The Wakeman Trust
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Reviews mostly by Dr Peter Masters
Expanded revision of theCharismatic Phenomenon(1982) with answers to questions.
Now with more answers to questions asked by people investigating the arguments, this veteran book contends for the biblical position on the gifts that prevailed for nearly 2,000 years before the charismatic movement came along.
Here is the dynamic teaching of the Spirit that sustained true churches and believers through dark and bright years of history, through the Reformation, through the Puritan era, through the time of great Confessions of Faith, through repeated awakenings and revivals, and through the worldwide growth of the modern missionary movement.
Here is the case for authentic biblical spiritual life.
Extracts from this book
The charismatic phenomena which we are witnessing today can be explained by virtue of the widespread scepticism and denial of the Truth in the world around us. God and his attributes and works are denied because of rationalistic, evolutionary, materialistic and atheistic thinking, and in such a world the churches are under tremendous pressure to demonstrate somehow to an unbelieving society that God is alive, that he has power and wisdom, and that he really did do all the mighty miracles and signs which are recorded in his Word.
This is the frame of reference, the atmosphere, which has given rise to the desperate danger we face today, namely the desire to force God to give us (or to conjure up for ourselves) demonstrations of power which will convince ourselves and others that God is indeed the God of Holy Scripture. We have examples in the Bible of times when God’s people of old felt a similar desire for a public vindication of their God. The desire was legitimate and worthy, but was never answered by God. Prayers – desperate cries – were made for visible sign-miracles, but they were never given to satisfy the desire of God’s people.
An example of this is recorded in Isaiah 64. Isaiah was probably the greatest of the writing prophets of the Old Testament, a man who struggled against the scepticism of King Ahaz and against all false worship and occultism (as described in Isaiah 8). In his heart, he longed for some visible, genuine, spectacular vindication of the one, true, living God of Israel.
Was this a legitimate prayer? Of course it was! He wanted his God vindicated before an apostate, sceptical, unbelieving, hard-hearted nation and world. Furthermore, Isaiah had a precedent to quote, for 700 years earlier God had done something like this.
Nevertheless, Isaiah’s prayer for a new exhibition of God’s power went unanswered. He never saw that type of public, spectacular display – apart from the reversal of the shadow on the sundial during the reign of Hezekiah. The Lord knows what he is doing, when he is going to do it, and how he is going to accomplish it. The visible vindication of God is never according to our human desires, suggestions or schemes. It is entirely according to God’s sovereign will.
Table of Contents
Part I - The illusion introduced 1 The longing for signs and wonders 2 Testing today's miracles 3 What are the greater works? 4 Today's gifts are not the same 5 The purpose of the gifts has changed 6 Is the word of God complete? 7 Tongues were never for personal benefit 8 Should we personally seek the gifts? 9 Bypassing the mind and the word 10 Is the Holy Spirit in it?
Part II - Answering the questions 11 What about the signs of Mark 16? 12 Is not the command to speak in tongues still binding? 13 Why should extremists discredit the gifts? 14 Why not return to early church life? 15 Does God not heal today? 16 Surely we must exorcise demons? 17 If preaching is inspired, why not prophecy? 18 Do not the gifts continue until Christ comes? 19 What is wrong with tongues in personal devotions? 20 Are you saying the gifts are from Satan? 21 Miracle workers besides Apostles? 22 Conclusion