THE book on Christian spirituality for today. . .

. . .has to be Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today by John W. Kleinig. Dr. Kleinig is an Australian theologian, Bible scholar, and Lutheran seminary professor who is one of the most illuminating teachers I have come across. Many Christians today have gotten interested in “spirituality,” with some exploring Eastern meditation and arcane mysticism without ever being introduced to the distinctly Christian approach to the spiritual life. This book explores the unique “receptive spirituality” that is the life of the Gospel of Christ. Christian spirituality find its expression in prayer, the Word, the sacraments, struggle against Satan’s temptations, and VOCATION. It has to do above all with receiving “grace upon grace” in Christ.

I can hardly express you just how good of a book this is. You may think that you know what there is to know on this subject, but you would be wrong. It’s one of those paradigm-shifting, life-changing books. It deserves the treatment we gave Lars Walker’s book–buying it on Amazon so as to boost its ranking (currently #227,924) so as to attract more attention to it and help propel it to bestsellerdom. If that should happen, we would see a revival of true Christian piety. Towards that end, I will be posting excerpts from time to time, passages that I have underlined as I have read and re-read this classic in the making.

Have any of you read this already? If so, I’d welcome your testimonial about Dr. Kleinig’s teaching.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • inexile

    I’ve read it and concur that it’s a fresh look at the whole topic of spirituality filled with theological and practical gems.

  • inexile

    I’ve read it and concur that it’s a fresh look at the whole topic of spirituality filled with theological and practical gems.

  • Larry Everett

    I agree, Dr. Vieth, it is a ‘must read.’ Earlier this year, I read the book, but plan to read it again. There is so much good to ponder; I’m sure I missed something. Five Star! Highly recommended!

  • Larry Everett

    I agree, Dr. Vieth, it is a ‘must read.’ Earlier this year, I read the book, but plan to read it again. There is so much good to ponder; I’m sure I missed something. Five Star! Highly recommended!

  • Larry Everett

    Sorry…Should read ‘Dr Veith.’

  • Larry Everett

    Sorry…Should read ‘Dr Veith.’

  • Tom Hering

    I’m especially interested in reading what Dr. Kleinig has to say about vocation. As an artist who has just gone through a long dry period, and is now reading Dr. Vieth’s “The Gift of Art,” I’ve not only learned that I received my calling by common grace, but depend on grace to fulfill my calling day after day. Dependence on God is very freeing.

  • Tom Hering

    I’m especially interested in reading what Dr. Kleinig has to say about vocation. As an artist who has just gone through a long dry period, and is now reading Dr. Vieth’s “The Gift of Art,” I’ve not only learned that I received my calling by common grace, but depend on grace to fulfill my calling day after day. Dependence on God is very freeing.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Dr. Veith – A word of caution. I do not believe in underlining or highlighting a book. After several discussions with my Pastor, I began to read “Grace Upon Grace” for the second time, deciding to highlight passages which “stood out” or seemed particulary illuminating.

    After exhausting two highlighters, I ended up with black print on yellow, highlighted pages. This exercise in futility did help me by meditating on each an every sentence. If you begin to post “illuminating” passages, you will find yourself reposting the entire book for what teaching would you leave out which we do not so desperately need.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Dr. Veith – A word of caution. I do not believe in underlining or highlighting a book. After several discussions with my Pastor, I began to read “Grace Upon Grace” for the second time, deciding to highlight passages which “stood out” or seemed particulary illuminating.

    After exhausting two highlighters, I ended up with black print on yellow, highlighted pages. This exercise in futility did help me by meditating on each an every sentence. If you begin to post “illuminating” passages, you will find yourself reposting the entire book for what teaching would you leave out which we do not so desperately need.

  • Helen Kraus

    This is one of those profound books that makes one thankful and joyful for God’s grace! One read-thru will not do it! There is so much to take in and meditate upon, that this book must be read slowly. Dr. Kleinig is one of God’s rare gifts to the Church.

  • Helen Kraus

    This is one of those profound books that makes one thankful and joyful for God’s grace! One read-thru will not do it! There is so much to take in and meditate upon, that this book must be read slowly. Dr. Kleinig is one of God’s rare gifts to the Church.

  • Ryan

    I second #5. Dr. Kleinig is not a poor writer at all – but a dense writer, maybe not as dense as the past, but it does take a bit of getting used to compared to much of what read today. Anything of Dr. Kleinig is a good and worthwhile read, but a slow read. Or as I like to say, his books are ‘chewy’.

  • Ryan

    I second #5. Dr. Kleinig is not a poor writer at all – but a dense writer, maybe not as dense as the past, but it does take a bit of getting used to compared to much of what read today. Anything of Dr. Kleinig is a good and worthwhile read, but a slow read. Or as I like to say, his books are ‘chewy’.

