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Simply Spirit-Filled

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Member Reviews

I appreciate that the author takes a very balanced and careful approach. A lot of scripture was utilized, including contextual background. The author was honest about his own personal experiences growing up in Pentecostal churches as well as personal experiences he had with the Holy Spirit. He also included careful criticism of behaviors that are not biblical.

Topics covered are speaking in tongues, shaking in the Spirit, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophecy, healing, faith is not measured by positive confession, faith does not necessarily increase with increased expectation, errors of the prosperity gospel, etc.

I will include several quotes I appreciated:

“I think of Moses and his encounter with God at the burning bush (Exodus 3), and I am reminded that many people in the Bible had intimate and intense encounters with God without losing control of themselves in any way—they didn’t have to shake or fall. Therefore, we should not make the dangerous conclusion that out-of-the-ordinary experiences with God are indicators of our spiritual vitality (more on this in a later chapter). Remember, falling or shaking was not a normal experience for people in the Bible. These experiences are unusual precisely because they are out of the ordinary. So we should not expect them to happen ordinarily or try to manufacture them. Moreover, people who have never experienced shaking or falling should not feel guilty. If God really wanted all Christians to have and expect these experiences, I’m sure God would have made this clearer in the Bible.”

“The  gifts of the Spirit aren’t primarily for our own personal benefit. God doesn’t give us gifts so we can have some sort of a spiritual experience, an emotional high, or to build an international ministry with our name on it. The gifts are for the health of the church. They are for others.”

“Jesus worked miracles despite [people’s] little faith. Just as God is not limited by our expectations, God is not limited by our level of faith. And so, Jesus saved the disciples and calmed the stormy sea, even though they had little faith. And Peter may have begun to sink, but he still walked on water.”

If you are curious to learn more about the Holy Spirit or the gifts of the Spirit, this is a wonderful, balanced place to start. 

I was offered an ARC copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Simply Spirit-Filled: Experiencing God
in the Presence and Power of the Holy
Spirit
By Andrew Gabriel, Ph.D. (Emanate Books/ Thomas
Nelson Publishers; 2019)
The author has used his own journey in growing up in a
Pentecostal/charismatic church, then becoming disillusioned with the active
role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life, to becoming more informed and
comfortable of the biblical standards of what it truly means to be a
“Spirit-filled Christian” today. Now, the author has found and wants to
encourage others to realize that all believers should not be scared of the
Holy Spirit because of the excesses and poor theology of some; but, rather
to recognize that the Holy Spirit is vital to living the true life of a follower of
Jesus.

After covering his own journey toward a scriptural view of the Person and
work of the Holy Spirit as described in the New Testament and practiced in
the life of the church, Gabriel then discusses some of the more
controversial and problematic aspects of the activity of the Holy Spirit ---
including being “slain in the Spirit;” words of knowledge and prophecy;
praying in tongues; miracles of healing; and gifts of the Spirit (as mentioned
in passages such as Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I
Peter 4). The author does an understandable and gracious job of
examining both excesses and true biblical spiritual activity, and offers to his
readers his conviction that all Christians should strive to have the Spirit to
be an active part of their lives for the ministry of the church, but not to get
captured by the unbiblical and attention-seeking behavior of some.

Gabriel is convinced that believers should not shun the Person of the Holy
Spirit and all the benefits he brings, while also helping readers to realize
that the spiritual gifts are truly given by God as “gifts” for the building up of
the Bod of Christ, and not to be too prideful or unnecessarily timid about
seeking out and enjoying this great gift given by God to facilitate our
sanctification and growing in Christlikeness.
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I really appreciated reading about the author's personal experiences with the Holy Spirit, and hearing of his initial skepticism.  I also like that his writing comes from a highly intellectual and intelligent perspective.  I felt that I could clearly understand his arguments for what he believed, even when I didn't fully agree.  I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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What a great and simple read about the Holy Spirit! While oriented towards those familiar with the Pentecostal/Charismatic tradition, it would be a great introductory read for anyone from any church background. I strongly encourage anyone to read this book. Andrew Gabriel writes an accessible and scripturally accurate read.
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