Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith” as Want to Read:
Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  105 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Does your body really matter? You are flesh and blood. It’s easy to forget this, living as if your mind and soul were all that mattered. But ignoring your body leads to an incomplete, ineffective life. God created us from the dust, and being physical beings in a physical world affects everything from our use of technology to our sexuality and our worship. In this provocati ...more
Audio, 0 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Oasis Audio (first published January 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Earthen Vessels, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Earthen Vessels

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 328)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
4.5 stars

I vacillated between four and five stars. I'm really impressed with this book...this book that took me eight months to finish. Every time I read a section, I underlined, starred, check marked; but when I reached for a book, this book kept slipping to the lower section of my nightstand stack.

I don't have leisure right now to mine the book for quotes and untangle my thoughts into a coherent response (there is a baby girl in my house this week who supersedes Goodreads) but I will say this
Kevin Greenlee
Aug 18, 2011 Kevin Greenlee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Matthew Lee Anderson, author of Earthen Vessels, has been told through Twitter than I am terribly mean and know only how to bruise and destroy. Thankfully, the person who told Anderson this was joking, since I don't think I could live up to that reputation - most of what I have to say about Earthen Vessels is good.

In the first half of the book, Anderson lays out a basic picture of what he thinks the body is, and who he thinks his audience is. None of his reflections on the body should be earth-s
Josh Bush
Jan 29, 2014 Josh Bush rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Earthen Vessels is written with a very academic tone, so not everyone is going to be able to get through it. Anderson spends several chapters setting the stage for the second half of the book by describing how our bodies are integral to our being, as opposed to just a carrier for our souls. We were created as a unified person, body and soul, with both being important to how we live out our faith. He is able to make substantive arguments on how we should approach everything that relates to our bo ...more
Frank Peters
This book was quite different from my normal selection, mostly due to the basic style of writing. It seemed to be to be conversational in style, rather than informational, academic or storytelling. As a result, I kept wondering if I had missed something, or even when the actual book would begin. Compared to a more academic book, this entire book formed a very long introduction. And that apparently was its purpose – to initiate a conversation on why our bodies matter to our faith! The author was ...more
Jul 14, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent, well-rounded, theologically based treatment of the involvement of the body in the faithful activities of the person. Anderson provides a balanced critique of modern evangelical views of the body with historical references, then suggests an overall corrective to the theology of the body, and finally, examines several current issues in light of that theology. The ethical applications of the theology of the body, pertaining to tattoos, sexuality, homosexuality, mortality, and ...more
Jared Totten
Nov 16, 2011 Jared Totten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What do tattoos, cremation, and homosexuality all have in common?* They each reveal one's fundamental belief about the body, it's design and purpose. While Christians should arguably have a higher view of the body than most, the average evangelical theology of the body often remains unexamined and merely reactionary towards cultural trends and spiritual concerns.

Matthew Lee Anderson challenges the unexamined and reactionary in his surprising new book Earthen Vessels. Not knowing what to expect o
Nov 13, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd like to thank Bethany House for the opportunity of reading and reviewing "Earthen Vessels", by Matthew Lee Anderson. This piece of literature points out exactly why our bodies matter to our faith, and Anderson uses both Scripture and common sense in his approach to explaining and educating the reader about our "Earthen Vessels", our bodies and Christ.
Man was formed from dust by God and He has used our bodies as His Vessel. It is what we as humans do with our bodies which effect our faith.
Dave Jenkins
Oct 18, 2012 Dave Jenkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Our bodies matter to God. After all God created us in His image and likeness, and breathed life into us. Even while acknowledging that precious truth, I’ve never really thought very seriously, or ever read a book that seeks to examine the relationship of our bodies to our faith. Matthew Anderson in Earthen Vessels Why Our Bodies Matter To Our Faith writes to bring awareness to the evangelical Church (and broader I’m sure) about what the Bible teaches about the human body.

In his examination of th
Mar 21, 2012 Jud rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matthew Lee Anderson’s Earthen Vessels is a hard book to pin down. The author’s voice is at once conversational and classical. (With titles like, “Preface: In Which I Clear My Throat,” I was often reminded, stylistically, of C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton.) And while he is not afraid of big words, he is somehow deceptively simple in his delivery. Imagine you have an old high school friend who grew up to be a philosopher and you guys get together for a cup of coffee – that’s Anderson’s style.

His t
Craig Hurst
Apr 17, 2012 Craig Hurst rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthropology
“The body is a temple, but the temple is in ruins. The incarnation of Jesus affirms the body’s original goodness. The death of Jesus reminds us of its need for redemption. And the resurrection of Jesus gives us hope for its restoration” (p. 31).

This is the paradox of the body according to Matthew Anderson in his first book Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith. From the curse of the fall in Genesis 3 the human body has been in decay. We live in a body of death both spiritually and
Dec 28, 2012 Yiya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Earthen Vessels" starts as a promising book. The author is interested in reminding us that our identity depends on God and not on the consumption-oriented society that we live in today. He also points out that humans, as social beings, constantly offer his body as a living sacrifice; he illustrated this point with parents taking care of a newborn, often losing sleep. He also makes a clear difference of what is culturally accepted but not biblical.

