Streams of Living Water

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Streams of Living Water


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A Bit Dry, but some good stuff Review by Adam Shields

Foster is known for a several classic Christian books, Celebration of Discipline and Prayer. These are both classics for a reason. I have also previously read his Freedom of Simplicity.

This is not the classic that the first two are, but it is a good and useful in Foster’s attempt at drawing the church together. The basic idea of Streams of Faith is to introduce the reader to the six basic “streams” that most Christians find themselves in. These streams are the Contempletive, Holiness, Social Justice, Evangelical, Charismatic, and Incarnational traditions. Many denominations have some roots in more than one of these streams but often have some level of hierarchy of which stream is more important.

Foster’s contribution is to try and show the strength of each of these streams through not only a description of their theology and practice but also through people. He picks a biblical person and a post biblical person as examples of that stream. Some of his choices are famous and well known, some are not. And a couple are examples in a stream that I would not have put them in.

The best part of this book is his attempts to be fair to the stream and really focus on its positives and its contributions to the Universal church. Foster thinks that the whole is required to really be healthy. He is not encouraging us to leave our own stream, but instead to acknowledge our need for the rest of the body. He does spend a little time in every stream with some cautions for that stream. But as he says several times, the strengths, taken too far are usually the weaknesses. The focus of those cautions is more encouragement to reach out, than chastisement. This is where the whole church theology really makes the church universal more healthy than the church local.

The main problem is that the book can be a bit dry. It could have been edited a bit shorter. But it is really is trying to do a lot in a fairly short book. If you can get past the dryness, it is a great introduction to the church universal, in a format that is different from most.


Format note: I listened to this as an audiobook. It might have been better to read it myself. I found myself not paying close attention at times and I drifted (like I said, it could be a little dry.) But the narration was good.

Originally posted on my blog at

(Posted on 8/5/11)

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