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This indispensable guide to the search for kinship with God was written by the great nineteenth-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), whose writings set the stage for existentialism and continue to exert a lasting influence on believers and nonbelievers alike. Kierkegaard struck out against all forms of established order–including the established church This indispensable guide to the search for kinship with God was written by the great nineteenth-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), whose writings set the stage for existentialism and continue to exert a lasting influence on believers and nonbelievers alike. Kierkegaard struck out against all forms of established order–including the established church–that work to make men complacent with themselves and thereby obscure their personal responsibility to encounter God. He considered Training in Christianity his most important book. It represented his effort to replace what he believed had become "an amiable, sentimental paganism" with authentic Christianity. Kierkegaard's challenge to live out the implications of Christianity in the most personal decisions of life will greatly appeal to readers today who are trying to develop their personal integrity in accordance with the truths of revealed religion.


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This indispensable guide to the search for kinship with God was written by the great nineteenth-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), whose writings set the stage for existentialism and continue to exert a lasting influence on believers and nonbelievers alike. Kierkegaard struck out against all forms of established order–including the established church This indispensable guide to the search for kinship with God was written by the great nineteenth-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), whose writings set the stage for existentialism and continue to exert a lasting influence on believers and nonbelievers alike. Kierkegaard struck out against all forms of established order–including the established church–that work to make men complacent with themselves and thereby obscure their personal responsibility to encounter God. He considered Training in Christianity his most important book. It represented his effort to replace what he believed had become "an amiable, sentimental paganism" with authentic Christianity. Kierkegaard's challenge to live out the implications of Christianity in the most personal decisions of life will greatly appeal to readers today who are trying to develop their personal integrity in accordance with the truths of revealed religion.

30 review for Training in Christianity

  1. 5 out of 5

    John Lucy

    I can't really review Kierkegaard because I'm entirely biased. If I had never read his "Either/Or" as a freshman in college this statement may not be true, but it is regardless: I believe almost everything Kierkegaard writes, even before I've read him. It's almost to the point where if you tell me what one of his works is on, I can tell you what I think on the subject and it will be almost exactly what Kierkegaard says. That first reading of him a few years ago forever changed the trajectory of I can't really review Kierkegaard because I'm entirely biased. If I had never read his "Either/Or" as a freshman in college this statement may not be true, but it is regardless: I believe almost everything Kierkegaard writes, even before I've read him. It's almost to the point where if you tell me what one of his works is on, I can tell you what I think on the subject and it will be almost exactly what Kierkegaard says. That first reading of him a few years ago forever changed the trajectory of my thought and faith, and now I am almost in-synch with him. Of course, there's a big difference between conversing with me and conversing with Soren Aabye Kierkegaard. If you are a Christian, he is a must-read. If you are not a Christian but are at all interested in religion, he is a must-read. If you are not even that but at all interested in what the meaning of words like "love" or "freedom" are, he is a must-read. Though his language is sometimes hard to follow, you can quickly get the hang of it. Once you get the hang of the language his arguments and logic are easy to follow and very reasonable. Unlike most philosophers and theologians, he does not simply throw out ideas and barely back himself up with evidence. No, Kierkegaard generally approaches every topic, every argument, from a number of different angles before he comes to a conclusion to ensure that he is being true to life and true to the spirit of the Bible (he does not use the Bible as evidence for anything. Instead he explains the Bible, or simply takes an attitude from the Bible and then doesn't mention it at all). This book is particularly good for those seeking to understand what "church" means to them. The argument is very unique and for many people will perhaps be shocking.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fariba

