Item description for Thoughts on Religious Experience by Archibald Alexander & W. J. Grier...
Overview On the basis of fifty years as a pastor, preacher and professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, Archibald Alexander (1772-1851) deals with the subjective work of the Holy Spirit in the heart in all its phases, from the new birth until final preparation for heaven.
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Studio: Banner of Truth
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.32" Width: 5.4" Height: 1.09" Weight: 0.96 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 1998
Publisher Banner of Truth
ISBN 0851517579 ISBN13 9780851517575
Availability 1 units. Availability accurate as of Jan 20, 2017 03:17.
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More About Archibald Alexander & W. J. Grier
Archibald Alexander was born in 1772 and died in 1851.
Reviews - What do customers think about Thoughts on Religious Experience?
Full of wise insights Nov 3, 2006
Human nature and God's dynamic truth have not changed over time, so Archibald Alexander's pastoral insights from over 150 years ago are still relevant. The author recorded what he had observed in Christians, and his careful analysis of their experiences provides wise counsel for all those giving pastoral care today.
I was afraid that the writing style would make the book drag, but that fear was not realized. The chapters that record others' deathbed comments did prove to be long, but they constitute a relatively small part of the book.
I heartily recommend this book to all those going into or already involved in pastoral ministry. I wish that I had read it years ago.
Reflections on "Thoughts" Jun 6, 2006
When another pulpit-less pastor walking in and out of a month of Sundays, in blue jeans and a well-pressed tee, just doesn't answer the longings of the suburban youth, how does the Church respond? The abandoned children of Evangelical and Reformed traditions have cried out: Where is the worship that informs the emotional intelligence of human existence? The Emerging Church has answered; nor ought we to be surprised that such a movement--often marked by being centered on the Spirit and the spiritual and the spirit, with its propensity toward anti-intellectualism--is finding such prominence.
Yet, despite offers of emotional openness, many Christians remain spiritually ignorant on matters of conversion: What is spiritual rebirth and wherein lies the perpetual struggle with habitual sin? What--if anything--is "spiritually normative"? Can I understand spiritual depression? Moreover, can I be spiritually depressed and still be a believer? What does it mean to confess my sins openly, to be accepted, absent from the kindly discipline of Word, prayer, and brotherly accountability? These questions aren't rhetorical, as we each--by the Spirit of God--are led through both veils of greater understanding and valleys of the shadow of Death.
Such a wide berth of spiritual practicalities lies at the heart of Archibald Alexander's Thoughts on Religious Experience. "Faith," Alexander states, "is simply a belief of the truth, when viewed as distinct, and discriminated from all other mental acts" (83), and that though "[b]efore conversion, the soul is sordidly selfish...no sooner does this change take place, than the heart begins to be enlarged with a an expansive benevolence. The whole world is embraced in its charity..." (100). Unfolding by example and principle the primary faces of spiritual renewal, Alexander offers sweet encouragement to the believer and tender propositions for reflection for those uncertain people.
The dangers of the Evangelical and Reformed tradition is to become a deep well--unsearchable to its deepest mark--from which only one barrel of water is drawn at a time. The dangers of the Emerging Church are to become the wide, fast-flowing river whose depth is less than a foot. Searching both depth and breadth--ill embracing the particulars of form, style, or structure (worship or architecture)--Alexander reminds that "no phenomena now taking place in our world is half so important and worthy of consideration, as the repentance of a habitual sinner; so that he utterly forsakes his wicked courses, and takes delight in the worship of God and obedience to his will. Let it be remembered, that these are effects observed only where the gospel is preached... No series of miracles"--nor, might we add, any amount of emotional sincerity or theological knowledge--"could give stronger evidence of the divine origin and power of the gospel, than the actual and permanent reformation of wicked men" (74-75).
Alexander addresses youth and the elderly. He addresses the uncertain searcher of truths, the young believer, and the Christian in his final days. He warns of worldly dangers--"lawful pursuits are more frequently a snare than those which are manifestly sinful...the love of the world gradually gains ground. The possession of wealth is viewed as important. Worldly entanglements and embarrassments are experienced; the spiritual life is weakened. A sickly state commences, and a sad declension ensues" (159)--and he warns of theological pride--"[p]ersons may advance rapidly in other kinds of knowledge, and yet make no advance in piety; but the contrary. They may even have their minds filled with correct theoretical knowledge of divine truth; and yet its effect may not be to humble, but to `puff up'" (192).
And yet, springing from his sincerest warnings are a wealth-spring of constant assurance to the believer, reminding us that "[s]o far are right views of free grace from leading those who entertain them to indulge in indolence, or be careless about holy living, that they impart the only true cause of activity and diligence in the work of the Lord" (133). And, as if anticipating such as ourselves, he even ventures to state, "As one of God's methods of comforting and strengthening his mourning children is by good books, I will embrace this opportunity to recommend to those engaged in spiritual warfare" (188), which he does.
Even as I now recommend Thoughts on Religious Experience. For pursuant upon the deep wells of Gospel truth, flowing in great rivers of grace and comfort to a broken world--where often a church may offer one or the other--Alexander drives believers back to principles from spiritual rebirth to coming resurrection, in a journey of emotional intelligence and theological import.
Helpful on things most peole are scared to talk about Jan 12, 2004
I found Alexander's book extremely helpful in areas of subjective Christian experience. He addresses problems that many Christians go thourgh but are afraid to discuss. Things like blasphemous or apostate thougts, fear, depression, and other matters of the heart. His thoughts on conversion and childhood are helpful too. I consider it a must for a Christian worker.