Books that J.P. has authored, edited, or contributed articles.
The Lost Virtue of Happiness: Discovering The Disciplines of the Good Life
Order from

Lost Virtue of Happiness
by J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler

  • Title: The Lost Virtue of Happiness: Discovering The Disciplines of the Good Life
  • Publish Date: 1/17/2006
  • Discount: 32%
  • Publisher: NavPress
  • Audience:
  • Kingdom Categories: ,

The Lost Virtue of Happiness was birthed out of a mutually-shared burden with my co-author, colleague and dear friend, Klaus Issler. It is delightful to have twenty-five years of friendship built into this book.


In our eight, practical chapters, Klaus and I are fundamentally burdened by two basic issues: (1) how the contemporary concept of happiness (“happiness as pleasurable satisfaction”) has failed to offer a vision and means for a fulfilled, flourishing life for human beings; and (2) how the vision and means of Jesus’ call to come and be his disciple or apprentice is in fact the sort of happiness that we are meant to experience in this life (I further enlarge these two issues and their interrelationship in my 2007 book, Kingdom Triangle, and also in my 2009 book, The God Question).

Thus, in my chapter 1 and 2, I try to show how to gain happiness by practicing self-denial as a disciple of Jesus and how that is meaningful and relevant to the contemporary quest for happiness. Indispensable to being a disciple of Jesus is learning to form a tender, receptive heart, which Klaus helpfully addresses in chapter 3. My chapter 4 extends Klaus’ discussion by focusing on what it means to form a thoughtful mind that stays focused on God, which is a microcosm of what I also tried to develop in my 1997 book, Love Your God with All Your Mind. Klaus’ chapter 5 takes seriously the formation of a trusting will that cooperatively risks with God and His work in this world. This matter is so important, especially in light of a well-formed heart and mind (Klaus and I extend this discussion further in our 2008 book, In Search of a Confident Faith).

Chapters 1-5 are foundational for then understanding what we do in the remaining three chapters of the book. For example, drawing from biblical and early church wisdom, Klaus shows how we must learn to embrace the “hiddenness of God” (chapter 6) and why that is integral to us learning to be Jesus’ disciples. In chapter 7, I reveal for the first time in print my own hardship with anxiety and depression and how I have learned to defeat it in light of its spiritual, chemical and psychological factors. Finally, Klaus’ chapter 8 handsomely ties the book together by showing how we are made for friendship with God and with each other, and that in the absence of spiritual friendships, are lives will not experience the sort of flourishing and goodness of life that they are meant to have.


Speaking of friendships. The Lost Virtue of Happiness was written at a crucial time in my journey with the people of God. My wife (Hope) and I had been attending the Vineyard Anaheim church (with the Isslers) for a few years prior to this book coming out. That fellowship was, and continues to be, a place of safety, openness, love and responsiveness to each other under the presence of God. For example, my ability to process the challenges of anxiety and depression would not have been as healthy of an experience as they were if it were not for our church and her leaders. Moreover, my confidence in being a disciple of Jesus and learning to cooperative with His work in my life has been strengthened in manifold ways due to the sort of teaching, leadership, and modeling of the Vineyard Anaheim church.

Find This Book in a Library

Related Content: If The Lost Virtue of Happiness interests you, you might also want to consider the following:



  • It offers a clear perspective on the difference between classical and contemporary “happiness” and shows how Christian discipleship is within the tradition of the former.
  • It presents helpful questions at the end of each chapter to utilize for personal or group discussion and reflection.
  • It presents the material in an attractive, digestible and useful fashion
  • It helpfully shows and illustrates the importance of Christian spiritual disciplines and their relevancy for ordinary life.
  • It strategically cultivates the development of both the Christian mind and heart.
  • It provides honest and useful insight concerning often unspoken topics like the “hiddenness of God” and how to think Christianly about anxiety and depression.
  • It helps the reader to become a happy person in both senses of the term.

Table of Contents: Acknowledgments 1. Today's confusion about happiness 2. Gaining happiness by losing your life 3. Forming a tender, receptive heart 4. Forming a thoughtful mind stayed on God 5. Forming a trusting will that risks with God 6. Embracing the hiddenness of God 7. Defeating two hardships of life : anxiety and depression 8. Cultivating spiritual friendships Epilogue Notes About the Authors

Endorsements: From Publishers Weekly Starting from the American "pursuit of happiness," Moreland (a philosophy professor at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University) and Issler (a Christian education and theology professor, also at Talbot) connect with a widely felt desire. Yet they immediately take readers into deeper reflection of the very content of the happiness we pursue, arguing that our consumerist culture has replaced the more satisfying content of true happiness with a poor substitute. Moving smoothly into a discussion of discipleship, they focus on spiritual disciplines as the key to true happiness in life. Subsequent chapters explore how the spiritual disciplines can be used to improve many areas of our lives–emotions, thoughts, risk taking and the development of a more mature faith during difficult times. They end with a convincing chapter on the importance of spiritual friendships. Although exploring some deep topics, this will still be accessible to most readers and very useful for study groups, particularly with the excellent discussion questions at the end of each chapter. The practical suggestions and creative exercises throughout will be particularly helpful for those new to spiritual disciplines. (Feb.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Comment With Care

You may Login or , or simply comment:

One Response to 'Lost Virtue of Happiness'

  1. Teri Marcos says:

    Dr. Moreland,

    I love your book and have learned transformational skills and strategies through your wonderful work. You spoke at my church several years back and I purchased your two books, Lost Virtue of Happiness and Kingdom Triangle then. I’ve since lost two significant men in my life (dad and brother) just four months apart. While still healing, I am fascinated (and so blessed) at your words, inspired right out of heaven, and so true for me.

    I am professor and director of Ed. Leadership at APU. Are you still at Biola. Would LOVE to connect with you about a study I’ve just completed on the spiritual formation of women executive leaders across the CCCU.

    Blessings to you, Dr.

    Teri Marcos, Ed.D
    Professor, Director, MA in Educational Leadership – Tier I PASC
    Azusa Pacific University
    (626) 815-5375