    Although I gave this book only three stars, there was a lot that was great about this work. Most of Practice in Christianity is centered around the verse from John 12:32: And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all to myself." Kierkegaard writes under the name Anti-Climacus although he names himself as the editor. In other words, Kierkgaard agrees 100% with Anti-Climacus, but does not want the reader to get the impression that he is an ideal Christian. Kierkegaard is also trying to Although I gave this book only three stars, there was a lot that was great about this work. Most of Practice in Christianity is centered around the verse from John 12:32: And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all to myself." Kierkegaard writes under the name Anti-Climacus although he names himself as the editor. In other words, Kierkgaard agrees 100% with Anti-Climacus, but does not want the reader to get the impression that he is an ideal Christian. Kierkegaard is also trying to learn from Anti-Climacus. The problem in Kierkegaard's Danish State Church (and certainly in our own churches) is that being Christian is like being Danish. It is a label and nothing more. Christianity is preached on Sunday and people attend church every Sunday, but people are more interested in admiring Christ rather than imitating him. Anti-Climacus argues that the problem is that people are no longer contemporaneous with Christ. Following Jesus means accepting the suffering and possibly martyrdom that comes along the way. “Christ is made into the speculative unity of God and man, or Christ is thrown out altogether and his teaching is taken, or Christ is really made into an idol. Spirit is the denial of direct immediacy. If Christ is true God, then he also must be unrecognizable, attired in unrecognizability, which is the denial of all straightforwardness. Direct recognizability is specifically characteristic of the idol. But this is what people make Christ into, and this is supposed to be earnestness. They take the direct statement and fantastically form a character corresponding to it (preferably sentimental, with the gentle look, the friendly eye, or whatever else such a foolish pastor can hit upon), and then it is directly altogether certain that Christ is God. What abominable, sentimental frivolity! No, one does not manage to become Christian at such a cheap price! He is the sign of contradiction, and by the direct statement he attaches himself to you only so that you must face the offense of the contradiction, and the thoughts of your heart are disclosed as you choose whether you will believe or not.” I do feel however that Kierkegaard did not speak enough of Grace. I understand that Grace is often taken in vain but I have always believed that the way to combat a perceived heresy is not to go to the opposite extreme. Sometimes, I got the feeling that discipleship was impossible. The book was also too long in my opinion. He repeated his points over and over again. The book could have been more concise and it still would have packed the same punch. All in all, I am glad to have reread this book. While it is flawed and not his best work (I prefer Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing and Judge For Yourselves/For Self Examination), there is much in Practice in Christianity that a Christian needs to hear.

  3. 5 out of 5

    martin

    A characteristic of paganism, Kierkegaard says, is a god who is immediately recognizable as a god; a god who is exalted and glorified is easy to worship. He accuses (his) modern-day Christendom of offering people a Christ strictly in his ascended and victorious state, and of neglecting Christ in his humiliation and 'voluntary incognito' - i.e., in his human and highly controversial form. He calls on each individual to thoroughly examine himself to make sure he would have been willing to associat A characteristic of paganism, Kierkegaard says, is a god who is immediately recognizable as a god; a god who is exalted and glorified is easy to worship. He accuses (his) modern-day Christendom of offering people a Christ strictly in his ascended and victorious state, and of neglecting Christ in his humiliation and 'voluntary incognito' - i.e., in his human and highly controversial form. He calls on each individual to thoroughly examine himself to make sure he would have been willing to associate with and follow Christ had he been his contemporary, which would have resulted in being despised and stigmatized; a mere admirer, he says, is an insult to Christ - only the follower pays the price of true worship. Kierkegaard doesn't neglect the Christ exalted on high, but reminds us that he came to present his message in a far more humble and polarizing form: by being himself the Truth, he exposed and still exposes all people's hearts by their reaction to him in his humility. Thus Kierkegaard brings a balanced point of view back to the idea of the 'God-man' that I would venture to say still tends to be lacking today in Christendom.

  4. 5 out of 5

    нєνєℓ ¢ανα

    One of the best writing works by Soren Kierkegaard. I love it to the core. It's so inspirational and so thoughtful that it'll make anyone to percieve the best in Christianity and its deeply ideals to be lived with. One of the best writing works by Soren Kierkegaard. I love it to the core. It's so inspirational and so thoughtful that it'll make anyone to percieve the best in Christianity and its deeply ideals to be lived with.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John Morris

