Developing Healthy Spiritual Growth
Star Rating: 3
Joel Beeke is a beacon of light in the troubled waters of contemporary Reformed evangelicalism. He is a gospel man, willing to serve Christ by preaching, whether to a small black congregation in Hackney or to large conferences in the UK and US. He is welcomed at ‘New Calvinist’ gatherings and at the Metropolitan Tabernacle School of Theology.
Fifty years ago, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones similarly reached out across the denominations, seeking to promote gospel unity. Yet few would realize that Dr Beeke is from a strict Dutch-American background. In addition, the Lord has led him through many sadnesses, which have enabled him to draw alongside suffering Christians.
This is a slim volume and the title hits the spot in terms of the needs of the average Christian. However, the contents were not what I was expecting. It comprises three addresses given to a Reformed ministers’ conference in Canada and careful application is made to their particular needs.
Of course the needs of ‘ordinary’ Christians are covered (e.g. pp. 66-87, on growing through private devotions, family, corporate and neighbourly disciplines; and pp. 101-104, 118-121, on spiritual growth in experience), but it is a bit like eavesdropping on a private conversation.
The book is neither a straight exposition of a biblical text nor a classic systematic theological approach, but it contains a wealth of biblical teaching and pastoral advice, demonstrating that a deep knowledge of Christ and the gospel are crucial for sanctification as well as salvation.
The quotations from the 16th and 17th centuries are so numerous that it comes as a bit of a shock when a pizza and a blog are mentioned! To sum up, this is a good book from a fine author, with valuable lessons to be gleaned about walking in Christ.