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A Guide to Christian Spiritual Formation

How Scripture, Spirit, Community, and Mission Shape Our Souls

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Grounded in careful biblical scholarship, this volume provides a holistic, accessible, and informed introduction to Christian spiritual formation, written from a broadly evangelical perspective. Evan Howard, a noted authority on Christian spirituality, joins Scripture with themes of community, spirit, formation, and mission in a single integrative guide. A Guide to Christian Spiritual Formation includes helpful features such as figures, charts, chapter overviews, and formation-focused questions. Its evangelical-ecumenical and global perspectives will appeal to a wide audience.

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Part One: The Basics
1. Christian Spiritual Formation
2. The Story of Christian Spiritual Formation
Part Two: The Elements
3. The Fullness and Aims of Christian Spiritual Formation
4. The Contexts and Agents of Christian Spiritual Formation
5. The Process of Transformation and the Task of Formation
6. The Means of Christian Spiritual Formation
Part Three: The Practice
7. Formed into Prayer
8. Formed Together
9. Formed in Thinking, Feeling, and Acting
10. Formed into Mission
11. Discerning Formation
Part Four: The Ministry
12. The Ministry of Christian Spiritual Formation
Epilogue: My Personal History of Spiritual Formation


"The contemporary spiritual formation movement has been with us for forty years, and here we have its rich and mature fruit. The book is grounded in a solid ecumenical evangelicalism that draws deeply from historic and time-tested patterns of formation, yet is well informed by wise, current patterns and insights from the social sciences. Readers will find a comprehensive, inviting, and practical guide to spiritual formation."

James C. Wilhoit, professor of core studies and Scripture Press Chair of Christian Formation and Ministry, Wheaton College; author of Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered

"Evan Howard has provided a concise 'systematic theology' of Christian spiritual formation in which the personal, corporate, and missional dimensions of the Christian life are closely interwoven. There are few works, if any, that match it in conciseness, practicality, and theological integrity. I highly recommend it as a course textbook."

Simon Chan, Trinity Theological College, Singapore; author of Spiritual Theology: A Systematic Study of the Christian Life

"An important introductory resource in spiritual formation for persons who are new to the field. Best of all, it is written by a seasoned veteran who practices the disciplines about which he writes."

Elaine A. Heath, dean, Duke Divinity School; author of The Mystic Way of Evangelism

"Evan Howard writes, 'Spiritual formation matters.' It matters, indeed, for relationships shape us, especially the profound and mysterious relationship we each have with the One who made us, who knows our hearts, and who offers us life. But spiritual formation also involves church history, theology, spirituality, and missional community--about all of which Howard is a trustworthy teacher. In this welcome new book, he sheds the light of his keen and enthusiastic intelligence on the fullness of Christian spirituality. What joy to find the wisdom of Evan Howard's long vocation distilled into such a readable and helpful guide for us as we pray to Christ (in Richard the bishop of Chichester's thirteenth-century words) to 'know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day.'"

Susan S. Phillips, executive director and professor, New College Berkeley, Graduate Theological Union; author of The Cultivated Life: From Ceaseless Striving to Receiving Joy

The Author

  1. Evan B. Howard

    Evan B. Howard

    Evan B. Howard (PhD, Graduate Theological Union) is the founder and director of Spirituality Shoppe: An Evangelical Center for the Study of Christian Spirituality and affiliate associate professor of Christian spirituality at Fuller Theological Seminary. He...

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