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Embracing Contemplation: Reclaiming a Christian Spiritual Practice

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What does a Christian life lived “by the Spirit” look like?

For many Christians throughout history, fulfilling Paul’s command in Galatians 5:25 included a form of contemplation and prayer that leads to spiritual formation. But in large part, contemporary Christians—perhaps especially evangelicals—seem to have lost or forgotten about this treasure from their own tradition.

Bringing together scholars and practitioners of spiritual formation from across the Protestant spectrum, this volume offers a distinctly evangelical consideration of the benefits of contemplation. The contributors draw on historical examples from the church—including John Calvin, Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, and John Wesley—to consider how contemplative prayer can shape Christian living today. The result is a robust guide to embracing contemplation that will help Christians as they seek to keep in step with the Spirit.

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Explores a distinctively evangelical view of the Christian spiritual life
  • Covers topics including spiritual disciplines, piety, and sanctification
  • Encourages a deeper and more theologically robust conversation about contemplation


Part 1: Historical Inquiries

  • The Controversy Over Contemplation and Contemplative Prayer: An Historical, Theological, and Biblical Resolution—John H. Coe
  • Is Thoughtless Prayer Really Christian? A Biblical/Evangelical Response to Evagrius of Pontus—Evan B. Howard
  • Medieval Ressourcement—Greg Peters
  • Sabbatical Contemplation? Retrieving a Strand in Reformed Theology—Ashley Cocksworth
  • “To Gaze on the Beauty of the Lord”: The Evangelical Resistance and Retrieval of Contemplation—Tom Schwanda
  • Christian Contemplation and the Cross: The Pathway to Life—Diane Chandler

Part 2: Constructive Proposals

  • Biblical Spirituality and Contemplative Spirituality—Steven L. Porter
  • Contemplation by Son and Spirit: Reforming the Ascent of the Soul to God—Kyle C. Strobel
  • Gospel-Centered Contemplation? A Proposal—Ryan A. Brandt
  • The Beatific Vision: Contemplating Christ as the Future Present—Hans Boersma
  • Contemplative and Centering Prayer—James Wilhoit
  • Contemplative Prayer in the Evangelical and Pentecostal Traditions: A Comparative Study—Simon Chan
  • A Distinctively Christian Contemplation: A Comparison with Other Religions—Glen G. Scorgie
  • Conclusion: Recovering Contemplation—John H. Coe and Kyle C. Strobel


Praise for the Print Edition

I often get fairly nervous about the trendiness in contemporary spirituality. Therefore, I am pleased by this new volume which provides some needed context for the historic and contemporary discussion about contemplation in the Christian life. Evangelicals sometimes have strong opinions about contemplation—whether positive or negative. But sadly, those opinions are too often ignorant of historic Christian practices and relevant theological debates. Thankfully, this volume is aware of the promises and perils of contemplation and contemplative prayer; consequently, these authors can help inform our discussion and even our practices. You likely won’t agree with everything here, but you will learn and be challenged.

—Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theological studies, Covenant College, author, Embodied Hope

This is a rich collection of essays about the contemplative life. All serious Christians need this wonderful resource.

—James M. Houston, emeritus professor of spiritual theology, founding principal of Regent College, Vancouver, Canada

In popular Christian culture where contemplation often is dismissed as Buddhist or New Age, this collection of essays convincingly argues, biblically and historically, that Spirit initiated abiding in and communing with the divine presence powerfully enriches love for God. Here is an apologia for a core Christian habit that is crucial for the good of the soul and the church.

—Bruce Demarest, senior professor of Christian formation, Denver Seminary

Product Details

  • Title: Embracing Contemplation: Reclaiming a Christian Spiritual Practice
  • Editors: John H. Coe and Kyle C. Strobel
  • Publisher: IVP
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Pages: 304
  • Resource Type: Collected Essays
  • Topic: Spirituality

In the Logos edition, these volumes are enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

About the Editors

John H. Coe (PhD, University of California, Irvine) is director of the Institute for Spiritual Formation at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He is also professor of spiritual theology and philosophy at the Talbot School of Theology and Rosemead School of Psychology. He is the coauthor of Wildlife in the Kingdom Come and Psychology in the Spirit, and contributor to Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics and Psychology & Christianity.

Kyle C. Strobel (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is associate professor of spiritual theology and formation at the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, where he teaches in the Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is the author of several books, including Jonathan Edwards: An Introduction to His Thought, Jonathan Edwards’s Theology: A Reinterpretation, and Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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  1. Brayden Brookshier
    Incredibly important book for reviving this spiritual practice! Well written.

Enjoy January's Monthly Sale!


Digital list price: $34.99
Regular price: $20.99
Save $6.30 (30%)