  • http://www.reformationtoday.net Pr. John A. Frahm

    It is an excellent book and most certainly deserves greater attention, as do so many of the solid Lutheran books that never even are considered in “Christian” bookstores. Dr. Kleinig is one of the modern fathers of the Lutheran church. While he is a student of Hermann Sasse, he has also uncovered many treasures out of the church’s attic in a refreshing way that has justification by grace in Christ alone at the center. Hopefully we’ll see a bit more of Dr. Kleinig in print, along with his excellent Concordia Commentary on Leviticus.

  • http://www.reformationtoday.net Pr. John A. Frahm

    It is an excellent book and most certainly deserves greater attention, as do so many of the solid Lutheran books that never even are considered in “Christian” bookstores. Dr. Kleinig is one of the modern fathers of the Lutheran church. While he is a student of Hermann Sasse, he has also uncovered many treasures out of the church’s attic in a refreshing way that has justification by grace in Christ alone at the center. Hopefully we’ll see a bit more of Dr. Kleinig in print, along with his excellent Concordia Commentary on Leviticus.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    I haven’t touched any book on the subject of Spirituality for a long time. Which brings me to my question: What exactly is “spirituality”? The word is commonly used, but what does it mean? In practice?

    Nowadays the following remark is commonly heard: I’m spiritual, but not religious. To which I would echo a blogger known as “The Kibitzer”: I’m religious, but not spiritual…

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    I haven’t touched any book on the subject of Spirituality for a long time. Which brings me to my question: What exactly is “spirituality”? The word is commonly used, but what does it mean? In practice?

    Nowadays the following remark is commonly heard: I’m spiritual, but not religious. To which I would echo a blogger known as “The Kibitzer”: I’m religious, but not spiritual…

  • Bruce Gee

    We read this this year in our Lutheran No Inklings book club. The chapter that really turned heads was his on prayer.
    I have to admit: having heard John Kleinig speak on a number of occasions, and having gotten to know him to some extent, this book was more subdued than I expected. I think it is really good, but don’t want people to expect razzle-dazzle. What it is is solid; a bit systematic, but sort of lulls you into a depth of Christian understanding you didn’t know existed. Kleinig is a first rate theologian, and has much to offer in the area of spiritual warfare.

    The book centers on Luther’s definition of a theologian: oratio, meditatio, tentatio: one who prays; studies and contemplates scripture; and suffers for his faith.

    If you ever have a chance to hear Dr. Kleinig speak, jump at it. He is entertaining, effusive, and has that great Australian accent!

  • Bruce Gee

    We read this this year in our Lutheran No Inklings book club. The chapter that really turned heads was his on prayer.
    I have to admit: having heard John Kleinig speak on a number of occasions, and having gotten to know him to some extent, this book was more subdued than I expected. I think it is really good, but don’t want people to expect razzle-dazzle. What it is is solid; a bit systematic, but sort of lulls you into a depth of Christian understanding you didn’t know existed. Kleinig is a first rate theologian, and has much to offer in the area of spiritual warfare.

    The book centers on Luther’s definition of a theologian: oratio, meditatio, tentatio: one who prays; studies and contemplates scripture; and suffers for his faith.

    If you ever have a chance to hear Dr. Kleinig speak, jump at it. He is entertaining, effusive, and has that great Australian accent!

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    We got the book up to #11,000 and something. By the end of the day, it was #3 in “Lutheran” books and #20 in a category called “Meditations.” That’s pretty good, but we can do better.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    We got the book up to #11,000 and something. By the end of the day, it was #3 in “Lutheran” books and #20 in a category called “Meditations.” That’s pretty good, but we can do better.

  • Elaine Weiss

    I wish anyone searching for spirituality could stumble upon this book to find real spiritual guidance. I have the book and like many have said will be reading it again as it is something to ponder and ponder anew. Dr. Kleinig’s book is a real blessing and source of strength to all who read it.

  • Elaine Weiss

    I wish anyone searching for spirituality could stumble upon this book to find real spiritual guidance. I have the book and like many have said will be reading it again as it is something to ponder and ponder anew. Dr. Kleinig’s book is a real blessing and source of strength to all who read it.

  • Pingback: The Brothers of John the Steadfast » More Good Stuff Found by Norm, THE book on Christian spirituality for today. . .by Gene Veith

  • Pingback: The Brothers of John the Steadfast » More Good Stuff Found by Norm, THE book on Christian spirituality for today. . .by Gene Veith

  • Kelly

    What I deeply appreciated about this book is that, unlike so many books about Christian spirituality, it is not “self-help” in nature. It does not lament, “If only those nominal Christians would really start obeying properly and/or radically, the church would be thriving… so here’s my proposed 7 steps to get us there.” The book describes true Christian piety in a way that does not encourage us all to become super-Christians or quasi-monastic.

