by Robert M Solomon
Genesis Books, 2019, 234 pp
This thin volume, written by an ex-bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore and former Principal of Trinity Theological College, explores spiritual formation. According to the blurb at the back of the book, “Spiritual formation is the process whereby Christ is formed in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, thus fulfilling God’s purpose in us.” Essentially this is a book on spiritual growth. It is for Christians who seek to understand spiritual formation and how to cooperate with God in the process. Particularly, it explores and identifies issues in the process of spiritual growth of a Christian.
In the preface, Bishop Emeritus Dr Solomon describes two kinds of Christians who fail to grow in Christ as follows;
The first group has a limited understanding of the purposes of God and they limit their Christian experience to their conversion experience. They understand that being born again is essential but they stop there for various reasons and do not go onto spiritual growth.
The second group know the importance of spiritual growth but give up when they encounter difficulties. Their knowledge and experience of God’s purposes and depth of their relationship with God is limited to the extent of the difficulties they have in their spiritual growth journey.
In my experience there are many of such Christians we meet at church.
Like many other books by Solomon, the chapters are succinct (there are 37 chapters with a preface and an epilogue in a book of just 237 pages), and easy to read. There are helpful reflection questions at the end of every chapter that make the book useful for self-study or discussion with others in a book discussion group. The topics are practical and the author’s insights thought-provoking. What I found most useful were the author’s insights in the chapters on temperament, habits, family scripts (history and background) and their interaction with the process of spiritual formation through the power of the Holy Spirit. The final section on spiritual disciplines (which the author views as a form of training in godliness – 1 Tim 4.7, 8) is useful and interesting reading for those who truly wish to grow spiritually.
I enjoyed this easy-to-read book and having finished it last year; am using it in a book discussion group to reinforce what I have learnt!
Reviewed by Liu Hern Kuan
Treasure Trove Team Leader