Book Review: Living The Spirit-Formed Life

Living The Spirit-Formed Life:  Growing In The 10 Principles Of Spirit-Filled Discipleship, by Jack W. Hayward

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Chosen Press.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

As someone who views Hellenistic Christianity with a degree of bemused tolerance, books like this are greatly appreciative to me as someone who reads a fair amount on the workings of the Holy Spirit [1].  When people reject the biblical law and view it as “Judahizing” or legalism, there is a very serious problem when one looks at the need for holiness.  Those who are consistent with their antinnomian perspectives argue for a ragamuffinish sort of spirit where there is no connection between one’s state as a saved believer and any sort of holiness being present in one’s life.  For those who do, correctly, see a need for godly conduct as a part of one’s Christian walk, though, there is the problem of what sort of disciplines are most useful in helping a believer grow in godliness, and this book seeks to help its readers live godly lives where there is little knowledge or regard for the specific contents of the corpus of biblical law.  The advice is certainly solid, but the biblically-literate reader will recognize that something is missing.

In terms of its structure and contents, this book has a very straightforward organization.  After looking at the principles of being made a pillar that the life of Peter shows, the author discusses some fundamentals of the spirit-filled life.  He then provides ten principles that in his estimation help a believer live a godly life full of the Holy Spirit.  He begins with a commitment to hear God’s voice, especially through the reading of the Bible.  Then he encourages readers to live in the power of water baptism.  After this the author enjoins the reader to share in the Lord’s Supper, which in this book is divorced from the context of the Passover in which it was set biblically.  After that the author tells readers to live in a spirit of forgiveness, while the fifth discipline urges readers to feed on the word of God daily.  The sixth discipline tells readers to maintain integrity of heart, while the author next moves to talk about abiding in the fullness of the Spirit.  The closing three disciplines the author discusses are living a life of submission to God and of service to others, practicing solitude, and living as a worshiper whose life and behavior is praise to God.  After the author finishes talking about these principles he gives a short epilogue of encouragement and tells how he thinks that readers can receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  All of this takes, in the e-book I read, about 125 pages including a lot of quotes from various mostly Hellenistic Christians over time.

In reviewing this book, I have a great deal of mixed feelings.  Indeed, there are aspects of this book that I would expand upon as a writer.  For example, the author’s discussion of surrender and living a life of obedience is surely good, but deeply incomplete, in that it ignores what sort of laws and what sort of standard that believers are to obey.  In reading books like this, that is the fundamental question that I have over and over again as a reader.  There are scriptures to support the disciplines the writer discusses, and they are worthwhile practices to follow, but these disciplines are not really at the heart and core of what it means to love God with all one’s heart and all one’s being and all one’s strength and to love one’s neighbor as oneself.  It does not fully answer the biblical demands for Sabbath fellowship as well as observance of God’s commanded assemblies or the sort of fellowship and love and relationships that we are to have with other believers.  This book tries very hard to give individual Christians advice on how to live a godly atomistic life, but it falls short because it lacks the vision of God’s family as well as an understanding of God’s laws and their present applicability to believers.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity, Church of God. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Book Review: Living The Spirit-Formed Life

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Wonderful Spirit-Filed Life | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: The Spiritual Gifts Handbook | Edge Induced Cohesion

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