True Devotion: In Search of Authentic Spirituality
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About "True Devotion: In Search of Authentic Spirituality"
This book is about how God's Word shapes and rules our devotion to him. What is the best way of talking about this? 'Spirituality' is what many people call it, but this is not the ideal word. It can mean a great many things, some of them very far removed from anything the Bible teaches. 'Piety' is another possibility, but this is sometimes used in a rather negative way. Preferable is 'Devotion'. When we speak of a couple being 'devoted' to each other, we mean that their relationship is strong, loyal, and loving - which is how we should relate to God. All three words are used in this book. In each case it is talking about how we relate to God, that is, how we express and exercise personal relationship with him. The aim is to examine what the Bible teaches about knowing God and living with him. Why 'True Devotion'? For two reasons: we must be truly devoted to God - our relationship with him must be real and deep; and we must be devoted to him truly - our devotion must be grounded in and governed by the truth, by the teaching of the Bible. This book draws on both the Scriptures and the writings of Christians of the past. Part 1 unpacks 'Gospel Spirituality' as responsive, paradoxical and relational; Part 2 critiques 'The Mystical Way', discussing experience of God and his voice, prayer, the inward journey and the testimony of mystics and reformers. Part 3 looks for 'The Way Ahead', focussing on meditation and concluding with a call to a Christ-centred, responsive spirituality. ALLAN CHAPPLE is senior lecturer in New Testament at Trinity Theological College, Perth WA. He has pastored churches in Western Australia and England, and was founding Director of the Perth Centre for Applied Christian Studies, then founding Principal of Trinity Theological College.
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This book is a great read. Chapple unpacks what authentic spirituality looks like convincinly. He gives good practical ways for practicing true devotion.
The topic of spirituality and spiritual disciplines is one that many Christians have (rightly) been deeply interested over the last few decades. In the plethora of books written on the subject, however, many are based merely on personal anecdotes and strange mystical ideas without any serious grounding in the Bible. What makes 'True Devotion' such an important book on this topic is that it is thoroughly Bible-based and gospel-centred, looking at what the Bible really says about how we express devotion to God and grow in godliness. The second section of the book very helpfully engages with some of the mystical ideas such as 'prayer as dialogue' and examines them in light of the Bible. The final section of the book sets forward meditation as a way forward for Christians desiring to grow more intimately with God. Christian meditation on God's Word (properly understood, and quite different from Eastern meditation) is a lost treasure for many today, and Chapple writes some great stuff on this. A must-read!