However, it all becomes really disappointing and
C.J. Stunkard
Jul 03, 2013 C.J. Stunkard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Earthen Vessels is a serious, forthright admonition from Matthew to his Christian siblings to grow in their relationship in the Lord through a better understanding of their bodies. This synopsis may sound like another emergent or evangelical attempt to subvert tradition by connecting with God through some new practice skewed toward materialism or new age sensibilities, but Matthew's work could not be further from such an assumption.

This book is grounded in not only tradition but scholarship and
Jeff Raymond
I forget how I ended up getting a copy of this book, and it's always weird to read these sorts of books geared toward an evangelically religious audience as an atheist. For me, I like having a lot of details about this sort of thinking to help understand something that I don't subscribe to , but my rating is not so much that I don't buy into it, but that it's more a book about a specific topic with a lot of detail, handled in a fairly basic way.

The theme of the book is religion and physicality,
Based on the context in which I learned about this book, I expected it to be too conservative for my taste. But because it's body theology, I still wanted to read it.

As I began to read the 2 sample chapters (Chapter 1: Earthen Vessels, Chapter 2: Evangelical Inattention and the Secular Body) I kept having the urge to correct the masculine pronouns for the First Person of the Trinity and generic humans (and also the Second Person of the Trinity, but I recognize I am much more of an outlier there)
Jan 01, 2014 Arni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading "Earthen Vessels". The premise - that the body is neglected in Evangelical doctrine and practice - I agree with, the purpose - that something must be done about that - even more so. And Matthew Lee Anderson does a very good job addressing the topic at hand, both naming the problems and proposing solutions. Throughout I kept thinking, "This guy is my age?!" He's a lot smarter than I am - or else he has a really, really good editor. So much wisdom, so much insight, such ma ...more
Apr 17, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really looking forward to reading this book. The way I grew up, everything had to be spritual -- God didn't care about anything earthly. This book, about why your BODY matters to God - therefore fascinated me. After all, Jesus took the form of a BODY, and kept that body (albeit resurrected) after rising from the dead. There were times I felt this book was a bit over my head - it's a very intellectual read. But it was an absolutely fascinating read about how we can honor God with our bodies ...more
Adam Shields
Oct 24, 2012 Adam Shields rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Review: Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith by Matthew Lee Anderson - This is the second time I have read this book. I am still as impresses as the first reading. Anderson ask a lot of interesting questions about how our bodies affect the our faith. Tattoos, homosexuality, worship, heaven and more all have implications to our theology when we take our bodies into account.

However, if you are thinking about the audiobook, I would skip it and go for the print or kindle edition
Very good on the body and what it means to be a physical being.
Deanna Rinebolt
Mar 10, 2015 Deanna Rinebolt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good book. Enjoyed reading it.
Adam Shields
Dec 21, 2011 Adam Shields rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my picks for my personal 2011 Books of the year.

Short review: The body is probably the most ignored aspect of Christian theology (especially in recent theology). This is not a complete theology of the body, he does not talk about gender, there is not as much about the sacraments as I would like, but this is a wonderful start to the conversation. I highly recommend picking it up.

A longer review on my blog at
Eve Marie
Mar 26, 2012 Eve Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anderson has quickly become one of my favorite bloggers ( and this book is a very worthy first work. He writes on a topic left under-addressed among evangelical Christians: theology of the body. While nothing he says is particularly surprising, he lays a solid case for thoughtful and nuanced theological engagement of questions related to faith and physicality. Yes, it left me wanting more - but that's a good thing.
Nov 04, 2011 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Grace has a shape, and that shape is Jesus. My question is how that grace shapes our arms and legs, our skin, and other organs." pg 17
Anderson discusses in this book that the Christian life is not just the mind and the soul, but the body as well. I thought it provided some very thoughtful passages for the present day.
Jun 17, 2012 Curtis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great opening thoughts on the importance of holy attentiveness to the body in our lives as followers of Christ.
The body is the place of our personal presence and cannot be divorced from our daily walk with Christ in His body.
Aug 08, 2011 Mathew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
It's def not a topic you see very often discussed which is why I picked it up but it just wasn't very alive. The chapters seemed to drag and by the end of the book I was glad I was done. Helpful read but tedious.
Stephen Cruver
Oct 10, 2011 Stephen Cruver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very thought provoking book. There was much to ponder on with each chapter.
Oct 07, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads
Found it to be dry text where I found myself reading just to finish the book.
Dwight Hayes
Dwight Hayes marked it as to-read
May 28, 2016
Jessica Hill
Jessica Hill marked it as to-read
May 24, 2016
Jenny Knox
Jenny Knox marked it as to-read
May 22, 2016
Natalee Chidimma
Natalee Chidimma rated it really liked it
May 25, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • God Rest Ye Merry: Why Christmas Is the Foundation for Everything
  • Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow
  • A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God's Design for Life Together
  • The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind
  • Faith Speaking Understanding: Performing the Drama of Doctrine
  • The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything
  • Solomon Among the Postmoderns
  • Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality
  • Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name
  • Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ
  • God, Sexuality, and the Self: An Essay 'on the Trinity'
  • All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture
  • You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit
  • Reading for Preaching: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists
  • The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World
  • Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don't Think and What to Do about It
  • The Masculine Mandate: God's Calling to Men
  • Wisdom and Wonder: Common Grace in Science & Art

Share This Book

“The body is not a task to be completed but a gift we receive from God himself.” 4 likes
“In any miracle, chase the causation back far enough and eventually you'll find yourself irrepressibly singing in praise of the marvelous goodness of God's creation.” 3 likes
More quotes…