In spite of the Imitation's Catholic influences, Evangelical readers who emphasize a personal relationship with Christ should still find much to like because of its emphasis on intimacy with Christ and simple, practical spirituality. These same desires once drew me to the Bible Church movement.

CONCLUSION

Recommended for any believer who feels modern worship and devotional practices are shallow. Also recommended for anyone who wishes to reconnect with the great spiritual streams of living water offered by the medieval church.[7]

Besides Creasy's translation, the Imitation  is available in a number of translations and internet versions. For example a PDF is available (http://wesley.nnu.edu/wesleyctr/books/1201-1300/HDM1212.pdf) and a MP3 is available (http://librivox.org/the-imitation-of-christ-by-thomas-a-kempis/) The Christian Classics Etheral Library Version is at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/kempis/imitation.all.html. And finally, the project Gutenberg version can be found at http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/t#a682.



[1] Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer.

[2] An Experiment in Criticism.

[3] The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves.

[4] Though meant to shelter men's souls from the dangers of the world, the monastery was still no protection from plague. The black death wiped out nearly 1/3 of Europe during the 14th century, and continued to be virulent for centuries afterward.

[5] Groote (1340-1384) founded the Brothers of the Common Life and began the Devotion Moderna movement. Thomas' monastery followed Groote's spiritual practices.

[6] Cf. Imitation 1:20 and Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales 7:3-4.

[7] Please do not take my comments to Evangelical readers as a critique of the Roman Catholic Church. My experience within Evangelicalism suggests a general suspicion towards anything associated with Roman Catholicism. I shared similiar suspicions until I studied Church history and grew to appreciate different contributions from the varying denominations in the Body of Christ (both before and after the Protestant Reformation). For more on such contributions, see Richard Foster's Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of the Christian Faith.

Stanley J. Ward serves as the Biblical Worldview Director at The Brook Hill School (www.brookhill.org) and frequently speaks at conferences (www.stanleyjward.com). He is also a PhD candidate and napkin theologian (www.napkinvideo.com).

Publication date: February 18, 2011