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Becoming Whole and Holy

An Integrative Conversation about Christian Formation

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"Three authors have come together to remind us what true conversation is all about. Becoming Whole and Holy is an interdisciplinary, integrative dialogue. . . . A tremendous read, one which could be included in any curriculum dealing with formation or integration."--Amy Shane, Themelios

How does Christian formation happen and what are its moral implications? This text brings into conversation three disciplines that are crucial for Christian formation--social science, biblical studies/hermeneutics, and ethics--to present a cohesive, dynamic vision of human wholeness and spiritual holiness. Drawing upon research in these three disciplines, the authors weave together insights from their respective fields to address the relationship between personal and communal formation, moral development, and the interpretation of Scripture. Becoming Whole and Holy reveals the process as well as the fruits of interdisciplinary dialogue, offering a fresh approach to understanding human formation. The final chapter, a case study on immigration, demonstrates the authors' integrative method. The book will be of use in spiritual formation, pastoral counseling, ethics, and hermeneutics courses and it will also be of interest to pastors, lay leaders, and counselors.

Prologue: Introducing Ourselves
1. Location: Our Selves, Our Disciplines, Our Process
2. Being and Becoming: A Journey Toward Love (Carla)
3. Wholeness and Holiness: Selves in Community with God and Others (Carla)
4. Reception and Integration of Offerings from Social Science
5. Being and Becoming: The Scriptural Story of Formation (Jeannine)
6. Wholeness and Holiness: Toward Communal Fullness of Life (Jeannine)
7. Reception and Integration of Offerings from Hermeneutics
8. Being and Becoming: The Trinity and Our Formation (Wyndy)
9. Wholeness and Holiness: Christian Moral Formation (Wyndy)
10. Reception and Integration of Offerings from Ethics
11. Interface: An Integrative Conversation around Immigration
Epilogue: Our Experiences of Integration


"Becoming fully human before God and within the world cannot be a solitary pilgrimage. It should be a journey taken in community, a sharing among friends who together seek to know themselves and their Lord better and to minister more faithfully. In this book, a biblical scholar, a social scientist, and an ethicist sharpen one another's appreciation of this need for constructive interdependence and integration. Pull up a chair and listen to this quality conversation."--M. Daniel Carroll R., distinguished professor of Old Testament, Denver Seminary; author, Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible

"This is not just a book about Christian formation. In a surprising way, it also traces the paths of becoming whole and holy as its authors model their own growth in their interactions with one another. The process of offering and receiving guidance, the sculpting of practical wisdom, and the integrative journey itself are laid bare for all to see--and to follow. Here is a conversation worth joining!"--Joel B. Green, professor of New Testament interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Becoming Whole and Holy is a compelling integrative conversation about spiritual formation that weaves together themes from theology and the social sciences in a very helpful way. This remarkably broad and balanced book offers real wisdom about both the end of spiritual formation and the means of getting there."--James C. Wilhoit, Scripture Press Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry, Wheaton College; author, Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered

"In rare but true interdisciplinary fashion, Brown, Dahl, and Reuschling probe the relationship of wholeness and holiness. Drawing on their respective specialties in biblical hermeneutics, the social sciences, and ethics, the authors convincingly demonstrate with freshness and clarity that wholeness and holiness are linked, and that the path to them is a joyful but precarious journey. Becoming Whole and Holy is personally convicting, but will be a rich resource for a wide variety of disciplines in academic settings. Above all, the church needs its prophetic message."--Dennis P. Hollinger, president and Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"This book is essential reading for students, pastors, and scholars who care about the pursuit of an authentically Christian life. The authors demonstrate clearly that such an all-encompassing and complex topic as Christian formation can be illumined in fresh ways by charitable conversation between academic disciplines. Their shared passion for God, Scripture, and ministry, expressed through distinct yet complementary realms of academic expertise, shapes a rich, dialogical exploration of God's chief purposes for human beings. The result is a splendid example of eminently practical theology that strengthens the church's mission to make disciples."--Jeffrey P. Greenman, executive vice president, academic dean, and associate professor of theology and ethics, Regent College

