Monday, December 8, 2014

Kleinig's Grace Upon Grace - Introduction

Kleinig, John W. Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2008.

“Introduction: Receptive Spirituality” pp. 7-26

Kleinig’s thesis is that we receive our spirituality from others. We never create it for ourselves, in a vacuum. “We do not invent spirituality for ourselves; we do not cobble it together to suit our desire for personal fulfillment. Its power does not depend on us or on our performance. Rather, we receive our spiritual life from others and are drawn into it, just as we are initiated into family life and marriage” (pp. 8-9). Specifically, all our life of worship, according to 1 Corinthians 4:7-8, is something we receive. On p. 13 Kleinig ties this idea to Luther’s concept of “the interplay between three forces as we pray, meditate and are tempted: the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, and Satan.” Kleinig continues describing this process for several pages. Luther “does not envisage the spiritual life as a process of self-development, but as a process of reception from the triune God” (p. 16). What is the means of our receptivity? Not our internal impressions or even an illumination of the Holy Spirit, but God’s Word itself (p. 17). Because of this view, Luther sees meditation as a very verbal thing, based on God’s read Word from outside ourselves. As this life goes on we are changed and find many opportunities to evaluate what Christ is doing in us. Though Satan would attempt to undo us, we are driven again into God’s Word.

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