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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: "Discipleship That Transforms"

TITLE: Discipleship That Transforms: An Introduction to Christian Education from a Wesleyan Holiness Perspective
EDITOR: John H. Aukerman
PUBLISHER: Anderson, Indiana: Warner Press, 2011.

This book is a teaching gem for Christian Education people. Touted as a book for Wesleyan students for a Wesleyan holiness perspective, it contains highly readable and educational information, techniques, practical helps for teaching discipleship. All the 14 contributors subscribe to 10 common faith affirmations. They are:

  1. High view of the authority of Scriptures.
  2. Faith in the Triune God, with specific reference to God the Holy Spirit as most active in our world today.
  3. Growing the people of God collectively
  4. Beyond cooperation toward unity of the Church.
  5. Belief in the Wesleyan quadrilateral: Reason, Experience, Tradition, and Scripture.
  6. Salvation and Sanctification as the gateway toward holiness in God.
  7. Prevenient Grace, where God stirs the hearts of people prior to them accepting God.
  8. Both human free will and cooperation with God
  9. Goal of CE and discipleship is CHRISTLIKENESS.
  10. Healthy balance of 'being' and 'doing' in spiritual walk.
The book is divided into three parts: Principles, Planning, and Practice. In Part One, ten chapters lay the foundation of what Christian Education means from a Wesleyan perspective. It touches on the historical, the theological, the Christological, the biblical, the cultural, the anthropological, the pedagogical, the missional approaches to Christian Education. 

In Part Two, the administrative, the curriculum, the Bible methods of study, the facilities, and many relevant topics pertaining to designing a holistic Education syllabus are described.

While the articles are generally written with practice in mind, Part Three expands on the practical side of CE. What is particularly useful is the forward looking perspective in the final two contributions by Jerry Hickson. In the first contribution, he calls for a recognition of the positive themes of the emerging movement, as well as the precautions needed. One particular phrase he makes about an emerging trend in education, strikes a chord:

"Dogma has given way to questioning." (363)
If this is true, perhaps the way forward is to embrace more questions rather than dishing out quick answers. 

In the second case, he makes a case for recognizing the changing trends and the need to adjust our curriculum appropriately.

My comments

This book is such a find for those interested in Christian Education, that it will be a shame if non-Wesleyan public miss out on this book. The large compendium of articles cover so many relevant parts of Scripture that I feel evangelicals in general will appreciate this book for its depth of insight and breadth of coverage of all topics pertaining to Christian Education. The many different contributors ensure that the book does not become too orientated to any one particular slant or opinion. Aukerman does a credible job of putting all together.

For an introductory text, this book is clear and explains itself well enough for the first year student of Christian Education. For more advanced readers, this book serves as a useful reference for teaching and for being reminded about Christianity and discipleship. For the general evangelical reader, there is no need to be worried about the 'Holiness movement' aspect of this book. It is fairly presented, and aims to present the basics of a Christian Education curriculum.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided free of charge courtesy of Warner Press and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All comments are freely mine.

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