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Essentials for a deeper spiritual life 

Difficult not to be challenged afresh by the author's single minded interpretation of what it means to be crucified with Christ

Essentials CettonEssentials for a deeper Spiritual life
By Ken Cetton
Published by Kenneth Cetton
ISBN 978-0-9898992-0-8
Reviewed by: Martin Poole

 
I was drawn to this book by its title and expected to be directed towards such writings as John of the cross – his dark night of the soul – and many other spiritual classics which call for a more contemplative perspective. Ken’s perception of the “deeper spiritual life” takes us nowhere near these writers and makes little room for the quiet contemplative dimension to faith.
 
Ken starts his book by laying a foundation of what comprises a true evangelical conversion. The gospel message is presented dogmatically with a clear division between saved and unsaved, heaven and hell. There are some dogmatic assertions about Hades, Paradise and heaven which would be considered  speculative by many.

Having got his readers to the same page of establishing who is a Christian he begins to unpack his key text - Gal 2:20 where Paul writes – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me..”
 
The deeper spiritual life is in Ken’s very reasonable view, allowing the fruits of the spirit to be visible as a sign of Christ living in the believer. He covers such attributes as love, patience, pride, practising mercy, faithfulness in marriage. You could describe Ken’s book as richly illustrated as virtually every point is buttressed by an anecdote from Ken’s colourful life as a GI, bus driver, entrepreneur, evangelist, bible smuggler and staff member of Operation Mobilisation.
 
Given the above bio it is not surprising that he urges on all his readers to be active in evangelism and particularly involved in gospel tract distribution. He cites a classic response from the 19th century evangelist D l Moody to the comment: “Moody I don’t like the way you evangelise”.

The evangelist asked “well how do you do it?” His questioner hesitantly admitted that he didn’t do it at all. Moody’s reply was: “I like my method better”
 
Ken is writing as an octogenarian American. Cultural differnces are evident in his writing with perhaps the surprising comment that tract distribution is easy because people rarely refuse!

However in looking back over his long and consistent ministry he offers many useful insights. His emphasis on activism will grate on some but it is difficult not to be challenged afresh by Ken’s single minded interpretation of what it means to be crucified with Christ.


The Revd Martin Poole is a retired Baptist minister having served the churches of Tabernacle Penarth, Godalming and Eastleigh


 
Baptist Times, 18/03/2016
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