This review appeared in the Oct-Dec 2009 vol. 166 no. 4 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
The Bookends of the Christian LifeCrossway, Wheaton, IL March 9, 2009
Though a pocket-sized volume, this work is extraordinary because of its wisdom and practicality. The subject is the Christian life and how to live it. Bridges has written numerous books on the godly life, and Bevington is an astute lay professional. They argue that there are two great anchors for spiritual development and three great enemies of it. The two truths (which they call “bookends”) that are foundational to spiritual development are (a) a focus on the wonder of the gospel, the imputed righteousness of the Savior, and the believer’s standing in Him, and (b) the ministry of the Spirit of God in illuminating and directing His children. Two enemies of the soul are an inordinately elevated perception of Christian status (self-righteousness) and a devalued perception of Christian status (guiltiness because of feelings of inadequacy). The second “bookend,” reliance on the Spirit of God, addresses the third deterrent of spiritual growth, namely, self-reliance.
The net result of their work is a balanced, sane, practical explanation of the Christian life. It does not err, as many works do, by overstating the case for spiritual progress, promising too much, or by promising too little in the way of progress toward spiritual victory in this life. No book answers all the questions, but this one is a practical tool to use in small-group Bible studies or in one’s personal development.
—John D. Hannah