THE VOW: How a Forgotten Ancient Practice Can Transform Your Life
Christian Life/Spiritual Growth
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There was a time in America when a man was only as good as his word. In today’s culture, promises, commitments, even ideologies, are subject to change as convenience and popular thinking dictate. God has called His people to be a light shining in contrast to the darkness of this world, yet even within the church marriage vows have apparently lost their staying-power. In his new book, The Vow, Ed Gungor, pastor and author of the New York Times bestseller There Is More to the Secret, challenges the American church to arise and shine in authentic community through the ancient practice of vow-making.
A vow is a promise made to God. Though the practice of vow-making was common in Biblical times and throughout church history until the Reformation, most modern Christians are totally unfamiliar with the concept. Ed first encountered vow-making while casually reading the book of Acts. “Other than getting married or becoming a priest or nun, I thought ‘vowing’ was some kind of antiquated, Old Testament idea that I was sure Jesus had abolished,” Ed remembers. Upon further study, he began to realize that, not only is this ancient practice still relevant today, it is an invaluable means for producing authentic transformation in the life of the believer.
The act of making a vow to God is a way of showing generosity to Him, of loving Him more. Vows are evidence in the church of a desire to follow Jesus without reservation. They are choices that transcend ordinary faith --- pre-decisions that symbolize the direction that will center one’s entire life. And they open the door to divine adventure. “As I have wandered down this path --- so very familiar to the ancients who have gone before us, but virtually unknown to us moderns --- it has been both intriguing and empowering, and, on another level, just plain dangerous,” Ed reflects. “But I think it’s leading somewhere.”
Ed is a brilliant, effortless communicator. As he shares his own adventures in vow-making, readers will be encouraged and inspired to find their own unique ways to commit their lives to God. The book includes several appendices with material (i.e. synopsis of spiritual disciplines) that will serve as a jumping-off point for those who would like to practice making vows but don’t know where to start.
In our post-modern world, the traditional vehicles of Christian influence --- big church buildings, political power, a "Leave It to Beaver" culture --- are passing away. Though many Christians have every intention of sacrificially serving the Lord, they often lack the focus to follow through. In the current culture dominated by spiritual skepticism and distrust, intentions mean little without the actions to demonstrate them. “Vows give us conviction about the kind of life we are to live, clarity about our role in the world and a sense of corporate mission and ministry,” Ed says. “There is critical and prophetic power in them. We are not just believing differently; vows cause us to do and live differently.”
THE VOW © Copyright 2017 by Ed Gungor. Reprinted with permission by Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.
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