Some evangelicals perceive monasticism as a relic from the past, a retreat from the world, or a shirking of the call to the Great Commission. At the same time, contemporary evangelical spirituality desires historical Christian manifestations of the faith. In this accessibly written book Greg Peters, an expert in monastic studies who is a Benedictine oblate and spiritual director, offers a historical survey of monasticism from its origins to current manifestations. Peters recovers the riches of the monastic tradition for contemporary spiritual formation and devotional practice, explaining why the monastic impulse is a valid and necessary manifestation of the Christian faith for today's church.
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"I have never met a Protestant theologian--evangelical or mainline--who speaks about monastics with as much competence and ease as Greg Peters. This book presents a well-documented, interesting, and enjoyable summary of the Christian monastic way of life and also describes the personal journey of a young Baptist-turned-Anglican minister following Christ's footsteps back to the apostolic church. It is an exceptional book and will be an eye-opener for both Protestants and Catholics, laity and clergy alike."
--Fr. Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy, University of Dallas; abbot emeritus of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas
"This book accomplishes what it promises: to narrate the history of monasticism for those who are new to the topic and for those who already know something about it. Greg's writing is succinct without compromising thoroughness in a well-researched text that will be as useful for the classroom as it will be for the interested individual."
--Dennis Okholm, author of Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins: Learning from the Psychology of Ancient Monks
"Greg Peters sets out to convince his readers that the church has always had and has always needed a monastic witness. He begins by making the case that Christians have long seen the monastery--in all its various forms--as an essential element of our life, ministry, and witness. He then gently asks where this necessary countercultural witness is in our world today. Carefully researched, balanced, and irenic, this book seeks to affect the way we do church by uncovering resources from those who lived in intentional Christian communities."
--James Wilhoit, Wheaton College
"Greg Peters has provided the evangelical community an invaluable service by laying before us a banquet of insight into the monastic impulse--the love for God, the desire for community, the draw toward a rule of life. Regardless of one's judgment of the value of various monastic movements and individuals, the reader cannot help but appreciate and learn from God's movement among these believers throughout church history."
--John Coe, Institute for Spiritual Formation, Talbot School of Theology and Rosemead School of Psychology
Greg Peters (PhD, University of St. Michael's College, Toronto) is associate professor of medieval and spiritual theology in the Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University, in La Mirada, California. He is also visiting professor of monastic studies at St. John's School of Theology in Minnesota and adjunct professor at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin.
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