Spiritual Disciplines For The
Donald S. Whitney, Navpress, 1991, 254 pp., $15.99.
Reviewed by Roger Ellsworth
Ours is the age of instant gratification
and the quick fix. Even Christians have succumbed to the spirit of the times. We want to
attain that state frequently referred to as "victorious Christian living" by
simply going to a retreat or walking down an aisle.
Don Whitney's book comes as a much needed corrective to this kind of thinking. It reminds us that Christianity is not easy, and if we expect to produce robust Christian character we must get back to what former generations of Christians knew and what we have all but forgotten--discipline.
In his forward, J.I. Packer warns us to prepare for a workout in Whitney's book. And a workout it is! After his opening chapter that tells us why spiritual disciplines are essential, the author takes us through a wide range of disciplines--Bible study, Bible memorization, prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning.
Each of these chapters features a comprehensive treatment of the biblical teaching on these subjects. Application if carefully made throughout the course of each chapter, but just to make sure he has the hook securely fastened in the reader's jaw, the author concludes each chapter with a very helpful section entitled "More Application."
Because we all have the tendency to start and not finish, Whitney concludes the workout with a chapter on perseverance in the disciplines.
The whole book is a delight to read. It is done in a warm-hearted, winsome fashion that makes us want to practice these disciplines--not out of legalistic obligation but out of love for Christ and out of the desire to be the very best we can be for His glory.
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