Head, Heart and Hands: Bringing Together Christian Thought, Passion and Action, By Dennis P. Hollinger

Head, Heart & Hands

Bringing Together Christian Thought, Passion and Action

by Dennis P. Hollinger

Head, Heart & Hands
  • Length: 200 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: March 31, 2005
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3263
  • ISBN: 9780830832637

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As Christians, we are to love God with all of our being--heart, mind, soul and strength. But many of us tend to overemphasize one aspect or another, and as a result, our faith becomes imbalanced.

Some of us have an intellectual faith but lack compassion or spiritual discipline. Others of us have a vibrant, heartfelt relationship with God but lack commitment to truth or doctrine. And many of us overlook translating our faith into service and ministry.

In this book ethicist Dennis P. Hollinger presents a holistic, integrative vision for reuniting Christian thought, passion and action. He shows how individuals, churches and movements throughout history have focused on either the head, or the heart or the hands--often to the exclusion of other expressions. But by linking our intellect, emotions and actions, Hollinger points us toward a whole faith for the whole person, where each dimension feeds, nurtures and sustains the others.

"Anyone who wants to better know, love and serve God and their neighbor will love this book. With skillful insight, Dennis Hollinger guides us into a thoroughly biblical understanding of the holistic relationship between our thoughts, feelings, passions and actions, pointing the way to a deeper intimacy with God and a more Christlike discipleship and witness in today's world. I wish I had read something like this thirty years ago. Highly recommended!"

Thomas A. Tarrants III, President, C. S. Lewis Institute

"Dennis Hollinger's book is a gift to the church. With wisdom and care, Hollinger leads us on a journey around the pitfalls of an unbalanced life into the green pastures of healthy living that exercises head, heart and hands. The destination is nothing less than an imitation of Christ."

Stephen B. Kellough, Chaplain, Wheaton College

"This is an important book, based on a deceptively simple premise: that Christian existence, rightly understood, involves a holistic integration of head, heart and hands. Hollinger's careful exposition of his thesis points out the very many ways in which Christian faith can become unbalanced in the direction of head (mind), heart (emotion) or hands (action), as well as the sometimes disastrous consequences of these various distorted versions of Christianity.

This book could serve very well as a programmatic foundation for a local church's preaching and teaching ministry or for Christian educational institutions such as our colleges and universities. I predict that Head, Heart and Hands will be used with great value in a wide variety of such settings. I recommend this book with enthusiasm."

David P. Gushee, Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy, Union University

"Dennis Hollinger provides wise counsel for correcting a defect that plagues us all these days: the fragmenting of our lives--not only as individuals but also in our congregations and outreach ministries. We desperately need the reintegration of head, heart and hands that he calls for!"

Richard J. Mouw, President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Dennis Hollinger, in a skillful and succinct way, has covered a lot of ground in this book on such an important topic for Christian discipleship and moral formation. By providing pertinent biblical, theological and historical background on the different emphases on head, heart and hands, along with contemporary theoretical insights and pastoral concerns, Dr. Hollinger reminds us why we need to listen to the whole of the Scriptures, along with Christian tradition, for this important integration of head, heart and hands. This book, with its engaging questions and practical applications, will benefit all readers seeking to wholly love God with heart, mind and soul."

Wyndy Corbin, Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology, Ashland Theological Seminary

"Read this book. I have known Dennis Hollinger for many years. Understanding what it is to balance head, heart and hands is not just an academic exercise for Dennis. He lives it."

Richard L. Gathro, Executive Vice President, Council for Christian Colleges Universities

"We are all unbalanced, we begin to realize, as Dennis Hollinger unfolds for us the intertwining necessities for faith to be that of head, heart and hands. However, this book does not just diagnose our lopsidedness; it also offers counsel for deepening all aspects of vital and whole faith and for nurturing their mutualities. The result is not just 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, for each dimension in the totality of faith makes the other two more influential. Share this book with other 'unsound' believers."

Marva J. Dawn, author, Teaching Fellow in Spiritual Theology, Regent College

"Dennis Hollinger's book can be summed up in one word: congruency. Christians are challenged to live congruent lives. May we heed Hollinger's challenge to live our life with our head, heart and hands."

Joseph B. Modica, University Chaplain, Eastern University

"This calm, gentle and carefully reasoned book persuasively depicts Christianity as 'a whole faith for the whole person.' Through wise use of Scripture and discerning attention to everyday real life, Dennis Hollinger shows how crucial it is for faithful believers to keep together active use of the mind, deeply ingrained habits of the heart and serious engagement with the world. Head, Heart and Hands is an ideal book for promoting a full-orbed Christian faith."

Mark A. Noll, McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College, and author of The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind

"The central thesis of this book is solidly biblical: Every Christian should be bent toward integrating mind, heart and hands--the mental, emotional and practical. Can a book (mental) stir the passions (emotions) and thus lead to action (practice)? I join Dennis Hollinger in hoping it will."

James W. Sire, author of The Universe Next Door and Habits of the Mind

For pastors who suspect something might be "out of balance" in the spiritual life of their own flock--or in their own lives--Head, Heart, Hands will be a welcome corrective.

Brian Turnbow in The Covenant Quarterly, February 2008


1. Fragmented Faith and Fragmented People
2. Christian Faith and the Head
3. Distortions of the Head
4. Christian Faith and the Heart
5. Distortions of the Heart
6. Christian Faith and the Hands
7. Distortions of the Hands
8. Head, Heart and Hands Together: The Biblical Case
9. Head, Heart and Hands Together: An Interdisciplinary Perspective
10. Head, Heart and Hands Together: Implications and Challenges


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Dennis P. Hollinger

Dennis P. Hollinger (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; MPhil and PhD, Drew University) is president and Colman M. Mockler distinguished professor of Christian ethics at Evangelical School of Theology in Myerstown, Pennsylvania. Previously he was vice provost, college pastor, and professor of Christian ethics at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. He has also taught and ministered at many other schools and churches in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and Washington, DC, as well as in Kiev (Ukraine), Moscow (Russia), and Pune (India). Hollinger is the author of Choosing the Good: Christian Ethics in a Complex World (Baker, 2002) and Individualism and Social Ethics (University Press of America, 1983). He is series coeditor of Critical Issues in Bioethics, published by Eerdmans. He has also written articles in IVP's Dictionary of Christianity in America and a chapter in IVP's Christian Apologetics in the Postmodern World. And he has published or presented his work in a variety of professional journals, popular magazines, websites, and conferences.