Holy Spirit
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Book Review: "Keep in Step with the Spirit" by J.I. Packer

Book Review: "Keep in Step with the Spirit" by J.I. Packer

J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God, Second Revised Enlarged Edition. Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2005, 256 pp.

reviewed by Karl Dahlfred

There are a number of books that provide a theology of the work of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, there are also a number of books that critique the charismatic movement, pointing out its excesses and disputing its biblical foundation.  However, it is rare to find a book that both affirms that God is at work in the charismatic movement and also rejects the major claims of that very same movement.  But in “Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in our Walk with God”, J.I. Packer has done just that.  In just 200 pages or so, Packer lays out a positive theology of the work of the Holy Spirit and issues challenges to both cessationists and charismatics.  So what will you find inside?  Let me give you an overview.

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Book Review "Keep in Step with the Spirit" by J.I. Packer

Book Review "Keep in Step with the Spirit" by J.I. Packer

J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God, Second Revised Enlarged Edition. Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2005, 256 pp.

reviewed by Karl Dahlfred

There are a number of books that provide a theology of the work of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, there are also a number of books that critique the charismatic movement, pointing out its excesses and disputing its biblical foundation.  However, it is rare to find a book that both affirms that God is at work in the charismatic movement and also rejects the major claims of that very same movement.  But in “Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in our Walk with God”, J.I. Packer has done just that.  In just 200 pages or so, Packer lays out a positive theology of the work of the Holy Spirit and issues challenges to both cessationists and charismatics.  So what will you find inside?  Let me give you an overview.

Read more...

"Does God have Good Manners?" (or "Why Christians Don't Grow")

A few months ago I was visiting some new believers with a Thai pastor and other church members when I heard something quite disturbing. In the course of his teaching, the pastor explained that some Christians don’t have changed lives because they don’t yield to the Holy Spirit. He went on to say that God has “good manners” and therefore doesn’t force himself on anyone. If a believer yields to the Holy Spirit, then his life will change in accord with God’s will. However, if he does not yield to the Holy Spirit, then his life will not change and he will exhibit little or no evidence of being a Christian other than his profession to be a Christian.Is this really the best way to explain why professing Christians fail to show any evidence of love for Christ or obedience to his commandments? I have another theory as to why some professing Christians don’t show any evidence of conversion. They were never truly converted to begin with!! Some may say that this sounds judgmental but I believe that there is sufficient Biblical support for such a conclusion.The Bible has absolutely no category for people who have trusted in Christ as Savior but have not repented (turned) from their sins and made a decision to obey Him as their Lord. In Matthew chapter 3, the Pharisees and Sadducees are coming out to receive baptism from John the Baptist but John rebukes them and tell them to "bear fruit in keeping with repentance." (Matt. 3:8). Profession of allegiance to God must always be

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The Holy Spirit's Role in Evangelism

The is a lot of talk in modern evangelical churches about the Holy Spirit and not all of it is helpful. It is not uncommon for people to talk or sing things like, "Let the fire of Holy Spirit fall on us" or "Come Holy Spirit, revive us again" or other similar things. I was in a church meeting the other day, and the pastor had written (in Thai) on a handout, "This is the age of the Holy Spirit. We all are living in this age. The Spirit is ready to move in the lives of Christians if only we give the Spirit the opportunity to work in our lives."I want to ask, what exactly does it mean for the Holy Spirit to move in people's lives? What does it look like to have the fire of the Holy Spirit fall on someone? And isn't it our Sovereign God who takes the initiative in our sanctification, changing our hearts to respond and be transformed? Is the Holy Spirit really sitting around, wringing his hands, waiting for us to ask Him to fall on us? I am hard pressed to find any Biblical reference to needing to call the Holy Spirit to fall on us again and again or to light us (or the land) on fire, as it were. Sure, it happened at Pentecost but that was a rather unique event that was initiated by God, not the apostles. From that point in history, believers are henceforth indwelt with the Holy Spirit from conversion onwards (Eph. 1:13-14).

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