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Growing Slowly Wise--Book Review

Large Growing Slowly Wise: Building a Faith that Works. David Roper, (Discovery House, 2000).

For more than a decade I have been involved in leading various weekly early morning men’s groups, and out of all the excellent spiritual books that the men and I have worked through together, none can compare to David Roper’s book, Growing Slowly Wise.  This book plunges the reader directly into the Biblical book of James and focuses upon the idea of a holiness of heart and life—that works.  It makes an effective connection between the pragmatic writings of James and the issues of holy living in the very real moments of life.

Roper’s comments and reflections on the message of James resonate out of over thirty years of pastoring, a lifetime of biblical study and a knack for presenting and communicating the Word of God in a subtle, yet compelling manner that leads one to a response.  Roper knows what it is to live the adventurous life of faith and he is able to lead others in this way as they are in the midst of regular lifetime activities. 

The key idea in Roper’s book is that all of us, in heart and life, are being formed in Christ and this formation takes place in the continual instances of day-to-day living.  As Christians interact with the questions, challenges, joys and struggles of life in relation to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, growth happens—growth that manifests itself in wisdom, holy living and a “beautiful” life.  It is within this life of beauty and holiness that the gospel picture of hope and love resides and is realized by a seeking world.  Roper does a masterful job of taking the “faith that works” of James and melding it with a faith that resides in God at the deepest levels of the human heart. 
Every chapter of Growing Slowly Wise is a pragmatic look at the living message in the book of James.  Roper’s comments and insights into the scripture serve to focus the reader upon aspects of the message that are most relevant to current life and holy living.  It is an approach to the Word that rests upon the idea that the message of the Bible is dynamic and is guiding the reader to respond obediently to the grace of God at work in their life.

Upon completion of Roper’s book, Growing Slowly Wise, the reader is left with a sense of awe.   There is a mature aspect of wisdom and a poetic element of insight in Roper’s words that combine with the powerful words of scripture in the book of James to create a sense of confidence in the fact that the daily lives of believers are to be worked out in the very hopeful realm of faith.  Roper’s words remind us that holiness in life is realized in response to God’s leadings in the midst of the minute by minute dynamic of life.  It is a slow process of growth, but the result is an aspect of wisdom in relationships and an essence of holiness in life that is well worth the wait. 


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