    The first Kierkegaard I've read and a good one to start on. After seeing several authors I love regularly cite his works and reading up on Christian existentialism, I figured I would enjoy his works. Kierkegaard described this book (also known as "Practice in Christianity") as his "most perfect and truest book." It is split into three parts -- each of which could serve as its own work. In part 1, Kierkegaard provides philosophical insight to Jesus's words to "come hither unto me, all ye that labo The first Kierkegaard I've read and a good one to start on. After seeing several authors I love regularly cite his works and reading up on Christian existentialism, I figured I would enjoy his works. Kierkegaard described this book (also known as "Practice in Christianity") as his "most perfect and truest book." It is split into three parts -- each of which could serve as its own work. In part 1, Kierkegaard provides philosophical insight to Jesus's words to "come hither unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, I will give you rest." He focuses on putting this statement into context by explaining what this statement means coming from the God man who himself leaves his place on high to suffer on Earth. Kierkegaard believes to hither with Christ is to embrace a form of righteous suffering that the bulk of the church in his era (and the modern church) refuses to embrace. This candid acceptance of humility and consciousness of sin, he argues, is to be contemporaneous with Christ and enter Christianity through the narrow way. Part 2 covers the necessity of the offense of Christianity. Kierkegaard believes that practicing Christianity should not be profitable from an Earthly, material sense. If Christianity is to live a Christ-like life, it includes suffering and embracing the absurd, anti-establishment outlook that Jesus had. He cites (still relevant) examples of the church calling righteous endeavors silly as being evidence of the offense Christians out to embrace. "That the heathen thought to do God a service by killing an Apostle is not so crazy as that 'true Christians' are persecuted in 'Christendom,' and that thus 'the Christians' think that thereby they do service to God." Christians are out of touch with themselves and the radical nature of Christ by getting caught up in the established system. Christ's teachings aren't to be the direct subject of teaching but rather indirect messages to inspire reflection and action towards a radical life of faith and love. The final part digs into Christ's commitment to draw all unto himself on high. Kierkegaard does not believe we are to meet Christ directly on high, rather mimic Christ's ascension to high through lowliness and inwardness on Earth. Christ draws us to be more inward and reflective which leads us to experience acceptance from God (thus, in the end, being drawn to Christ on high). Again, Kierkegaard is hypercritical of what he calls established "Christendom." "Christ never desired to conquer in this world; He came to the world to suffer, that is what He called conquering." He then goes deeper and contrasts what it means to admire Christ vs. follow Christ which he believes Christ has called us to. In admiring Christ, Christians get caught up in spiritual loftiness but overlook, perhaps, Earthly lowliness. To truly admire Christ is to mimic him -- to follow his example of life. This is the profound difference between authentic Christianity and cultural, luke-warm Christendom to Kierkegaard. If I haven't made it obvious enough, this book was a lot. I read and reread slowly and still surely have not processed the depth of the messages Kierkegaard presented. I anticipate coming back to this one down the road or engaging with more of Kierkegaard's literature. Some of his takes are a bit too abstract, philosophical, or targeted for me, but I am certain that he is addressing many of the questions still unanswered and ignored by the mainstream church today. Training in Christianity is an excellent, dense, and convicting read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Seth Pierce

    This was my first foray into Kierkegaard and I must say, despite the difficult passages, I found many fresh insights that challenged me theologically and practically. The book is a strong reaction against the "established church" and how it is devoid of the suffering/incarnational components of Christian life. Soren critiques out tendency to promote becoming an admirer of Christ as opposed to an imitator. It is too daunting to summarize this work here, but one of my favorite thoughts is the autho This was my first foray into Kierkegaard and I must say, despite the difficult passages, I found many fresh insights that challenged me theologically and practically. The book is a strong reaction against the "established church" and how it is devoid of the suffering/incarnational components of Christian life. Soren critiques out tendency to promote becoming an admirer of Christ as opposed to an imitator. It is too daunting to summarize this work here, but one of my favorite thoughts is the author's challenge tat when Christ bid us to come follow Him He did so from His "abasement" and not His glorification. Too often we skip past this and bask in the glory of the risen Lord (which is great and necessary), which can lead to a shallow life devoid of the sacrificial love and humility that provides the best argument for the way of Jesus. The problem, however, is Kierkegaard tends to overstate a few things (like how no one has contributed anything to Christianity for 1800 years) and he is very repetitive. Good read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brett Francis

    This was a difficult read for me, simply because of his complex syntax and long sentences. I found plenty of gems of wisdom and a vocabulary through which I can discuss topics mentioned in the book with others, but there were plenty of sections which weighed down so heavily that it was hard to get through. I found it a little comforting when I had reached the end of some 4 or 5 extremely boring pages to see a footnote from the translator basically admitting to how dull a read these last 4 or 5 p This was a difficult read for me, simply because of his complex syntax and long sentences. I found plenty of gems of wisdom and a vocabulary through which I can discuss topics mentioned in the book with others, but there were plenty of sections which weighed down so heavily that it was hard to get through. I found it a little comforting when I had reached the end of some 4 or 5 extremely boring pages to see a footnote from the translator basically admitting to how dull a read these last 4 or 5 pages have been. But still, I wasn't strongly moved by anything mentioned in here. Perhaps one or two quotes were actually worth keeping in mind in the future.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Moore

