In Gift and Giver, leading New Testament scholar Craig Keener takes a probing look at the various evangelical understandings of the role of the Holy Spirit in the church. He explores topics such as spiritual gifts, the fruit of the Spirit, the Spirit’s power for evangelism, and hearing God’s voice. His desire is for Christians to “work for consensus, or at least for unity in God’s work despite our differences on secondary matters.”
Employing a helpful narrative approach and an ample number of stories, Keener enters into constructive dialogue with Pentecostals, moderates, and cessationists, all the while attempting to learn from each viewpoint. He seeks to bridge the gap between cessationists and Pentecostals/charismatics by urging all Christians to seek the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. His irenic approach to this controversial issue has been endorsed by charismatics and non-charismatics alike.
Sure to provoke helpful dialogue on a topic that has caused unfortunate divisions within the church, Gift and Giver will be a valuable addition to college and seminary courses on pneumatology. It will also be helpful to lay readers interested in a balanced discussion of spiritual gifts. This repackaged edition includes an updated preface and a substantive new afterword.
“If we must ‘feel’ God’s presence before we believe he is with us, we again reduce God to our ability to grasp him, making him an idol instead of acknowledging him as God.” (Page 27)
“Jesus is my atonement and sin offering; fasting serves as more like a freewill offering or thank offering, a way I can voluntarily demonstrate further devotion to him.” (Page 50)
“‘Don’t seek my will in this matter. Seek me—and then you will know my will.’” (Page 37)
“Jesus is not just an idea or one doctrine among many; he is our only Savior and Master, through whom and for whom we were created.” (Page 39)
“it means that according to Paul all Christians are charismatic—endowed with special gifts to build up others” (Page 102)
The levelheaded, anecdotally enriched exegesis that Craig Keener offers in this book broadens the categories of Spirit baptism, ongoing charismata, and current manifestations of the Spirit in a way that is pacifying, unifying, and edifying and neatly rounds off a good deal of recent debate. Disciplined scholarship and pastoral concern blend here most fruitfully, in lines of argument that have real importance for church life today and tomorrow.
—J. I. Packer, Regent College, Vancouver
Keener has already demonstrated his ability to guide readers through difficult biblical and theological issues with splendid pastoral sensitivity and sharp exegetical acumen. Here he tackles key debates between charismatics and cessationists with similar aplomb.
—Craig L. Blomberg, Denver Seminary
Those wishing to walk successfully through the minefield of questions that both the Bible and contemporary experience raise will find this a welcome guide. I heartily commend it.
—Ben Witherington III, Asbury Seminary
Dr. Craig S. Keener (PhD, Duke University) is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, and is the author of 17 books, four of which have won book awards in Christianity Today. One, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, has sold more than half a million copies. He has authored scholarly commentaries on Matthew, John (two volumes), Acts (four volumes), and more briefly on Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Revelation. Dr. Keener is married to Dr. Médine Moussounga Keener, who spent 18 months as a refugee in her nation of Congo before their marriage.