Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 01:1 (Winter 1992)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Renewal as a Way of Life. Richard Lovelace, Inter-Varsity Press (1985), 206 pages, paperback, $7.95

In 1979 Inter Varsity Press issued Richard Lovelace’s large book Dynamics of Spiritual Life. Renewal as a Way of Life was released six years later, partly in response to requests for a shorter version of the larger volume, and partly to incorporate the author’s more recent reflections upon the dynamics of personal and corporate spiritual growth.

Lovelace, professor of church history at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, organizes Renewal into three sections. The first, “The Normal Spiritual Life,” describes the God-centered life and the kingdom-centered life. Drawing upon the writings and experiences of Augustine and Jonathan Edwards, Lovelace shows that the preconditions of renewal are an awareness of God’s holiness and an awareness of the depth of sin. The cost of renewal is not ignored. “Repentance...Is the most dynamic inrush of the kingdom within ordinary history. When we repent we enter the kingdom, and the kingdom enters into history in a little larger measure (Mark 9:47, Luke 18:16, John 3:3)” (pp. 47–48).

In the second section, “Dynamics of Spiritual Death,” the author shows that the Christian who seeks spiritual renewal must battle the world, the flesh and the devil. In the the third section, “The Dynamics of Spiritual Life,” Lovelace shows that in Christ, our Prophet, Priest and King, and Second Adam, reside all the dynamics of true spiritual life. He does not see God’s process of spiritual renewal completed in individual experience only. God’s purpose in renewing the individual and His church extends into missions, i.e., following Jesus into the world, presenting His gospel in proclamation and in social demonstration.

A paragraph from Lovelace’s preface lays the ground rules for his perspective. “Historically there are two ways of approaching Christian spirituality. One way, which might be called the ‘ascetic model,’ emphasizes the cultivation of faith through spiritual disciplines, especially forms of individual prayer and meditation, the broadcasting and receiving cycles of the soul. The other way, which I will call the ‘charismatic model,’ stresses that having the Holy Spirit in our lives is a pure gift of God in response to faith, which is another gift. Both models are valid and complementary to one another.” (p.10)

Although Lovelace neglects some of the helpful emphases of the Protestant Reformers in his counsel for both personal and ch...

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