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Becoming More Human: Exploring the interface of Spirituality, Discipleship & Therapeutic Faith C

Author: Peter Holmes
Published By: Paternoster (Milton Keynes)
Pages: 300
Price: £16.99
ISBN: 1 84227 388 4

Reviewed by Jane Kustner.

Holmes presents a vision for the church based on his own spiritual journey, a real experience of building a vibrant worshiping community (Christ Church, Deal in Kent), and his frustration with what he perceives to be a lack of an effective theology of sanctifying change.

His argument is that the modern Church needs a concept of a transformative and therapeutic spiritual journey into Christ-likeness to meet the needs of the contemporary unchurched as well as to revitalise existing congregations.  He warns that “without restoring an authentic spirituality of the mystery of knowing Christ, we are in danger of becoming a secular church in a spiritual age”.

Holmes traces the gradual undermining of the individual’s spirituality from the simple home-based church of Acts, through the influence of Greek philosophy, Constantine and the Enlightenment.  These have created a church that is of no interest to modern humanity in their search for meaning and spirituality.

Holmes argues that the Hebrew model of humanity as being inseparable body and spirit is more helpful and more Trinitarian, making sense of the perichoresis of love in the Trinity lived out in the Body of Christ.

His therapeutic model for modern spirituality builds on a scriptural concept of God as healer with psychological therapies to provide a salugenic discipleship or wholeness in Christ.

The book is well researched and satisfyingly academic whilst still being easy to read.  The ideas put forward are provocative and strongly expressed; there may be churches that feel “hang on a minute - we have been doing this for years”.  If so, they should join the debate.  It is in the rediscovery of spiritual journey that the Church may regain relevance for a new generation searching for meaning in their own lives and in the transformation of communities.  

Jane Kustner

Curate at St John Waterloo

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You are reading Issue 39 of Ministry Today, published in March 2007.

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