    Good

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bill Taylor

    How you rate a book by SK ultimately depends on familiarity with the exceedingly extensive and varied corpus of his writings -- published and unpublished. Whatever is attributed to SK, he was fundamentally a Christian thinker seeking to expound the fundamental importance (to individual existence) of a relationship in FAITH to the GOD-MAN PARADOX, the ULTIMATE, JESUS CHRIST. This book comes late in his authorship and is one of most direct expositions of his Christian conviction. To a reader unfami How you rate a book by SK ultimately depends on familiarity with the exceedingly extensive and varied corpus of his writings -- published and unpublished. Whatever is attributed to SK, he was fundamentally a Christian thinker seeking to expound the fundamental importance (to individual existence) of a relationship in FAITH to the GOD-MAN PARADOX, the ULTIMATE, JESUS CHRIST. This book comes late in his authorship and is one of most direct expositions of his Christian conviction. To a reader unfamiliar with SK, be prepared to "fight through" stilted (and perhaps infelicitous) Danish to English translations coupled with SK's own prolix and intricate style.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jo Malo

    My favorite, so far, in his critique of Christendom, and much more accessible than his philosophical works. His religious writings soar far above theological abstractions and the priest class, whether homely or institutionalized, that the individual trying to become a Christian is painfully reminded who Jesus actually was to him contemporaries. Kierkegaard has been widely sourced by existentialist writers who loved his emphasis on the individual but eschewed his choice of struggling to become a My favorite, so far, in his critique of Christendom, and much more accessible than his philosophical works. His religious writings soar far above theological abstractions and the priest class, whether homely or institutionalized, that the individual trying to become a Christian is painfully reminded who Jesus actually was to him contemporaries. Kierkegaard has been widely sourced by existentialist writers who loved his emphasis on the individual but eschewed his choice of struggling to become a Christian. Kierkegaard's milieu was so different from our own, but contemporaneity with Jesus is always possible if one isn't trying to avoid the cost of discipleship for cheap grace.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alex Obrigewitsch

    Certainly not my favorite of Kierkegaard's works. Here the writings center once again around the fallen nature of the Danish Church in Kierkegaard's time. He believed that the people's admiration of Christ was an affront to God, for he asked to be followed, to be imitated. One must attempt to lived the worldly abased life like that of Christ, following the Imitatio Christi. While not as great as, say, The Sickness Unto Death, or Fear and Trembling, it is still distinctly Kierkegaard. Certainly not my favorite of Kierkegaard's works. Here the writings center once again around the fallen nature of the Danish Church in Kierkegaard's time. He believed that the people's admiration of Christ was an affront to God, for he asked to be followed, to be imitated. One must attempt to lived the worldly abased life like that of Christ, following the Imitatio Christi. While not as great as, say, The Sickness Unto Death, or Fear and Trembling, it is still distinctly Kierkegaard.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Peter Prentice

    Much like The Sickness unto Death, Practice in Christianity is a fine text that scrutinises but also attempts to understand the ever pushing requirement to imitate the perfect, for religious people. He provides valuable insight into the notion of that who has faith, particularly this notion of a 'leap'. Much like The Sickness unto Death, Practice in Christianity is a fine text that scrutinises but also attempts to understand the ever pushing requirement to imitate the perfect, for religious people. He provides valuable insight into the notion of that who has faith, particularly this notion of a 'leap'.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mona Bomgaars

    A difficult read. It helps to have someone to discuss it with. I most appreciated the section on followers versus admirers as it reflects on Jesus, the God-Man.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    This is one of two books SK published under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus, intended as a Christian counterpoint to one of his other pseudonyms, Johannes Climacus. Kierkegaard himself ranked his place a little higher than the latter, but not as high as the former. That is, he allows Anti-Climacus to speak to matters in a way that would have seems presumptuous or embarrassing to he, Kierkegaard. In point of fact no one in 1848 Copenhagen had any doubt about who the agent that put pen to paper in the This is one of two books SK published under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus, intended as a Christian counterpoint to one of his other pseudonyms, Johannes Climacus. Kierkegaard himself ranked his place a little higher than the latter, but not as high as the former. That is, he allows Anti-Climacus to speak to matters in a way that would have seems presumptuous or embarrassing to he, Kierkegaard. In point of fact no one in 1848 Copenhagen had any doubt about who the agent that put pen to paper in these works really was, but SK himself would insist that the pseudonyms, though his creation, are in fact the actual authors of the books that bear their name. In my opinion, this book, intended as a sequel to the much shorter (and much more interesting) Sickness Unto Death is more of a sermon or series of sermons than a philosophical treatise. I am not a believer, so perhaps it is inevitable that I would find myself a little put off by the book, but I have read Kierkegaard with enjoyment and fascination since my first encounter with his writings in 1982, and devoted fully a third of my doctoral dissertation to his thought. I do not regard this as one of his best books, but I do regard it as a fully developed statement of his contempt for the pretentiousness and complacency of Danish Christendom, of his own passionate interest in and uncertainty about what it means to be a true Christian, and a pious declaration of love and devotion to his savior. I would recommend a different volume above this, a series of his "Edifying Discourses" (rendered more literally as "Upbuilding" in the Hongs' translation of the 18 SK published simultaneously with his pseudonymous output). As always in this volume the Hong and Hong translation is a labor of love and thoroughness, with lots of notes and inclusion of many references to drafts and to Kierkegaard's voluminous journals.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    My favorite work by Kierkegaard (that I've read so far). A challenging book in the best sense, though also one of his most readable. It carries you along in a deep dive into what Christ is all about. Along the way Kierkegaard dismantles popular notions (at least popular in the 19th century Denmark, but generally still very relevant today) of Christ. As with other Kierkegaard works like "Fear and Trembling", the emphasis is on the individual taking seriously his/her life and their relationship to My favorite work by Kierkegaard (that I've read so far). A challenging book in the best sense, though also one of his most readable. It carries you along in a deep dive into what Christ is all about. Along the way Kierkegaard dismantles popular notions (at least popular in the 19th century Denmark, but generally still very relevant today) of Christ. As with other Kierkegaard works like "Fear and Trembling", the emphasis is on the individual taking seriously his/her life and their relationship to God (as you would expect from the father of existentialism). Kierkegaard's main task is to, in a sense, remove many of the religious paradigms that enshroud Christ in our minds and distances us from just how singular He is. Highly recommended, especially for Christians - however non-Christians will benefit from reading an in-depth look at what makes Christ such a radical figure (radical in every sense) with almost no reference to dogma except occasionally to dismantle it when Kierkegaard finds it suspect.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brent Soderstrum

