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Holy Fire: A Balanced, Biblical Look at the Holy Spirit's Work in Our Lives Paperback – January 7, 2014
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Epic work on the Holy Spirit” John Arnott, Catch the Fire Ministries, Toronto
A challenge both to Reformed-cessationists and card-carrying charismatics.” Colin Dye, senior minister, Kensington Temple, London, England
Combines the Word and Spirit to set the record straight.” Marcus Yoars, editor, Charisma magazine
Best I’ve read on the Holy Spirit” William Dwight McKissic, senior pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Arlington, Texas
Pastorally sensitive. Theologically exact” Rob Norris, senior pastor, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Bethesda, Maryland
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That said, I was very disappointed in this book. First of all, he based an immense part of his argument using MLJ's thoughts and positions to build his argument. I do not follow any man, living or dead. While I appreciate M.L.J, and have several of his books, he is a MAN. I want clear a biblical basis for whatever position one is presenting.
Secondly, his limited use of the Bible was very shallow, and he introduced some very strange concepts, without substantiating them from the Bible. He talks about God making oaths to us, using his oaths to Abraham, for example, as a basis. He he extrapolates that into a doctrine which we do not find in the Bible, he himself does not try, because it is not there.
Apart from M.Lloyd-Jones, his primary argument throughout the book for substantiating his position was experience, especially his own experience. But the problem with experience is that it is very subjective. To build a doctrine on experience is very dangerous, because, as history shows, one can arrive at many grave errors in this way.
So, I came to this book hoping to find a balance, biblical presentation. Sadly, that was incredibly lacking. I am convinced that one of the reasons that there is so much division among "Bible believing" Christians is that we base our positions upon our favorite men, or upon experience. Let us return to being firmly grounded in the Word of God. This book was not.
Kendall's writing remains exceptionally clear and accessible throughout the book, in spite of handling some rather deep theological issues and citing a number of nuances in theology from different puritan writers. He illustrates his theology with testimonies from his own life, illuminating how his own personal journey and his relationship with Christ revealed his current stance on the continuing operation of the gifts of the Spirit and reformed Calvinism. The book also draws heavily from the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones, Kendall's mentor and one of the most respected reformed preachers of the last century. Jones' own embrasure of the gifts and operation of the Holy Spirit and his passionate advocacy for receiving the Spirit's empowerment stands as one of Kendall's most drawn upon arguments. These factors make the book seem more like an appeal to the reformed church to embrace the Spirit, though Kendall does take a significant amount of time advocating reformed theology to Charismatic readers.
I greatly appreciated Kendall's emphasis on the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. A large portion of Holy Fire reminded me of the teaching of Roy Hession and Norman Grubb, which sprang out of the revivals in Africa in the 1950's. The reminder of the Spirit's work to convict, correct, encourage, refresh, inspire, and cleanse is desperately needed in the church today, as is Kendall's teaching on grieving and quenching the Spirit. One of the most disappointing parts of the book was his outlandish claims regarding open-theism and "hyper grace" teaching. While I'm not an open advocate of either, Kendall's brief and scathing misrepresentation of both views will not help either side of the debates regarding God's foreknowledge or His grace. His final chapter, which contains a prophetic word for the future of the Church was exhilarating and the most inspiring and poignant chapter in the book for me.
While I would only recommend portions of this book, it stands as an important bridge from cessationism into the work of the Spirit. I hope it will have a profound impact on the reformed church and a positive impact in redirecting the Charismatic church back to focusing on transformation and a step by step walk with the Spirit of God.