In this classic work of spiritual theology, historian Richard Lovelace presents a history of spiritual renewals in light of biblical models. Drawing from the best of different Protestant traditions, Dynamics of Spiritual Life lays out a comprehensive approach to the renewal of the church. In the first half of the book, Lovelace surveys awakening movements since the Reformation, particularly emphasizing Jonathan Edwards’s theology of renewal. He then goes deeper into specific elements of such movements and their significance for both doctrinal reformation and spiritual renewal. Lovelace examines such practical issues as renewal of the local congregation, ways revivals go wrong, prospects for closing the “sanctification gap,” the historical role of evangelical movements in promoting both unity and division, and Christian approaches to the arts. With scholarly and pastoral insight, he offers a powerful vision of renewal that can unify various models across traditions, combining individual and corporate spirituality, social activism, and evangelism. For over forty years, this well-loved book has helped Christians understand the spiritual movement they are a part of and guided leaders in planting and pastoring churches. This expanded edition features a new foreword.
Richard Lovelace’s Dynamics of Spiritual Life was a rare kind of book when it was first published in 1979—biblically balanced, theologically sober, historically well informed, and pastorally inspiring. Since the need for such a book is now even greater, its re-publication is a godsend. In our age so fixated on stones that cannot satisfy, Lovelace points us to the Bread of Heaven.
—Mark Noll, research professor of history at Regent College, coeditor of Evangelicals: Who They Have Been, Are Now, and Could Be
To say that my time studying with Richard Lovelace was seminal to my thinking and way of doing ministry is an understatement. Anyone who knows my ministry and reads this book will say, ‘So that’s where Keller got all this stuff!’ Dynamics of Spiritual Life is still one of my top recommended resources for pastors and lay leaders to study so they can more effectively foster gospel renewal. . . . . I’m glad this book is appearing in a new edition, continuing to equip readers who long for renewal in their churches, their communities, and their lives.
—From the foreword by Timothy Keller
Disciples of Jesus Christ who know the cost of discipleship, heirs of grace who treasure its costly gifts, and men and women of taste and scholarship and civil impulse have good reason for wishing the author luck. No, put that not ‘luck’ but ‘steadfastness’ and ‘grace.’
—Martin E. Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity, University of Chicago