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The Making of Evangelical Spirituality

What is this book about?

Many books have been written instructing Christians on how to hear the voice of God. This reflects the now mainstream notion within American evangelical Christianity that God speaks extra-biblically. But where did this idea come from? How did it come to be that hearing God speak outside of the Bible is the primary assumption of evangelical spirituality? Not endemic to Charismatics, this idea has become a denominationally veritable Tower of Babel, with Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and non-denominational all sitting at its common table. Since few Christians know the history of the spiritual expectations heaped upon them, the complex and multifaceted story is urgently in need of telling. This book is the story of those monks, hermits, reformers, heretics, politicians, outcasts, and preachers who gave shape to the esoterica of evangelical spirituality, spiritual chieftains who were often guided by uniquely ephemeral, social, and cultural forces struggling through life in the storm of worldly and cultural momentum.


What is mysterialism?

Flowing from the hallmark evangelical characteristic of Christians having a personal relationship with God is the desire to have an even more personally intimate experience of God. To that end, evangelicals often seek and cultivate experiences of God’s realness and presence by searching for the fresh voice of God outside of the Bible. Such longings are not novel in church history. But they were once isolated to monasteries, enthusiasts, and esoterics. Now the desire is mainstream and common, making up a part of popular evangelical spirituality. The culture of mysterialism is interested in hearing from God, not necessarily or exclusively via the Bible, but from God speaking in a mysterious (thus mysterialism) alchemy of events, uncanny coincidences, unexplained dreams, and/or still quiet thoughts.


Who might find this book interesting?

The target audience in this book is not professional Christians. But neither is it a book that makes immature and “worldly Christians” the standard. If the layman is forced to strain up, the professional theologian may be forced to kneel. Whether straining or kneeling, I’ve tried to write a book that intrigues each.

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