“What a great gift it would be if we could see a little of the great vision of Jesus – if we could see beyond our small lives! Certainly our view is very limited. But we can at least ask him to call us out of our small worlds and our self-centeredness, and we can at least ask to feel the challenge of the great harvest that must be gathered – the harvest of all nations and all people, including the generations of the future.”
–J. Heinrich Arnold
If there was ever a time the world needed a vision of Jesus it’s now. And the only way most people will “see” Him, is through the lives of His disciples.
If you long to be a true disciple and wish to learn what it means to be one, I highly recommend this book, Discipleship, Living for Christ in the Daily Grind by J. Heinrich Arnold. This new expanded edition produced by Plough Publishing House (the publishing house for the Bruderhof movement) also offers a free student guide and leadership guide on their website. I plan to use these for my Sunday Night Bible study, so I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to review this book.
About the author:
At the age of six, Arnold’s parents moved from Berlin to the little village of Samnerz in central Germany to live a communal life based upon Acts 2 and 4. His father was a writer and theologian and the founder of the Bruderhof movement. Young Arnold was exposed to many interesting characters while growing up in the commune: tramps, artists, and free-thinkers made their way in and out of his life and made lasting impressions upon him.
At the age of eleven, he felt the call of God on his life. (I was 11, when I, too, felt the call!) He committed himself to the Bruderhof — “the place of brothers.” Founded in 1920 in Germany, the Bruderhof was and is an international communal movement of families and single men and women who seek to put into action Christ’s command to love God and neighbor. They have an online book you can read about their foundation here: Foundations of our Faith and Calling.
Arnold has been described as “a true Seelsorgeror “spiritual guide” who cared deeply for the inner and outer wellbeing of the communities entrusted to him. And he served his brothers and sisters by sharing in their daily lives in work and leisure, at communal meals, business meetings, and worship services.”
His writing has the influence of his own father, Eberhard Arnold and nineteenth century Lutheran pastors Johann Christoph Blumhardt and Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt as well as Meister Eckhart, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Friedrich von Gagern, and Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevski whose books Arnold read and referred to often.
About the book:
The book is organized in a way that allows the user to study each chapter on its own without reading the entire book. It’s divided into three parts:
- The Disciple
- The Church
- The Kingdom of God
Topics are addressed in reference to each category. This book is accessible to those needing the milk of the Word of God, but also provides meat for the seasoned believer. It’s a beautiful collection of the spiritual beliefs and guidance of Arnold through his letters and writings.
The foreward by Henri J. M. Nouwen explains:
“Heinrich Arnold’s words touched me as a double-edged sword, calling me to choose between truth and lies, salvation and sin, selflessness and selfishness, light and darkness, God and demon…The Gospel asks for a choice, a radical choice, a choice that is not always praised, supported, and celebrated. Still, Arnold’s writing is not harsh, unbending, fanatical or self-righteous. To the contrary, it is full of love. Tough love, but real love. It is this love that flows fro the broken hart of Jesus. What makes Arnold’s words so healing is that they are not based on an idea, an ideology, or a theory, but on an intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
I concur with Nouwen in that this is a truly Christ-centered book.
Enjoy this quote from a chapter in the Kingom of God section on Jesus:
“If we love someone we want to know his innermost being. We are not satisfied with simply knowing him outwardly. So it is with our love to God. If we give ourselves to him, we will learn to know his innermost being and heart, his character and his love. It is not enough just to speak of God. We seek his revelation. The Bible says that those whom God loves he chastised, for it is a sign of his love. We cannot experience the complete liberation brought about by the forgiveness of sins if we do not accept Jesus’ sharpness Only then will we also be able to experience his goodness, his compassion, and his ultimate love.”
I give this deserving book 5 out of 5 stars. I’m so thankful to have it in my library and I’m sure I’ll lovingly pull it out again and again for the encouragement and insight into God’s heart it provides.
I’m not the only one who liked the book:
I pray for all who read this book that they may come to follow Jesus more closely in their whole lives. He has not called us to be successful, but to be faithful.
What are you waiting for? Click on the photo of the book and grab your copy now!