Answering three crucial questions about the Holy Spirit, meticulous scholar Craig Keener explains the various evangelical understandings of the role of the Holy Spirit. He also identifies where common ground may be found. His desire is for Christians to “work for consensus” and unity in God’s work despite our differences. Intended to provoke helpful dialogue by all Christians on a controversial topic, Gift and Giver will augment your understanding of the Spirit and prepare you to discuss the issues competently.
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“In an earlier book, I freely described myself as ‘charismatic.’” (Page 11)
“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)
“In more critical matters, we may need to ask for God’s confirmation or assurance (for example, Judg. 6:36–40; 1 Sam. 14:9–10). But knowing God’s character in Scripture is the most important way to begin recognizing God’s voice. Although our voices change over time, the character of God’s voice has not changed in the past two thousand years.” (Page 19)
“Because the Father, Son, and Spirit are one in nature (though distinct in person and role), what we learn about the character of one member of the Trinity applies to all three. Just as we cannot have a relationship with the Father except through the Son (1 John 2:23), we cannot have a relationship with the Son except through the Spirit (John 16:14; Rom. 8:9), or vice versa (John 14:17). Thus, whatever we learn about our relationship with the Father or the Son also applies to our relationship with the Spirit, through whom we experience the presence of the Son and the Father.” (Page 23)
“In other words, God’s glory was summarized as ‘full of covenant love and covenant faithfulness,’ which could be translated from Hebrew to Greek and Greek to English as, ‘full of grace and truth.’ ‘Grace’ means God accepts us because that’s the way he is, not because of how we are. The Hebrew word for ‘truth’ in this context means God’s integrity, his unfailing faithfulness to his character and to the promises he made in his covenant.” (Pages 25–26)
The level-headed, 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.
—J. I. Packer, professor of theology, Regent College, Vancouver
Both scholarly and warmly personal, it should be helpful to Pentecostals, charismatics, evangelicals, and any others needing a fresh perspective on the Holy Spirit’s work today.
—Vinson Synan, dean, School of Divinity Regent University, VA
Keener assures us that we can love and embrace God the Holy Spirit and his gifts with intellectual integrity and a genuine humility that breaks the back of divisiveness.
—Todd Hunter, former national director of the Vineyard in the USA
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.