The History of Spiritual Formation – James Houston and Bruce Hindmarsh

The History of Spiritual Formation – James Houston and Bruce Hindmarsh


[relaxed guitar music]>>Bruce and Jim you
both have been involved with the spiritual formation movement for some time, what do you
make of where we’ve come from within particularly the Evangelical Church when it comes to spiritual formation what ground has been covered? And where do you see us
needing to go for the future?>>I think there’s a way we’re
in this second generation aren’t we? We had the
pioneering ministry of people like Jim and Dallas Willard and so on, and I think there has
been a prophetic ministry in the Church of the recognition about the whole person formation in Christ and especially pushing
back against the idea that somehow the Christian life is primarily just about cognitive content and maybe behavioral exercitation. But that a recovery of spiritual vision a recovery of a sense of
being whole persons in Christ. I think one of my concerns right now is just the sense of fragmentation and that there’s a way that
certain kind of messages that are the right message when heard in a certain kind of
context become different, you know, and we still
seem to be operating in a world that is so freelance, ad hoc, and programmatic that I worry sometimes that it may blunt the
force of the prophetic call to keep united what is
easily pulled asunder into fragments, you know, it’s
not that spiritual formation is meant to be something
different from theology. You know, it’s the basic Christian life and the idea that it
becomes its own movement or its own thing has
its own dangers I think.>>Yes, and I think In
response there’s both a long history and a short history and the long history is
that since the classic of Gregory the Great on his Pastoralia which had a huge influence on the whole of Christiandom
and the Carolingian and then in the later medieval expressions of Christiandom the focus was
on the pastor, on the priest so it really was on priestly formation and even after the reformation we find that in the Protestant world people like George Herbert the poet and as a pastor has a wonderful homily on the whole subject
of the Country Parson. on his character and likewise
we find Richard Baxter in the reform pastor
giving us another example, so the profiling of the
ideal priest or pastor I think is the origin of the concept, but I think the short
history is that after Vatican two there was a real concern on the part of the reformers
within the Roman Church that their priests should
have a priestly formation that was appropriate to Vatican two and it was I think from that background that, certainly in America the ATS the Association of Theological Schools then adopted it for spiritual
formation in the Seminary but because they were still
viewing it for seminarians the whole purpose was still
that Gregorian tradition. So I think it’s more innovative what has happened since
then is that we now think of spiritual formation for the
priesthood of all believers that all Christians should have some form of spiritual formation. So I think that’s the
root of the movement. [relaxed guitar music]

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