Messages and Books on the Holy Spirit

I had a good conversation through Skype today with Tim Smith, worship pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I met Tim a couple years ago, and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with him on various topics related to worship and the church.

Today one of the areas we touched on was the difference between being “charismatics with a seatbelt” and “philosophical charismatics.” The first phrase describes an attempt to exercise the more spontaneous gifts of the Spirit in a responsible way that exalts Christ and builds up the church. The second phrase describes those whose public meetings aren’t much different from those who deny that all the gifts have continued to the present day.

It’s easy to claim that we believe the Holy Spirit is working in people’s hearts during our meetings, but fail to experience or expect any evidence of it. Tim made the point that while lists and planning aren’t bad, they become bad if seek to justify our ministries by them. If we’re successful, we have no need for God. If we fail, we live in fear and condemnation. I’ve found that to be true. We need to plan with dependence on the Holy Spirit, but not depend ultimately on our plans.

We also talked about how the Holy Spirit never seeks to draw attention to gifts or experiences, but rather to Jesus Christ, the risen Savior. That’s in line with what Jesus says in John 16:14: “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

I’ve found a number of books helpful for helping me understand the Holy Spirit’s role in our meetings and stirring up my desire to anticipate the active presence of God when we meet.  Tim and I talked about them, and I thought others might be interested as well.

Showing the Spirit – D.A. Carson (theological exposition of 1 Cor. 12-14)
God’s Empowering Presence  – Gordon Fee (long but thorough treatment of all the times Paul refers to the Spirit in the New Testament)
Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God – Fee (contains portions of God’s Empowering Presence)
The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today – Wayne Grudem (helpful treatment of the spiritual gift of prophecy)
Surprised by the Power of the Spirit – Jack Deere (one man’s testimony of how he became a continuationist)
The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts – Max Turner (more on the academic side, but thorough)
The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts – Sam Storms (simple and practical guide to growing in the nine spiritual gifts listed in 1 Cor. 12)

Two books on the Holy Spirit, written from a cessationist perspective, are also worth checking out:

Who’s Afraid of the Holy Spirit – Ed. by Daniel Wallace and James Sawyer
He Who Gives Life – Graham A. Cole

If you’re interested, Sovereign Grace also has a number of messages on the Holy Spirit we’ve given at various conferences. A few are listed below:

The Power: Understanding and Experiencing the Holy Spirit – Jeff Purswell
The Non-Spectacular Gifts – Jeff Purswell
The Contours of our Charismatic Theology – Jeff Purswell
More Desirable Than Gifts – CJ Mahaney
The Pastor and the Spirit – Jeff Purswell
Pursuing God’s Presence – Bob Kauflin

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15 Responses to Messages and Books on the Holy Spirit

  1. Josh August 26, 2009 at 6:48 PM #

    Thank you once again, Bob, for your helpful example and teaching on these things. You do so with such grace and care, in what can sadly be a divisive topic.

    Based on what I’ve learned from the Word in the past several months, including some great teaching & reading, I’ve gone from a person who minimized the Holy Spirit, to one who is now actively pursuing the work of the Spirit increasingly in both my public and private worship. For this I praise the One who washed me with His blood and the Spirit who gave (and continues to give) me life!!

  2. Austin Hilmer August 26, 2009 at 10:49 PM #

    Did God come to you in a vision and tell you to make this blog post? Over the past few days I’ve been trying to compile books, sermons, and articles all about The Holy Spirit in preparation for ministry this fall. Thank you so much for posting this.

  3. Chris E August 27, 2009 at 6:11 AM #

    Two more book suggestions, maybe slightly more from a reformed perspective:

    “Keep in Step with the Spirit” by JI Packer – very biblical introduction to the Spirit’s purpose, along with an evaluation of the various streams of evangelism. He’s skeptical, but not a cessationist.

    “Joy Unspeakable” Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones – Which in my very humble opinion is better than the Jack Deere book as an example of one man’s encounter with the Holy Spirit.

  4. Alistair Metcalfe August 27, 2009 at 7:06 AM #

    Bob, this is so timely for us in Manchester (UK) as a number of us are gathering soon for a day exploring worship and the leading of the Holy Spirit, particularly focussing on the prophetic gifts.

    We so want to enjoy the fullness of being led by the Spirit into genuine experiences of worship and the presence of God.

    Thank you as always for serving us so well.

  5. Tim Witten August 27, 2009 at 10:11 AM #

    Thanks. This post provoked some helpful thoughts and questions. Also, thanks for wg09. I wasn’t able to be there but the messages have been a blessing to listen to.

  6. Thomas Clay August 27, 2009 at 1:52 PM #

    I totally agree with the balance between direction at the planning stage and at the spontaneous stage. If we leave off dependency upon God at either, we make idols out of them. I like the term “Planned Spontaneity”. Make no plans and be made a fool. Make your plans and, in effect, tell God to leave you alone and be made arrogant.

  7. FreedbyJC September 1, 2009 at 11:47 AM #

    Another excellent text on the cessationist perspective is “A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the NT Witness” by Frederick Dale Bruner (Hardcover – 1970)

  8. Nate Norberg December 27, 2016 at 12:42 PM #

    I know I’m several years late to the party here, but are those messages still available somewhere? The links are broken now.


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