Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls: A Guide to Christian Approaches and Practices, Edited by Gary W. Moon and David G. Benner

Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls

A Guide to Christian Approaches and Practices

Edited by Gary W. Moon and David G. Benner

Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls
  • Length: 254 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: April 08, 2004
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 2777
  • ISBN: 9780830827770

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In recent years, many Christian clergy, laity and mental health professionals have rediscovered the ancient practices of spiritual direction. Seen as a refreshing alternative to the techniques and limitations of modern psychology, such practices offer new insights for pastoral care. But many remain unclear on what spiritual direction is and whether its methods are applicable to their own clients and parishioners.

Spiritual direction is a practice of Christian soul care that is found most notably in the Catholic, Orthodox and Episcopal traditions but is also present in Wesleyan/Holiness, Pentecostal/charismatic, social justice and Reformed communities. Predating modern counseling and psychotherapy movements but sharing key principles and insights for spiritual formation, spiritual direction offers significant resources for today?s pastors, counselors, therapists, chaplains and other caregivers attuned to the work of God in people?s lives.

In this landmark volume, editors Gary W. Moon and David G. Benner, along with a team of expert contributors, provide a comprehensive survey of spiritual direction in its myriad Christian forms. Specific chapters offer careful historical perspective and contemporary analysis of how Christians from various backgrounds have practiced spiritual direction, with particular attention to each tradition?s definition of spiritual direction, the process of authentic transformation, the role of the spiritual director, indicators of mature spirituality and other aspects of the spiritual direction process. Chapters also provide psychological and clinical insight into how spiritual direction is similar to, different from and can be integrated with psychotherapy and pastoral counseling to help others experience spiritual transformation and union with God.

"There is a tradition of wisdom about human life and the nature of change that has been lost to many of us in the evangelical community. Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls recaptures that wisdom from multiple perspectives and makes it available to us all. This is a rich resource for pastors, counselors, small group leaders and everyone interested in change."

John Ortberg, Teaching Pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church

"The variety of insightful authors brought together by the editors of this book offer the reader a unique and valuable perspective on the ways eight different Christian traditions understand and practice spiritual companionship, as well as elucidating the relation of this historic spiritual practice to modern pastoral counseling and psychotherapy. The book offers a distinctive contribution to the growing literature on this vital subject."

The Rev. Dr. Tilden Edwards, Founder and Senior Fellow, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, Bethesda, Maryland

"Is anything more needed in our present culture than spiritual direction and soul care? I think not. So I'm elated with this comprehensive guide to spiritual direction. It is both theoretical and practical. I welcome it especially for pastors, professors and persons training for ministry. Only able advocates and practitioners of spiritual direction--Dr. Benner and Dr. Moon--could have put together this remarkable resource. I commend it."

Maxie D. Dunnam, President, Asbury Theological Seminary

"Gary W. Moon and David G. Benner are respected and visionary leaders in contemporary Christian soul care. Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls is an excellent resource for those seeking to understand major traditions of spiritual direction and distinguish among psychotherapy, spiritual direction and pastoral counseling. History, wisdom, faith and compassion meet in the pages of this book."

Mark R. McMinn, Rech Professor of Psychology, Wheaton College, Author of Why Sin Matters

Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls encourages us to respond to the cry of the wider Christian faith community for true transformation by examining our particular traditions-—not to erase the important differences among them, but to find commonalities and overarching direction. This book helps us see how soul care is understood and practiced in the larger Christian world and among related disciplines of spiritual direction, pastoral counseling, and psychotherapy.

Helen H. Cepero, Christian Reflection, February 2009

"[This book] offers a sound alternative that taps into rich theological traditions and still seeks to answer questions that the modern soul is asking. . . . The book is more than a history lesson or a 'how to' guide. The book defines spiritual formation and direction, analyzes today's interest in spirituality and dares church leaders to pursue Christian soul care. . . . For pastors, counselors, laity, cell leaders, students and Christians seeking a deeper understanding of soul care, the pages serve as needed literature to define and train. The information can inspire more people to give, and receive, true care for today's souls.

Chris Maxwell, Ministries Today, March/April 2006



1. Spiritual Direction and Christian Soul Care - Gary W. Moon and David G. Benner

Part 1: The Seven Major Traditions of Christian Spirituality
2. Spiritual Direction in the Orthodox Christian Tradition - F. Gregory Rogers
3. Spiritual Direction in the Roman Catholic Tradition - Gene Barrette
4. Spiritual Direction in the Episcopal Tradition - Gray Temple
5. Spiritual Direction in the Reformed Tradition - Ben Johnson
6. Spiritual Direction in the Wesleyan-Holiness Tradition - Wesley D. Tracy
7. Spiritual Direction in the Social Justice Tradition - Jerry A. Gladson
8. Spiritual Direction in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Tradition - Oliver McMahan

Part 2: The Three Major Voices of Soul Care
9. Spiritual Direction and Psychotherapy: Conceptual Issues - Len Sperry
10. Spiritual Direction and Psychotherapy: Ethical Issues - Siang-Yang Tan
11. Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Counseling - Israel Galindo
12. Three Voices, One Song: Perspectives on the Care of Persons from a Psychologist, Spiritual Director and Pastoral Counselor - Theresa Clement Tisdale, Carrie E. Doehring and Veneta Lorraine-Poirier


List of Contributors



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Gary W. Moon

Gary W. Moon (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is director of the Martin Family Institute and Dallas Willard Center for Christian Spiritual Formation at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He is also codirector of Fuller's doctor of ministry degree program in spiritual direction, which blends ancient Christian spirituality, Ignatian spirituality, and spiritual formation insights from Dallas Willard. 

He served as distinguished professor of psychology and Christian spirituality at Richmont Graduate University, editor in chief for the journal Conversations, and the director of the Renovaré International Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation. His books include Apprenticeship with Jesus and Falling for God.

David G. Benner

David G. Benner (PhD, York University) is an internationally known depth psychologist, author, and wisdom teacher whose life's work has been directed toward facilitating human unfolding through a journey of awakening and transformation. He is the founding director, teacher, and mentor of Cascadia Living Wisdom. He has authored many books, including The Spiritual Journey trilogy: Surrender to Love, The Gift of Being Yourself, and Desiring God's Will.