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One Teacher’s Relentless Pursuit of Salvation, Spirituality, and the Strength to Suffer Well

Robert V. Rakestraw

foreword by Roger E. Olson

In this fascinating spiritual-theological autobiography, Robert Rakestraw tells of his lifelong, unceasing search for God. After a troubled and unconventional childhood, he came to know the grace and freedom of God in a personal way during his college years. He then embarked on an unwavering intellectual and spiritual quest for truth and meaning in life. Without technical language, Rakestraw highlights significant developments and revisions in his understanding of God and God’s ways of interacting with the world. In striking and sometimes intimate detail he relates compellingly his experiences as a student, pastor, professor, sufferer, heart-transplant recipient, and above all, seeker of God. Dr. Rakestraw’s gripping portrayal of his difficulties and sufferings, especially with regard to health issues, does not come across as depressing. Rather, it presents the sustaining love and goodness of God in such a way that will pull readers in to investigate the remarkable and freely-offered grace of God extolled by the author.

ISBN: 978-1-4982-1736-1 | 266 pp. | $30 paper | Sale price $24 | Click Here to Order Now

Robert Rakestraw (PhD, Drew University) is Professor of Theology Emeritus at Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN. He is co-editor of the widely-used textbook set, Readings in Christian Ethics, and author of Serving by the Spirit and Heart Cries. An ordained Baptist minister, he has served as pastor of two churches. He lives with his wife Judy in Spring Lake Park, MN. In 2015 he founded Grace Quest Ministries and currently serves as its Director.

“GraceQuest does not sentimentalize the lifelong journey through suffering and disability. But its rawness mediates the divine grace sure to touch and transform the hearts of many readers, even as its authenticity will encourage those who find themselves in similar circumstances.”
–AMOS YONG, Professor of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary

“Rakestraw tells the story of his life, his response to God’s call and empowerment, and his preparation for the perilous journey of dependence on another’s heart beating in his chest. He writes well, with candor and solid self-reflection . . . It is a compelling read, even for those who do not know this gentle man characterized by wisdom, grace, and purpose.”
–GEORGE K. BRUSHABER, President Emeritus, Bethel University

“This is a book for everyone who says ‘Where is God in the midst of my suffering?’ Bob Rakestraw knows. He pulls no punches, is not superficially pious, and is amazingly honest about his own suffering. It is ironic that Rakestraw has always been known for his huge heart of compassion and yet this is where he has been afflicted. Perhaps that is why Bob’s story is so powerful. It shows how, in the shelter of God’s love, even the most serious of problems can be transformed into deep wells of grace.”
–LINDA MERCADANTE, B. Robert Straker Professor of Historical Theology, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

“In this wonderful spiritual narrative from his own life, Rakestraw shines a light on the grace and presence of God. This is narrative Christian theology, to be sure, but more as well. It is a moving story of faith in the midst of struggle, prayer that never lets go of the Holy Spirit, and one man’s heart for Christ Jesus in the midst of pain.”
–ALAN PADGETT, Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary

“GraceQuest is a gripping story of one man’s (and his family’s) struggle with tremendous weakness and pain, but it is also a narrative theodicy–defense of God’s goodness in spite of the undeniable reality of evil. . . . This is an honest and hard-hitting book about God’s grace in and through tremendous loss of health and strength. Readers will find hope and help here if they are open to its message about the God-given ‘strength to suffer well.'”
–Roger E. Olson, Foy Valentine Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics, George W. Truett Theological Seminary (From the Foreword)

“[This work] by Dr. Rakestraw is important for pastors, church leaders, and professors who often succumb to the temptation to be one person in their public roles while functioning quite differently in private . . . Bob offers us a different model of wholeness and holiness . . . [and] an example of healthy personal self-reflection that is honest and open . . . What a gift this book will be to all those who read it!”
–Wyndy Corbin Reuschling, Professor of Ethics and Theology, Ashland Theological Seminary

“Bob has written a book which should prove of interest to readers on a number of levels . . . I say this [despite having] significant theological differences from Bob on a number of vital issues . . . [Hearing] about Bob’s own faith journey and theological development is fascinating . . . [and] the book is marked by honesty and vulnerability. Bob’s story of his heart problems, his heart transplant, and the struggles that mark his life are riveting and edifying. I enthusiastically recommend [GraceQuest].”
–Thomas R. Schreiner, Associate Dean, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“This book is a helpful and serious engagement with issues of suffering and grace. . . . While the autobiographical materials are engaging and interesting, this is much more than simply an autobiography of his experiences . . . [GraceQuest] . . . presents important theological issues in ways that are attractive, accessible, and understandable to lay readers . . . I am not aware of other books that so deftly meld the personal experiences and theological reflection.”
–Peter T. Vogt, Adjunct Professor of Old Testament, Bethel Theological Seminary

“Tragically, human suffering is not uncommon. Living victoriously often is. That is why GraceQuest is so essential. Filled with power from God’s invisible presence, Robert Rakestraw shows us how strength, joy and courage are possible in all circumstances. “
–Dr. Mimi Haddad, President of Christians for Biblical Equality, Adjunct Associate Professor Fuller Theological Seminary

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