Book Review: A Call to Spiritual Reformation

Book Review: A Call to Spiritual Reformation


Description: “God doesn’t demand hectic church programs and frenetic schedules; he only wants his people to know him more intimately, says D. A. Carson. The apostle Paul found that spiritual closeness in his own fellowship with the Father. A Call to Spiritual Reformation investigates the Epistles to see what lessons Paul taught in his “school of prayer.”

Christians today can still achieve the confidence Paul enjoyed by following his life-shaping principles and searching for a deeper devotional experience.”

This is a remarkable must-read book for any Christian. If it does not challenge you to pray more biblically, then you need to read it again – this time with your eyes open.

Carson looks at the prayers of the Apostle Paul recorded in his letters, exposing the depth and content of his prayers. This book is simultaneously convicting and challenging. Read it with a notebook in hand, taking notes to incorporate into your own prayerlife. At a minimum every pastor, elder, and ministry leader ought to read this. It will change the way that you pray for those to whom you minister.

About Don (D. A.) Carson (b. 1946) – Reformed evangelical at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His theology is similar to that of Wayne Grudem except on charismatic issues, where his view may be described as “open but cautious.” Carson’s tendency is to strive for balance and amicability in disputes but is uncompromising on the essentials of the faith. He is a complementarian but supports gender-neutral Bible translations. Carson also helped produce the NLT. Titles: How Long O Lord, A Call to Spiritual Reformation; The Cross and Christian Ministry; The Difficult Dotrine of the Love of God; Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility; Exegetical Fallacies; For the Love of God; The Gagging of God; The Inclusive Language Debate; Introduction to the New Testament; New Testament Commentary Survey; Scripture and Truth (Ed. with John Woodbridge); Worship by the Book; Pillar Commentaries on Matthew and John and contributer to Who Will be Saved. He also edits the New Studies in Biblical Theology book series.

Carson’s areas of expertise include biblical theology, the historical Jesus, postmodernism, pluralism, Greek grammar, Johannine theology, Pauline theology, and questions of suffering and evil. He has written books on free will and predestination from a generally compatibilist and Calvinist persepective. He is a member of the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical Research, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Evangelical Theological Society, the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, and the Institute for Biblical Research.

Dr. Carson and his wife, Joy, reside in Libertyville, Illinois. They have two children. In his spare time, Dr. Carson enjoys reading, hiking, and woodworking

If you would like to order this book, click in the Monergism Books link in the right column and enter the title of Carson’s book in the search line.


  1. Soli Deo Gloria

    Thanks for this prompt, Don.

    I got a copy from Koorong this morning, and it promises to be a valuable read.

    The preface alone is both challenging and inviting:

    …..struggling with these matters is part of the way we learn.

    What is both surprising and depressing is the sheer prayerlessness that characterises so much of the Western church. It is surprising because it is out of step with the the Bible that portrays what Christian living should be; it is depressing because it frequently coexists with abounding Christian activity that somehow seems hollow, frivolous and superficial. Scarcely less disturbing is the enthusiastic praying in some circles that overflows with emotional release but is utterly uncontrolled by any thoughtful reflection on the prayers of Scripture.

    I wish I could say I always avoid these pitfalls. The truth is I am part of what I condemn. But if we are to make any headway in reforming our personal and corporate praying then we shall have to begin by listening afresh to Scripture and seeking God’s help in understanding how to apply Scripture to our lives, our homes and our churches.

    This is a very timely prompt Don. Thanks again.

    btw, it didn’t go unnoticed that this is one Don (woodworker) recommending another Don (woodworker)!

    • Don

      My connection with Don Carson goes deeper than woodworking. When Don was a young man (I think in his early twenties) he was called to be the Pastor of the church in which my wife and I were members when first married.

      He was a God-gifted evangelical academic then and many in our church commented that he would eventually become an influential contributor to the cause of Christ.

      How correct they were.

      • Soli Deo Gloria

        This is a valuable little book, and although it is 20 years old now, has lost none of its relevance. I am enjoying, and being challenged by it:

        Ideally….the church is made up of people who are as varied as can be: rich and poor, learned and unlearned, practical and impractical, sophisticated and unsophisticated……The only thing that holds such people together is their shared allegiance to Jesus Christ, their devotion to Him, stemming from His indescribable love for them.

        That is why it is wretchedly pathetic when the local church becomes a cauldron of resentments and nurtured bitterness. This pitiful state of affairs may erupt because there is very little at the social, economic, temperamental, educational or other levels to hold people together. Therefore when Christians lose sight of their first primary allegiance, they will squabble….

        But …. when Christians do grow in their love for each other, for no other reason than because they are loved by Jesus Christ and love Him in return, that growing love is an infallible sign of grace in their lives. As Paul hears reports of the Thessalonians, he is struck by their growing love. Such love must be the work of God, and so it is to God that Paul directs his thanks.

        This is the stuff of revival and Paul is thankful.

        So am I.


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