What was the stated purpose of the book Paul’s Spirituality in Galatians?


K Phil

What was the stated purpose of the book Paul’s Spirituality in Galatians?

McClendon states that the purpose of his book “is to model this approach in applying a particular passage of Scripture as a corrective guide governing aspects of Christian spirituality.”[1]

What is the approach to which McClendon refers?  He states it is using “the Bible in determining what is and is not of the Spirit of God.”[2]  In other words, the Bible is the filter through which doctrinal belief and one’s understanding of life-events must flow in order to ascertain what is really of God.  To accomplish his purpose, McClendon utilizes Galatians 2:20 in order to “correct some common errors caused by the elevation of personal subjectivism and misinterpretation of the Scriptures within Christian spirituality . . . ”[3]

What chapter did you select and read?

To accomplish this assignment, I chose to read Chapter One, “The Centrality of the Cross”.

Did that chapter accomplish the intended purpose of the book?  In what ways was the purpose of the book evident or not evident in the chapter you read?

In order to accomplish the intended purpose of the book, McClendon must do two things.  First, McClendon must present a biblically consistent model of Christian spirituality utilizing Galatians 2:20.  McClendon needs to accurately interpret Galatians 2:20 so a biblical understanding of the relationship of the cross to Christian spirituality can be attained.  Second, McClendon must interact with theologies of Christian spirituality which use subjectivism culturalism to understand Christian spirituality.  This interaction must include a presentation of the spiritualities as well as a careful evaluation of these spirituality beliefs against the backdrop of the clear teaching of Scripture.

It is the opinion of this writer that McClendon accomplishes his purpose in Chapter One.  He does this in several ways.  First, he restates his approach.  A correct view of Christian spirituality evaluates one’s understanding and experience of God through the lends of Scripture.  He writes, “This view of Christian spirituality is anchored in the belief that the biblical text is foundational to the Christian life. Scripture is not to be subjected to or brought on par with one’s personal subjective knowledge of or experience with God.  The Bible, in this view, should be used to shape and correct one’s cultural understanding and expression of the Christian faith.”[4]

In what ways did interacting with alternative viewpoints help strengthen or weaken the argument being made?

McClendon’s interaction with alternative viewpoints helped to strengthen his argument about the centrality of the cross.  By engaging with other viewpoints, McClendon was able to strengthen his argument by demonstrating their inherent weaknesses, including their inconsistencies and incompatibility with Scripture.

An example of this is found in McClendon’s interaction with the delegitimizing of the cross by certain feminist theologians.  McClendon uses the teaching of Delores Williams to show the error of using personal experience and cultural sensitivities to build one’s theology of the cross.  Williams seeks to build a Christian spirituality on the basis of the life of Christ sans the cross.  This approach flows from Williams’ view that the cross represents oppression and abuse, and thereby ought to be rejected as a foundational element of Christian spirituality.  McClendon states the key problem with Williams’ view of the cross: “Williams has removed the cross from its central importance in God’s plan of redemption.”[6] McClendon utilizes Scripture to demonstrate the failure of Williams’ spirituality as she interprets Jesus’ purpose, work, and cross through the filter of subjectivism and culturalism.


[1] P. Adam McClendon, Paul’s Spirituality in Galatians: A Critique of Contemporary Christian Spiritualities (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015), 4, MyWSB.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 9.

[5] Ibid., 17-21.

[6] Ibid., 24.






Les Rich

· What was the stated purpose of the book Paul’s Spirituality in Galatians?

The book provides reasons for spirituality and how he pertains to the Christian life. Spirituality is mentioned in how a believer should emulate the life used to define the conduct of a Christian perspective. The book provides the teaching and exegetical explanation of Galatians 2:20 used towards providing a rationale to living a spiritual life as a believer. Therefore, the book suggests the misinterpretation of the passage of scripture reference, and due to the misunderstanding of the passage scripture, a subjective spirituality has is implemented. The book presents the rationale for offering believers a clear understanding of living a Christian connected spiritual life.

· What chapter did you select and read?

Chapter two is one I have selected to read. This chapter provides the importance of Christ as it relates to the passage of scripture, Galatians 2:20. The chapter shares the reason for the crucifixion of Christ as pertinent to the leading cause of living the life as a Christian of spirituality. The chapter validates the separation of spirit and the loss of flesh to obtain a more concise Christian Spirituality.1 The text suggests that a person must lose themselves as it relates to the flesh to obtain a connection with God’s spirit. In return will give Christians the Spirituality of a believer.

· Did that chapter accomplish the intended purpose of the book? In what ways was the purpose of the book evident or not evident in the chapter you read?

The author spoke of Christ as the central meaning of the passage of Galatians 2:20. Having the explanation of Christ as the central focus does contribute to the book’s overall purpose, Christian spiritual life in contemporary times, which carries over to speaks how Christians can apply the life Apostle Paul lived after his encounter with Christ in a spiritual approach.

The book was evident in the manner of the author’s description of the difference describing Apostle Paul’s application to the Galatians church with the model structure of the passage of scripture from Galatians 2:20 of living in the spirit of Christ and not of the flesh.

· In what ways did interacting with alternative viewpoints help strengthen or weaken the argument being made? (Give a specific example from the chapter where interaction was made with an alternate viewpoint.)

I am not sure the way my interaction with the reading provided a different viewpoint with assisting in developing an argument; however, I would like to suggest the readings in Chapter one mentioned; “The concern is not to live our way, but the spirit way.” 2 I would engage the text with spirituality is not what a person feels but what a person understands based on the Biblical contexts of what’s learned from scripture. The book offers spiritual meaning to practical living as a Christian. The book defaults to the first meaning of professed beliefs, experiences, practice, and spirituality.3  The combination makes a life of spirituality as a Christian.


1 P. Adam McClendon, Paul’s Spirituality in GALATIANS, (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015.)


3 Ibid

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