A Review Of Richard J. Foster’s “Celebration Of Discipline: The Path To Spiritual Growth”, Part 2 -- By: Brad Doskocil

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 32:63 (Autumn 2019)
Article: A Review Of Richard J. Foster’s “Celebration Of Discipline: The Path To Spiritual Growth”, Part 2
Author: Brad Doskocil

A Review Of Richard J. Foster’s “Celebration Of Discipline: The Path To Spiritual Growth”, Part 2

Brad Doskocil

GES Board

I. Introduction

In the previous edition of the JOTGES, I began a review of Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth.1

In that article I covered the first eight chapters of the book. It was concluded that in those chapters, which deal with various spiritual disciplines, Foster has an unbiblical emphasis on mystical experiences. He does not simply rely on the Word of God to transform the believer through the Holy Spirit.

In this article, I will review the remaining chapters in the book. Each section will deal with the chapter titles of the book; every chapter discusses a specific discipline.2

II. Service

This chapter begins with a description of Jesus’ twelve disciples arguing over who was the greatest among them. At Jesus’ last Passover, He teaches them once again about greatness. Jesus washes their feet and tells them to follow His example (John 13:14–15). Jesus once again demonstrates that greatness is about service, self-denial, and humility. Foster here has made a good observation. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke each present greatness in Jesus’ kingdom in light of these qualities.

Foster says that “the discipline of service…abolishes our need (and desire) for a ‘pecking order (p. 127).’” He then quotes Matt 20:25–26 in which Jesus tells His disciples:

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet, it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant (p. 127).

Foster observes that Jesus completely rejected the idea of how the world defines greatness (p. 127).

It is commendable that Foster here derives his points from the Bible instead of devotional masters or mystics of past ages. By treating service as a discipline, he once again takes a learn-by-doing approach. He hopes that by practicing service, adherents will become servants. Unfortunately, he does not mention eternal rewards for service. Jesus frequently taught eternal rewards and greatness in His kingdom as the benefit of serving Him in a self-sacrificial manner with humility.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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