Aiming at Maturity: The Goal of the Christian Life
It seems that much of American Christianity has lost sight of the goal of growing to maturity in Christ. This loss of vision has had serious consequences for the quality of our witness and ministry. In Aiming at Maturity, Steven W. Rankin seeks to bring back into focus key qualities of spiritual maturity and summarizes important biblical passages to show the scriptural foundations that call for spiritual maturity. Rankin also addresses certain tendencies in popular Christian culture to reduce doctrinal truths to sound bites with the laudable but counterproductive goal to make doctrine memorable, therefore applicable. Thinking more expansively about certain key doctrines related to the work of Christ and the impact of grace contributes to growth toward maturity in a way that popular descriptions of these doctrines do not. Finally, Rankin also challenges readers to consider the important role of emotions in developing Christlike dispositions, which contribute toward producing the fruit of a mature Christian life. By looking at relevant modern research, Aiming at Maturity shows the inherent connection between thoughts and feelings that draw us closer to the actual biblical description of the heart.


A Reader Review: “”Aiming at Maturity: The Goal of the Christian Life” is a book that I’ve been waiting to read for a long time. It is a much-needed book in the life of the church for both lay and clergy for many reasons. First, Rankin presents all too necessary lessons in theology. This emphasis on theology, particularly for local churches, is long overdue. In describing complex theological ideas, Rankin is great to define the technical terms for the reader as well as offer an explanation in more familiar terms, using examples from his personal experience to which the reader can relate. Secondly, Rankin offers a very comprehensive view of salvation, as including justification and sanctification. I really appreciate this because, not only does it make sense in human experience, but it is also Biblical! Additionally, the common understanding of salvation in much of American Christianity is malnourished. Unfortunately, this effort to simplify the Gospel message does more harm than good in most cases. Aiming at Maturity serves to supplement the underemphasized aspects of the Christian life. Finally, I really appreciate Rankin’s humility. While he is not shy to acknowledge his own biases, tradition, and beliefs, he does so in a way that invites conversation. For church leaders, church members, and even for those that are estranged from the church, I highly recommend Aiming at Maturity as a text that can be very beneficial. Aiming at Maturity hits the bullseye–it’s time for the church to grow up!”

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“Amid the wreck of things” | Christian History Magazine By Stephen Rankin
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #104 in 2013]

Confessor-in-chief | Christian History Magazine By Stephen Rankin
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #111 in 2014]

“John Calvin and John Wesley on Sanctification,” in Embodying Wesley’s Catholicity.  (Eugene, OR, Pickwick, 2017.)




“A Particular Ministry in a Pluralistic Context” in The Prophetic Voice and Making Peace: Theological Reflections on United Methodist Collegiate Ministries. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016)




“What’s Wrong with ‘Meaning Making’ to Describe Faith?  The Problem of Sharon Parks’ Kantian Assumptions for Student Development,” in Todd Ream… eds., A Faith for the Generations: How Collegiate Experience Impacts Faith, (Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University Press, 2015).




“And the Things You Have Heard from Me: Discipling Emerging Adults,” in Lyle Dorsett and Ajith Fernando, eds., Fulfilling the Great Commission: Essays in Honor of Dr. Robert Coleman (Franklin, TN: Seedbed Publishing, 2015).




Introduction, Thirteen Discourses on the Sermon on the Mount, (Franklin, TN: Seedbed Publishing, 2014).





“The People Called Methodists” in Henry H. Knight, III, ed., From Aldersgate to Azusa Street: Wesleyan, Holiness and Pentecostal Visions of the New Creation (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2010).

“An Affectional Epistemology” in Henry Knight, et. al., From Azusa to Aldersgate… (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2010).



“DISCIPLE Bible Study and Transformed Lives” in W. Stephen Gunter and Elaine A. Robinson, eds., Considering the Great Commission: Toward a Wesleyan Praxis of Mission and Evangelism, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005)




 “How an Obscure Bible Verse Sparks Thinking about Our Work with Young People,” in Henk Pieterse, ed., The Promise of Campus Ministry, (Nashville: General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, 2010).



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