Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Review: A Call to Spiritual Reformation

I recently read A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers by D.A. Carson, which was recommended to me by a few people. I really can’t say enough good things about this book. I probably underlined half of the book and put stars by much of what I underlined. It has quickly catapulted itself into one my top 5 books of all time.

In the introduction, Carson asks the question, “What is the most urgent need in the church of the Western world today?” Is it purity? Is it integrity and generosity in the financial arena? Is it more evangelism and church planting? Is it disciplined, biblical thinking? Clearly, all of those things are important. However, Carson proposes that all of those things are merely symptomatic of a far more serious lack. He concludes:

The one thing we most urgently need in Western Christendom is a deeper knowledge of God. We need to know God better.

In the biblical view of things, a deeper knowledge of God brings with it massive improvement in the other areas mentioned: purity, integrity, evangelistic effectiveness, better study of Scripture, improved private and corporate worship, and much more. But if we seek those things without passionately desiring a deeper knowledge of God, we are selfishly running after God’s blessings without running after Him.

So how do we run after God?

One of the foundational steps in knowing God, and one of the basic demonstrations that we do know God, is prayer – spiritual, persistent, biblically minded prayer.

With that in mind, Carson sets out to examine the prayers of Paul in order to help us to learn to pray more biblically. He starts by looking at Paul’s mindset when he prays. That is, Paul prays with our eternal destiny uppermost in his mind. If we pray that way, what kind of things will we pray for? Who will we pray for?

This book is filled with Scripture, encouragement, and practical advice. Rather than try to explain everything I love about this book in one post, I am going to post quotes from it in the coming weeks (or months?). I think that will not only help you to see why I loved it so much, but also serve to keep the material fresh in my mind.

THE VERDICT: Highly Recommended

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