  • Kelly

    What I deeply appreciated about this book is that, unlike so many books about Christian spirituality, it is not “self-help” in nature. It does not lament, “If only those nominal Christians would really start obeying properly and/or radically, the church would be thriving… so here’s my proposed 7 steps to get us there.” The book describes true Christian piety in a way that does not encourage us all to become super-Christians or quasi-monastic.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    I haven’t purchased or read the Kleinig book yet (it’s now very much on my list – thanks!), but I would like to put in a plug for a book I read this year that I can’t recommend enough — and like Dr. Veith, I can say, “I can hardly express you just how good of a book this is”.

    It’s Daniel Deutschlander’s, “The Theology of the Cross: Reflections on His Cross and Ours” from Northwestern Publishing House. You can find it at:
    http://online.nph.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?10418&productID=150746

    It’s the kind of book I tell people to only read a few pages at a time — there’s so much good stuff to digest that you want to let it stew and simmer a bit in meditation before pushing on. I plan to reread this book regularly, perhaps even every year.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    I haven’t purchased or read the Kleinig book yet (it’s now very much on my list – thanks!), but I would like to put in a plug for a book I read this year that I can’t recommend enough — and like Dr. Veith, I can say, “I can hardly express you just how good of a book this is”.

    It’s Daniel Deutschlander’s, “The Theology of the Cross: Reflections on His Cross and Ours” from Northwestern Publishing House. You can find it at:
    http://online.nph.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?10418&productID=150746

    It’s the kind of book I tell people to only read a few pages at a time — there’s so much good stuff to digest that you want to let it stew and simmer a bit in meditation before pushing on. I plan to reread this book regularly, perhaps even every year.

  • Ruthie

    I hardly ever buy a book without reading the reviews. May I suggest that all of you that love it, write a review for amazon and concordia publishing house. That will help the sales rank.

  • Ruthie

    I hardly ever buy a book without reading the reviews. May I suggest that all of you that love it, write a review for amazon and concordia publishing house. That will help the sales rank.

  • Bruce G

    While we are plugging books that are off-the-chart good: try FOLLOW ME by Martin Franzmann. It is a devotional commentary on the book of Matthew, page after dense page of alarmingly wonderful observations. Still available from Amazon.

  • Bruce G

    While we are plugging books that are off-the-chart good: try FOLLOW ME by Martin Franzmann. It is a devotional commentary on the book of Matthew, page after dense page of alarmingly wonderful observations. Still available from Amazon.

  • Rev. Karl Hess

    Concordia is always selling new books, and sometimes you buy them and feel like Concordia owns you. I bought this book at some pastor’s conference and didn’t read it. Then one day when I was making shut-in calls and feeling particularly depressed, i started paging through it and reading the section on “spiritual warfare”. It was amazing. I had never heard it explained so clearly and with such obvious applications to church life and family life.

    Since then I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Kleinig speak on these and related topics at Doxology, the Lutheran seminar on pastoral care. It was amazing. I’ve been using notes from those lectures to teach my church council about spiritual warfare, and I’ve been teaching sunday morning bible class on “Grace upon Grace.” It’s amazing stuff.

  • Rev. Karl Hess

    Concordia is always selling new books, and sometimes you buy them and feel like Concordia owns you. I bought this book at some pastor’s conference and didn’t read it. Then one day when I was making shut-in calls and feeling particularly depressed, i started paging through it and reading the section on “spiritual warfare”. It was amazing. I had never heard it explained so clearly and with such obvious applications to church life and family life.

    Since then I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Kleinig speak on these and related topics at Doxology, the Lutheran seminar on pastoral care. It was amazing. I’ve been using notes from those lectures to teach my church council about spiritual warfare, and I’ve been teaching sunday morning bible class on “Grace upon Grace.” It’s amazing stuff.

  • Rev. Karl Hess

    How many times can I use the word “amazing”?

  • Rev. Karl Hess

    How many times can I use the word “amazing”?

  • crusxola

    I am waiting for my copy of Grace upon Grace to arrive. I second the endorsement Jeff (#15) makes for Deutschlander’s, “The Theology of the Cross: Reflections on His Cross and Ours”. Excellent book!

  • crusxola

    I am waiting for my copy of Grace upon Grace to arrive. I second the endorsement Jeff (#15) makes for Deutschlander’s, “The Theology of the Cross: Reflections on His Cross and Ours”. Excellent book!

  • LAJ

    I agree it is a wonderful book. I am reading it for the second time. It is a book to absorb slowly and enjoy. We have been selling it at our Christian book store for some months now. One customer said it is the best book she has ever read.

  • LAJ

    I agree it is a wonderful book. I am reading it for the second time. It is a book to absorb slowly and enjoy. We have been selling it at our Christian book store for some months now. One customer said it is the best book she has ever read.

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