A Chronicle of Renewal and Revival

Reviews (9) Mission

Renewal Journal 9: Mission

Book Reviews

Building a Better World  by Dave Andrews. 

Albatross, Sydney, 1996

Reviewed by Dr Dorothy Mathieson

Please be warned: some Renewal people might be disturbed by this book.  Some may be suspicious of the title and question, ‘Is it worth putting effort into building a better world when it is so fallen?’  Then there is the book’s absence of religious language – no mention of the baptism in the Spirit or revival.  It’s all about building community to overcome cruel divisions, being inclusive even with your enemies, working with the poor as dignified equals.  That sounds biblical.

The advantage of this reviewer is that she has been she has been deeply touched by the author, as caring friend, stimulating colleague and prophetic writer (Dave has another book: Can you hear the heartbeat?).  Underlying this book is a passionate love for Jesus – strong enough for him and Ange his wife and the family to live with the poor in India and Australia, disturbing enough for him to choose to empower others rather than accept powerful positions more in keeping with his superior abilities, transforming enough so that his life is open to intimacy and to vagaries of successive waves of co-workers who may not always catch the breadth of the vision.

Dave deeply challenges, in non-charismatic language, a limited application of the transformation of the Holy Spirit.  A privatistic bless-me, heal-me approach does not build kingdom communities.  Dave calls us to move beyond such narrow confines.  Through stories of his own joys and sorrows, he offers a loving, powerful invitation to open up our lives together to the naked infusion of the Spirit.  Dave may squirm at language like this, as he is committed to removing all barriers preventing many different types of people joining the movement for love, hope and justice.

Read this book and get Dave and his friends to run seminars on community development.  More than this, let’s do what he does and join together in creating communities of hope.  Isn’t this the work of the Spirit?

Surprised by the Power of the Spirit (Zondervan, 1993)

Surprised by the Voice of God (Zondervan, 1996)

both by Jack Deere

Jack Deere combines rigorous biblical scholarship with compassionate pastoral insight in these landmark books on the place of the Holy Spirit in life and ministry.

His doctoral degree in Theology, including studies in Germany, his mastery of biblical languages and his experience as an associate professor of Old Testament at the evangelical, conservative Dallas Theological Seminary equip him well to examine the biblical issues involved.

His experience as a pastor, teacher and writer, and his wide ranging ministry as a conference speaker throughout the world, including many years ministering in Vineyard conferences, provided him with a unique breadth and depth in ministry experience.

These books beautifully combine these essential dimensions of biblical truth and ministry experience.

Surprised by the Power of the Spirit argues strongly for the full range of all the biblical gifts of the Spirit in the church today, including controversial ones such as tongues, healing and deliverance from evil spirits.

For example, the chapter on miraculous gifts provides these reasons for their use now from passages in 1 Corinthians 12-14:

God gave spiritual gifts to strengthen the church.

God commands us to eagerly desire spiritual gifts.

God commands us not to forbid speaking in tongues.

The Apostle Paul valued the gift of tongues.

Spiritual gifts are necessary for the health of Christ’s body.

Spiritual gifts will not cease until Christ returns.

The book challenges common misconceptions about the Holy Spirit including western rationalism and false ideologies as well as unbelief and disobedience.

Similarly, Surprised by the Voice of God challenges inadequate interpretations of Scripture, the denial of the supernatural, and the huge gap between Christianity as revealed in Scripture and as seen in so much of western Christianity.

It explores how the Holy Spirit speaks through the Bible, experience, supernatural and natural means.  Particularly helpful chapters examine the potential and pitfalls of prophecies, dreams and visions, with sound pastoral guidance concerning their place in the church today.

Jack Deere has been able to bridge the false divide between charismatic and anti-charismatic theologies, grounding his work in God’s revelation of himself in Scripture.  These are excellent books for personal reading, teaching and preaching. [GW]


Secrets of the Argentine Revival, by R Edward Miller

Peniel Outreach Ministries, 1999.

Secrets of the Argentine Revival is a personal account of the extraordinary revival in Argentina from the years 1949 to 1968. This incredible story explains in detail about the tremendous outpouring of God’s Spirit over the land of Argentina. This is also a factual account of the background leading up to one of the greatest spiritual awakenings in the history of the Christian Church.

Dr Ed Miller traces the tough early beginnings of revival in Argentina in scattered small churches and prayer groups, the unusual outpouring of God’s Spirit in little churches and evangelistic missions, leading to the astounding crusades with Tommy Hicks in 1954 which filled the largest stadium venues in Argentina and sparked massive church growth in the nation.   (204 pages)  [GW]

© Renewal Journal 9: Mission, 1997, 2nd edition 2011
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright included.

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