Reformed Reflections

Beyond the Quiet Time. Practical Evangelical Spirituality by Alister McGrath.
Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Mich.1996. Softcover, lllpp

Alister McGrath, a leading theologian of the younger generation and prolific author, shows that the Christian faith can do more than survive in our modern Western culture hostile to the Christian .faith. It can even grow and flourish! McGrath observes that traditional devotional methods have become "tired and problematic." In response, he developed an approach to spirituality that affirms the centrality of Scripture in the Christian life. He explores fresh methods, which will lead to a spirituality firmly rooted in the evangelical Reformed traditions. It is not a book about the history, of spirituality but about doing spirituality. McGrath advocates withdrawing from the world on regular occasions to be alone with God so that one can return spiritually refreshed to it for further service.

In the introduction McGa.rth explores some issues about evangelical spirituality. The five study sessions focus on sin, salvation, living for Christ in this world, the difference between faith and belief and the problem of doubt, and in conclusion the glorious hope in Christ. The exercise or exercises are an important part o` each section. The "Study panels" are meant to provide additional information. For example, one gives a brief sketch of the life of Jonathan Edwards and another of John Calvin.

McGrath aims to help Christians to understand and appreciate the wonder of the Gospel, to strengthen their faith,and to interact with modern culture, and to become a more effective follower of the Lord. A great text for a short course on spirituality or for one's private study.

Johan D. Tangelder