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Miles J. Stanford in his book, The Complete Green Letters, addresses the issue of spirituality as it should be perceived by every Christian. His book advances the plight of mankind in matters to do with spirituality.
He takes people from a stage of discovering one’s spirituality to a state of full acceptance and willingness to live a complete Christian life. This book is nourishing to any Christian who reads it. It is divided into five sections, and all the sections are geared towards one objective; making Christians lead a Christ-like life.
The first section, Principles of Spiritual Growth, deals with factors that are indispensable in the spiritual growth of every Christian. Stanford explores many factors that may foster or hinder a Christian’s spiritual growth.
He addresses these issues independently, and this makes a person separate these issues as independent factors that a Christian should consider in the path of spiritual growth (Stanford 1983, 22). Stanford addresses factors such as faith, time, purpose, acceptance, self denial, discipleship, and other related factors.
In the second section of this book, Stanford explores on the foundations of spiritual growth. He juxtaposes many issues that are problematic to people in their Christian faith.
He makes people understand the issues that they face in relation to their spirituality, and he makes sure that people understand these issues in contexts of proper spiritual growth. For instance, he explores on the issue of Justification and acceptance, and this helps a Christian define his stand as a firm Christian.
The next section covers the ground for growth. In this section, Stanford makes it clear that Christians must know their history so as to be well versed and firm in their faith. He explores the history of Christian faith starting from the Old Testament to the present (Stanford 1983, 89). Specifically, he starts narrating about the first man, Adam and the fall of man. This way a Christian understands the initial plan of God for mankind.
The realization of spiritual growth follows in this order, and the chapter deals with an individual’s acceptance of Spirituality. Stanford outlines an individual’s stages of acceptance. They include things like principles of reckoning, Service and reckoning and self life and reckoning. These things make a Christian grow stronger in faith.
The last section, A Guide to Spiritual Growth, emphasizes that Christians should remain faithful to their calling. Stanford explores things that may make Christians lose faith. Stanford also explores things that Christians face; he does this in order to ensure that Christians adapt well to these things. He also encourages Christians not to lose faith because of their encounters in life (Stanford 1983, 118).
Stanford, in one of his articles, addresses this book, and says that these teachings may not be understood by the young in Christ. There are very few Christians who understand Paul’s basis for these teachings. Therefore, these teachings are not given to the younger believers.
Although the book gives a clear chronological order for a Christian life, the teachings contained may be insignificant to an individual who does not have initial knowledge (clue) about Jesus. Therefore, young believers may not be well represented in this book. This book has a deeper meaning. It requires that a Christian reads the book keenly in order to understand the deeper meaning.
People who read this book for the first time may suffer from spiritual agony. This is because the book gives messages that make a person wonder about the essence of a sinful life. The book gives many instances when sin is punished, and a first reader who does not believe may break under the stern message in the book. Therefore, the book needs an introduction that will familiarize people with the message contained within the book.
The book does not tell young believers their position in Christ; they are not told exactly who they are (now) in Christ. Additionally, they are not told about the original sin. These young Christians accept to believe in Jesus, and they even accept to be baptized as a sign that they are freed from sin. However, they are not told that the old (original) sin is not gone but will dwell within these young Christians for life.
Once they know this, they may become troubled. They should be told about this, upfront, so that they do not become blindsided and discouraged or abide in ignorance that could be used as a club against them. Many older Christians are also ignorant of these things, and this is a factor that makes the young Christian not to be told about these things.
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The young Christians (before reading this book) should be guided to know the meaning of position, condition and reckoning. They should understand these terms as put forward by Paul. Thus, they will understand the grace of God and grow faster, straighter and stronger in Faith than they would have done when left to understand on their own.
This book is very significant in the life of anyone who reads it in a Christian perspective. The book raises a lot of issues, and it treats these issues in a Christian manner. For instance, the book gives the principles of spiritual growth. These principles are things that are common to people. Therefore, people can apply these things in the course of their Christian lives.
The book also gives the process of transformation from being a non believer to a believer. For instance, this book could guide a student from a person who does not know God to a person who knows God. This is because the book covers things that a person can do to know Christ in different contexts; a person can know God regardless of where that person is. This book gives a clear guidance of how one can dot this.
The book also tells people that they are not held captives in their present state of non belief. They can extricate themselves from this situation through reading this book.
Stanford understands that his book will be read by a wide audience, and he writes in a manner that appeals to all people who read this book. Therefore, this is a book that could be applied in the lives of many people and transform them in to Christians (Stanford 1983, 283).
This book offers a great reading to people seeking to understand the plight of Christian living. Stanford writes this book in a developmental manner that helps a person grow from one stage of Christian understanding to another. It also covers issues that a Christian faces in the course of spiritual development; thus, it is an indispensable book in the life of all Christians.
Stanford, Miles. The Complete Green Letters. Michigan: Zondervan, 1983.