven hundred shorter length articles on historical Christian movements, biographical profiles, and many other concepts and topics important to the study of Christian spirituality. One especially important feature of the entries and articles found in both parts one and two of the book is that each of them closes with a list of resources for further reading, which is always helpful for those topics you intend to explore further.
I would heartily recommend this volume for pastors, ministry leaders, and academics as well as the non-specialist who will benefit from this sort of resource in their home. For instance, I shared this volume with my wife and she is excited about the potential use of the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality in her preparation for homeschooling lessons. She was particularly pleased with the biographical profiles found in part two. All things considered, the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality is a great resource to add to your collection of reference works and with a list price of $39.99 (currently selling for $25.99 on Amazon), it is an extremely good value when compared to the cost of reference works of similar size.
General Editor Information: Glen G. Scorgie (Ph.D., St. Andrews) is professor of theology at Bethel Seminary San Diego since 1996. Previously he was academic vice-president of North American Baptist College in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is a past president of the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association. For the past decade he has also been involved in the ministries of Chinese Bible Church of San Diego, and lectures regularly in Asia. His writings include A Little Guide to Christian Spirituality: Three Dimensions of Life with God (Zondervan, 2007).
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Zondervan for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
This resource is unique because it defines elements of Christian Spirituality. This dictionary looks at all sides of Christian spirituality even though I felt it was not complete in some areas as others. It does look at Reformed theology as well as Pentecostal and speaks of their differences.
There were some key figures from Christianity's past that were mentioned in this dictionary such as John Calvin and Martin Luther. There were some contemporary figures of Christianity mentioned but some were left out. I can understand putting Eugene Peterson in the dictionary because of his work in his paraphrase of the Bible called, The Message, but why did they leave out John Piper, who obviously has influenced a lot of people over the years.
As I said, there were some things in this dictionary that were left out, but overall a great resource to have for any pastor and Bible teacher.
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Review 4 for Dictionary of Christian Spirituality
Not just for reference shelf
Date:October 10, 2011
Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, just released by Zondervan, is another wonderful addition to their growing line of reference works. General Editor, Glen G. Scorgie of Bethel Seminary San Diego, along with Consulting Editors Simon Chan, Gordon T. Smith, and James D. Smith pulled together over 200 contributors which include most of the top names in the field of Christian spirituality/spiritual formation.
Upon hearing dictionary, individuals usually think of an A to Z list of terms and subjects. Dictionary of Christian Spirituality includes this and so much more. Upon first opening this volume, readers will find the first 240 pages of the book actually consist of 34 chapters which introduces major concepts and provides a brief historical introduction and insights into the future growth of this field. Each chapter in this section titled “Integrative Practice” is written by experts in the field and includes through works cited and further reading suggestions. This section would lend nicely to being used as a textbook for an introduction to Christian Spirituality class.
The remainder of the 850+ page volume contains standard entries on every topic one can think of concerning Christian spirituality and many more. Topics include not only historical and current spiritual masters, spiritual disciplines, and a variety of theological concepts but also a variety of topics related to the fields of Christian counseling. Careful attention has been made to include a broad cross-section of topics from around the globe and from many theological streams. Each entry is a minimum of one column long with several extending to several pages in length. Each entry is signed and most include suggestions for further reading. Extensive see also suggestions are included to assist readers in making the most of this book.
The combination of the typical dictionary entries and the integrative practice section makes this volume useful for a variety of contexts. As indicated previously, this volume would be highly useful as a textbook. However, unlike many textbooks, at the end of the course this volume would continue to be valuable as a reference tool. Users will find themselves reaching for this volume repeatedly as a companion when reading other works or preparing lessons and sermons. Dictionary of Christian Spirituality is highly recommended as a inter-disciplinary work which will be useful to anyone who is serious about becoming more like Christ.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Zondervan (via Koinonia blog) for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.