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Foster's Celebration of Discipline

1. Foster's Celebration of Discipline (1998) consists of an introductory chapter and one chapter on each of the four Inward, Outward, and Corporate Spiritual Disciplines. Each chapter is summarized here.

The Spiritual Disciplines are the means of bypassing the superficiality of the age and moving into the depths of the spiritual realm. They are not, as is often suspected, intended only for the use of "spiritual giants," but for all humanity (p. 1). There are, however, two difficulties that often bar people's way to the disciplines. The first is the prevailing materialism of the age that has instilled in so many people very serious doubts about their ability to reach beyond the material world to the spiritual. The second is a practical difficulty: ignorance of "how to go about exploring the inward life" (p. 3). Thus Foster provides information on the mechanics of performing the twelve disciplines--but cautions that mere technical knowledge is insufficient and the proper "inner attitude of the heart is far more crucial" (p. 3).

Foster explains that we have grown to think of sin primarily as the individual act of disobedience to God, but warns that the ingrained habits of the heart and of belief and behavior are also very significant and the purpose of the disciplines is to achieve communion with God as a means of rooting out these enslaving habits. The ordinary approach to the individual sin is the exercise of willpower against it. But these isolated efforts most frequently fail because they are not the result of fundamental change in the individual. The spiritual disciplines, however, open the way to receiving the gift of inner righteousness--a point that is stressed by Paul who promised that "the free gift of righteousness [shall] reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ" (Rom. 4:17). Without this gift our efforts usually end in moral bankruptcy and it is the use of the spiritual disciplines that allow us to esc...

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Foster's Celebration of Discipline. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 10:41, October 24, 2014, from http://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1712832.html