What Christian spirituality is

From Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today by John W. Kleinig:

“When I speak about spirituality, I do not envisage something extraordinary—a superior way of being a Christian that is open only to a religious elite or a more advanced stage in the spiritual life. I have in mind what is given to every faithful person. Christian spirituality is, quite simply, following Jesus. It is the ordinary life of faith in which we receive Baptism, attend the Divine Service, participate in the Holy Supper, read the Scriptures, pray for ourselves and others, resist temptation, and work with Jesus in our given location here on earth. By our practice of spirituality we are not raised to a higher plane above the normal, everyday, bodily life, but we receive the holy Spirit from Christ so that we can live in God’s presence each day of our lives as we deal with people and work, sin and abuse, inconvenience and heartbreak, trouble and tragedy. We are not called to become more spiritual by disengaging from our earthly life, but simply to rely on Jesus as we do what is given for us to do, experience what is given for us to experience, and enjoy what is given for us to experience, and enjoy what is given for us to enjoy.” (Page 23)

“Thus all that our body does outwardly and physically, if God’s Word is added to it and it is done through faith, is in reality and in name done spiritually. Nothing can be so material, fleshly, or outward, but it becomes spiritual when it is done in the Word and in faith. Spiritual is nothing else than what is done in us and by us through the Spirit and faith, whether the object with which we are dealing is physical or spiritual.” (Page 24)

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.

  • http://uest fws

    what he is saying, is that to ask someone to act like a christian is to be a good citizen, to be like the most righteous of pagans or pharisees. a christian adds to these outward actions those invisible ingredients, salt and yeast, called faith and the word of God.

    “spirituality , quite simply, is following Jesus” is very true, but it would easily allow someone to easily avoid what his point really is here.

    This follows exactly what the augustana says in it’s article on free will, which grants to free will and reason the FULL power to do ALL “good” works except for one: faith, ie to keep the first table of the 10 commandments.

    Christians add the same righteousness to the world as pagans do, but christians alone add those invisible strange things called faith and the word of God.

    How do we increase in this? Only by faith increased by word and sacrament.

    But WHAT should we look for increase in?

    outward righteousness? Yes, but this acquired in exactly the same way pagans get it: discipline, trial and error, fear, desire for things that increase ego and security and power. Stick AND carrot (!) of the law. santa claus morality: be good and you will get the goodies, be bad and you will be punished.

    trust in Jesus? Yes! and here when we realize that we DON’T keep the law. Not even the Law in the form of ‘evangelical encouragement’ as in ‘you SHOULD do (fill-in-da-blank) purely out of loving response for what Jesus did for you.’

    and even trust in Jesus when we realize that the Word tells us that we have signed up for the exact reverse of ‘santa claus’ christianity: the evildoers get blest, drug dealers, corrupt politicians, covetous businessmen who call greed a virtue. These have the homes and cars and wealth and trophy wives. and what happened to the goodest person who ever lived? Look to the cross to see your likely fate as well. We learn , in faith, to trust God especially in suffering and trust that he is a good and loving God who means only for our happiness.

  • http://uest fws

    what he is saying, is that to ask someone to act like a christian is to be a good citizen, to be like the most righteous of pagans or pharisees. a christian adds to these outward actions those invisible ingredients, salt and yeast, called faith and the word of God.

    “spirituality , quite simply, is following Jesus” is very true, but it would easily allow someone to easily avoid what his point really is here.

    This follows exactly what the augustana says in it’s article on free will, which grants to free will and reason the FULL power to do ALL “good” works except for one: faith, ie to keep the first table of the 10 commandments.

    Christians add the same righteousness to the world as pagans do, but christians alone add those invisible strange things called faith and the word of God.

    How do we increase in this? Only by faith increased by word and sacrament.

    But WHAT should we look for increase in?

    outward righteousness? Yes, but this acquired in exactly the same way pagans get it: discipline, trial and error, fear, desire for things that increase ego and security and power. Stick AND carrot (!) of the law. santa claus morality: be good and you will get the goodies, be bad and you will be punished.

    trust in Jesus? Yes! and here when we realize that we DON’T keep the law. Not even the Law in the form of ‘evangelical encouragement’ as in ‘you SHOULD do (fill-in-da-blank) purely out of loving response for what Jesus did for you.’

    and even trust in Jesus when we realize that the Word tells us that we have signed up for the exact reverse of ‘santa claus’ christianity: the evildoers get blest, drug dealers, corrupt politicians, covetous businessmen who call greed a virtue. These have the homes and cars and wealth and trophy wives. and what happened to the goodest person who ever lived? Look to the cross to see your likely fate as well. We learn , in faith, to trust God especially in suffering and trust that he is a good and loving God who means only for our happiness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407202309 Brenno

    I am interested in cattocning you. We have several things in common such as a love for Christ, Karatedo Doshinkan, and music. I have been able to read your thoughts and views on Christ and life. I would like to share some information on these and some of my works on poetry (cinquqins).I guess if I hear from you then we can converse on these topics.I look forward to hearing from you.All the Best!Respectfully,Mike Haptonstall Kyoshi 7. dan, Haiiro Seishin Kuma, Karatedo Doshinkan

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407202309 Brenno

    I am interested in cattocning you. We have several things in common such as a love for Christ, Karatedo Doshinkan, and music. I have been able to read your thoughts and views on Christ and life. I would like to share some information on these and some of my works on poetry (cinquqins).I guess if I hear from you then we can converse on these topics.I look forward to hearing from you.All the Best!Respectfully,Mike Haptonstall Kyoshi 7. dan, Haiiro Seishin Kuma, Karatedo Doshinkan


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