"Becoming Whole and Holy is important not just in its content but in the unique, collaborative way in which it was composed. Three scholars who are also friends have created a new way of working at the intersections of their disciplines to offer immensely rich reflections on the process of spiritual formation. Readers will benefit both from the cutting-edge insights into human wholeness and holiness and from watching the collaboration toward this goal unfold in the pages of the book. I highly recommend this work."--David P. Gushee, distinguished university professor of Christian ethics, Mercer University

"What an amazing model of interdisciplinary conversation these three scholars offer in a fresh and fertile approach to becoming whole and holy. A deep and authentic understanding emerges through their collaborative, relational, and integrative process. This multidisciplinary model, based on Trinitarian theology, demonstrates the richness of this particular kind of integration. I highly recommend this book to those who are serious about being formed in God's image."--Judith K. Balswick, senior professor of marriage and family, School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary

The Authors

  1. Jeannine K. Brown

    Jeannine K. Brown

    Jeannine K. Brown (PhD, Luther Seminary) is the David Price Professor of Biblical and Theological Foundations at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is the author of Scripture as Communication, The Gospels as Stories, two...

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  2. Carla M. Dahl

    Carla M. Dahl

    Carla M. Dahl (PhD, University of Minnesota) is professor of congregational and community care leadership at Luther Seminary. She has written for the Journal of Psychology and Theology and contributed to several books, including Leading from...

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  3. Wyndy Corbin Reuschling

    Wyndy Corbin Reuschling

    Wyndy Corbin Reuschling (PhD, Drew University) is professor of ethics and theology at Ashland Theological Seminary. She is the author of Reviving Evangelical Ethics: The Promises and Pitfalls of Classic Models of Morality and has written for...

    Continue reading about Wyndy Corbin Reuschling


"As I was reading this book, it struck me that the respect, generosity, appreciation, and a willingness to learn and grow together is what scholarly interaction should be like at conferences, but rarely ever is. . . . I think seminary faculties as a whole would benefit from coming together and reading this book together--demonstrating community and friendship, a common-cause as professors of formation (all of us!), and a spirit of collegiality in trying to learn from each other's disciplines. If there is one context in which inter-disciplinary interaction is fundamental, it is the theological seminary."--Nijay Gupta,

"A scholarly, college-level discussion about the relationship between wholeness and holiness. . . . From language and content in discerning the purpose of God to visions of becoming, this packs in important keys to biblical understanding."--Midwest Book Review

"Three authors have come together to remind us what true conversation is all about. Becoming Whole and Holy is an interdisciplinary, integrative dialogue, the joint work of colleagues who seek to understand the role of human formation in each of their own disciplines (hermeneutics, social science, and ethics) as well as how formation's interactions in one discipline informs its role in the other disciplines. . . . As the conversation progresses, each respectfully interacts with the others' perspectives, allowing themselves to be shaped by the others' views. The conversation is enlightening in many respects for the reader, not only in the topic discussed but also in their modeling the process of an integrative conversation. This book is a tremendous read, one which could be included in any curriculum dealing with formation or integration."--Amy Shane, Themelios

"In a world where specialization still reigns in academia, it is refreshing to see these three scholars attempt a genuinely interdisciplinary look at one of life's most important topics. Their analysis will likely encourage readers to take a more robust look at human wholeness and holiness. Those who serve in the fields of higher education, spiritual direction, pastoral counseling, general spiritual formation, ethics, and hermeneutics will find a great deal to consider by reading this book. . . . Every chapter of Becoming Whole and Holy contains valuable insights."--Jeff and Angela Wisdom, Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care

"The authors engage in significant dialogue, sharpening one another's perspectives on formation while providing a robust model for engaging in an interdisciplinary dialogue. . . . Becoming Whole and Holy puts forth a constructive paradigm for engaging in thoughtful and critical conversation regarding the nature of Christian formation. . . . Becoming Whole and Holy is a work that deserves closer attention from the evangelical Christian education community. This book . . . functions well as a textbook in courses related to Christian education, spiritual formation, counseling, and practical theology."--Benjamin D. Espinoza, Christian Education Journal