23.9.14

"Called To Be Saints" by Gordon T. Smith



Smith, Gordon. Called to Be Saints: An Invitation to Christian Maturity. Intervarsity Press, 2014.

It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.
-       Col. 1:28-29

That we may present everyone mature in Christ. Is this the end we strive towards, personally? Is it what we wish and pray for those around us? Is it what our churches are about? Smith wants us to say “yes.” Not only that, he is concerned that we know understand the content of the Christian Maturity for which we strive. And so he has written this book.

Though not exhaustive in his vision, Smith argues that maturity in Christ is founded in, begins with, and is all about union with Christ. From there maturity has four marks: Wisdom, Good Work, Love, and Joy. Naturally he means something specific by each of these. Wisdom is living and walking in the truth and light. Within this we are called to do good work and maturity means we are living out God’s call for us in our vocation. Love is the deep love and radical hospitality of Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 13. Finally, Joy is the attitude which comes from union with Christ and the maturity that this develops in us over time.

I thought this book was great. It asks a very good set of questions (what is the life we are called to? How do we grow into it? How do fellowship, worship, teaching, prayer, spiritual direction, the church, and more play a part in this journey?) and he offers excellent answers. By the very nature of the subject this book is a beginning; no book can replace the journey of growing into maturity. Instead, we are given a vision, a set of means, and an invitation to take that journey.

I will say that some of the things he lays out as means are not as fleshed out as I would have liked them to be (issues around communion, for example, or prayer), but you have to stop at some point. Within this, a saving grace is the sparse but highly useful reference notes which will lead you to valuable further reading.

Conclusion: 4.5 Stars. Highly Recommended. 

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