978-0-85476-742-7 / 9780854767427

Challenging Lifestyle


Publisher:Kingsway Publications



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About the book:

This book can profitably be read in its own right, but is designed principally as a follow-up resource to the massively successful "Alpha" enquirers' course which the author has developed at his church in London. From its beginnings as an evangelistic tool, Alpha has grown into a two-year discipleship programme, for two terms of which Challenging Lifestyle is used as a resource book. Those who wish to read it in this way may be particularly interested to know that each chapter comes with a study guide, a series of questions aimed at making the reader think more deeply about the subjects under consideration.

The overall subject of the book is the Sermon on the Mount. Gumbel's 19 chapters provide a highly accessible exegesis of that revolutionary Sermon as it is recorded in Matthew's gospel. Their titles, such as "How to Pray", "How to Give", "How to Fast", show that the author's aim is to teach practical application. His methodology is an attractive mixture of personal anecdote, biblical exposition, illustrative material and citations from a wide range of authorities, many of whom, though not all, are, like himself, Christians of an evangelical charismatic persuasion.

Gumbel occasionally lacks sensitivity. This is most obvious in the chapter on divorce, where his habitually fast-moving argument and light tone jars with the desperately painful nature of the topic in hand. In general, though, the book is helpful. It is especially strong in its stories and quotations. Preachers as well as regular pew-fillers are likely to find these useful, pertinent and encouraging. --Michael Ward

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