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What Are Spiritual Gifts? (Basics of the Faith) Paperback – September 20, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Here you have a clear, biblical, right-minded, health-giving survey of a very tricky subject. Poythress's treatment is masterly." --J. I. Packer, Regent College

"Dr. Poythress employs his gifts of teaching and discernment to clarify what the Bible says about the gifts of the Spirit and to guard against doctrinal and practical error. He addresses the hard issues head on, using a simple but sophisticated framework to demonstrate the full variety of gifts and the wide breadth of the Spirit's work in the church." --Philip Graham Ryken, Wheaton College

About the Author

Vern S. Poythress (MLitt, University of Cambridge; PhD, Harvard University; DTh, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa) is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is also the author of Understanding Dispensationalists; Science and Hermeneutics; Implications of Scientific Method for Biblical Interpretation; Symphonic Theology; The Validity of Multiple Perspectives in Theology; and The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses.
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Product Details

  • Series: Basics of the Faith
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing (September 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596382090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596382091
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael C. Boling on August 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
The topic of spiritual gifts has tended to be one of the many hot button issues within evangelical Christianity. Essentially there have been two opposing viewpoints concerning spiritual gifts with one side promoting the idea of cessationism meaning the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased following the New Testament Apostolic period with the other side embracing the charismatic approach with the gifts of the Holy Spirit being very active in the life of the believer. Dr. Vern Poythress, in his book What are Spiritual Gifts, aptly defines and engages this topic in a scholarly yet fully accessible manner identifying the reality of spiritual gifts in the life of the believer while also noting their biblical purpose.

Poythress rightly notes "The Bible indicates in several places that God equips and empowers people for service within the church, which is the body of Christ. Since God is the source for our abilities, these empowerments may be called "gifts" from God." Since all believers are part of the larger body of Christ and thus are called to serve this body to the glory of God, this means each and every believer has been provided a gift or set of gifts they are to use for the furthering of God's kingdom. This has huge ramifications for those who attempt to make the claim that spiritual gifts are somehow evidence of one's super spirituality or close connection to God. In reality, all believers have been provided by God with the means to do that which they have been called by God to be about doing.

The gifts of the Spirit are just that, gifts provided by the Spirit of God to the believer. Poythress reminds the reader "If you come to Christ, you come to personal fellowship with him, and that fellowship is the basis for all the benefits of salvation, including spiritual gifts.
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Format: Paperback
For such a short book I thought it lacked clarity. Short, informational books must be simple in the sense that it's clear what question they're answering or what statement they are affirming. Some helpful information but not really what I thought it would cover based on the cover.
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This book was purchased for our library by the Acquisitions clerk as an excellent tool for student learning and research.
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Dr. Poythress was able to have an article he had done before put into book form and made easier to understand as well. Just that alone is great! I like how he breaks gifts down into prophetic, kingly, and priestly. He does a great job of using analogies to make the idea of having prophetic uuternaces in church today easier to swallow and really an essential part of what it means to be in a church.

On the other hand I find his argument for a higher level of gifts for the apostles not convincing. Where it really starts to break down is where he decides that it would probably a good idea to lump Mark and Luke in with the disciples as well. After all they have books in the Bible as well. This is circular reasoning.

A better argument was simply that Mark and Luke were determined to ask direct witnesses to Jesus about what happened while he was with them, and what Peter and Paul, in particular, did. The fact that they were able to interview and be with direct witnesses of Jesus was sufficient. In fact anyone who did the same as Mark or Luke did or any other reputable direct witness of Jesus could have done the same thing.

My point is simply that just because one was an Apostle did not automatically make them the only ones who were allowed to write Scripture. Certainly Moses did not write the part about his own passing away! Some one else wrote that who was probably not that high up there in importance. Something that God specializes in, which is why he picked Israel to be his chosen people!

Poythress also throws around the word "inspired" as to mean "without error". I do not see how being inspired necessarily means one is without error. In that case the person would never sin!
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