    I love saying the author's name. I don't love reading his books. It is probably the language of a mid 19th century Danish author but as I read it I felt like I was back in my Religion 101 class in undergrad. Slow, dull, boring and a fight to get through. Books shouldn't be that way. His ideas may be great but the presentation was lacking. I know the response will be "How dare you? Kierkegaard is a genius." And I agree he might be but books should be pleasurable to read, not a battle. I love saying the author's name. I don't love reading his books. It is probably the language of a mid 19th century Danish author but as I read it I felt like I was back in my Religion 101 class in undergrad. Slow, dull, boring and a fight to get through. Books shouldn't be that way. His ideas may be great but the presentation was lacking. I know the response will be "How dare you? Kierkegaard is a genius." And I agree he might be but books should be pleasurable to read, not a battle.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vince

    Need to have read "Fear and Trembling", "The Concept of Anxiety", and "Sickness unto Death" --- and maybe an interpretive text as well. Then "Practice in Christianity" examines the 'true Christian" in contrast to the totalitarianism of Hegel's philosophy which was informing the Evangelical Church in Europe. Need to have read "Fear and Trembling", "The Concept of Anxiety", and "Sickness unto Death" --- and maybe an interpretive text as well. Then "Practice in Christianity" examines the 'true Christian" in contrast to the totalitarianism of Hegel's philosophy which was informing the Evangelical Church in Europe.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Austin Sill

    Perhaps the most important book I have read on Christianity to date. Kierkegaard's perspective, although 150 years passed, couldn't be more relevant to the current struggle of essential Christianity within the modern context of established, evangelical Christendom. A must read for anyone who desires a more "true" faith. Perhaps the most important book I have read on Christianity to date. Kierkegaard's perspective, although 150 years passed, couldn't be more relevant to the current struggle of essential Christianity within the modern context of established, evangelical Christendom. A must read for anyone who desires a more "true" faith.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kafkasfriend

    What it means to be a Christian and how Christianity is a being in the world. For Kirekegaard Christianity was not a subject of debate one either was or was not faith is not a thing to be considered only its practice can be considered and debated and this is what his entire works are about. Read one read the rest and you will never need to read anything else.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Reinier Markus

    I read the Dutch translation. Not easy to read, but it says a lot about christianity in general and the (Danish) church in the 19th century in particular. Some parts are still relevant in this decade as well.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Scott Burton

    Kierkegaard is his normal quirky self here, asking questions and stepping outside the box in ways that many fear to do. This volume contains some of the best commentary on Matthew 11:28 that I have ever read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wyatt Houtz

    Skimmed appendix

  23. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Hall

    My son's fascination with K. started me reading him. This book is excellent. I'm not surprised that the Presbyterian Francis Shaeffer would get him wrong. My son's fascination with K. started me reading him. This book is excellent. I'm not surprised that the Presbyterian Francis Shaeffer would get him wrong.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cheney

  25. 5 out of 5

    Josh Mangioni

  26. 4 out of 5

    James Holton

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zac

  29. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Harder

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shinji

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