Life With God | Richard Foster with Katheryn A. Helmers

I expected a lot from this book. Foster’s Celebration of Discipline (along with Lewis’ Mere Christianity) are the two most important books I’ve ever read. I’ve followed Foster for years now, reading everything he’s written. I’ve attended a fantastic Renovaré conference, and have even used Celebration for a small group study.

Nevertheless, it pains me to express my disappointment in this book. I should be more precise. I was angry when I finished this work. I felt like I spent $16.00 and a few hours that I can never get back. Almost everything in this book is paraphrased from his earlier works (including an almost chapter-length summary of his Streams of Living Water).

The last straw for me came while reading page 197:

Scripture identifies two kinds of life: bios, the physical, created life; and zoë, the spiritual, eternal life. Likewise, Scripture identifies two kinds of death: teleute, physical death; and thanatos, spiritual death. So it is entirely possible to be physically alive but spiritually dead.

The paragraph sounded familiar. Here it is from page ix of the “Word to the Reader”:

Scripture identifies two types of life: bios, the physical, created life; and zoë, the spiritual, eternal life. Likewise, there are two types of death: teleute, physical death; and thanatos, spiritual death. Thus, it is entirely possible for a person to be physically alive (bios) while being spiritually dead (thanatos).

I should be fair here. If you’ve never read anything by Richard Foster, this book is a solid introduction and summary of his thought. If you have read him before, save yourself some time and read the people he counts among his influences:

  • Augustine
  • Bonhoeffer
  • Brother Lawrence
  • Thomas Kelly
  • Frank Laubach
  • Tozer
  • Wollman

They’ll take you further. For me, I’m eagerly awaiting Foster’s next book. Here’s hoping . . .

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