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Surprised by the Power of the Spirit
~Jack S. Deere
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List price: $12.99
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Average customer rating: 4.0 out of 5
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Sales rank: 62540

Product Information

Media: Paperback
ISBN/ASIN : 0310211271
Manufacturer : Zondervan
Release data : 02 September, 1996

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  • A selection of product reviews

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    Deere makes a strong case for his thesis

    I suppose that on the question of whether the miraculous gifts of the New Testament are for today or not, I would be in the "open but cautious" camp. I see absolutely nothing in the Bible that would support a cessationist viewpoint (i. e. the view that the miraculous gifts: healing, prophecy, etc. passed away with the apostles), and I think Deere is correct in saying that many of those who subscribe to this view do so not on the basis of Scripture but on the basis of their lack of experience of such phenomena. Being raised Southern Baptist but being converted in a Pentecostal revival, I have a healthy respect for both doctrinal fidelity and the power of the Spirit. Deere was a cessationist and Old Testament professor at Dallas Theological Seminary before his "awakening" to things such as prophecy and healing through the ministry of John Wimber. His thesis, that the miraculous gifts have not passed away and that they are to be a vital part of the church's ministry today, is strong, and one that I would find extremely difficult to disagree with, even if I wanted to. Healing is not an issue for me; the problematic issue is the question of exactly how God speaks through modern day prophets. In the charismatic circles Deere travels in, it is widely accepted that New Testament prophets are not the same as Old Testament prophets in regard to their accuracy. In other words, they can get it wrong sometimes, perhaps even often. Well, this is problematic to me. Old Testament prophets were to judged by their accuracy: either they were 100% accurate or they were to be considered false prophets. I suppose I could accept the view that New Testament prophets are not to be tested in the same way (if they were, then everything they said could be considered a perfect word from the Lord, just like Scripture) but the question this raises is this: what makes them any different than the psychics of the world? The John Edwards or the Sylvia Brownes? This is not a question I have answered to my own satisfaction yet, and to be fair to Deere, this is a question he treats more fully in his subsequent book "Surprised by the Voice of God," a book I have not read. So for now I remain open but a little cautious.

    1 starNo starNo starNo starNo star    Very weak exegesis - many logical flaws - ignores the real issues - very poor work!

    I was extremely disappointed with this book. In spite of all the rave reviews of it, I thought that it is VERY poor work.

    First, Deere's treatment of his opponents is extremely unfair, and he regularly uses tactics such as ad hominem attacks (he spends an entire chapter arguing that the only reason that cessationists disagree with him is their lack of experience, a classic example of the genetic fallacy, in this case circumstancial ad hominem), straw-man arguments, etc. His use of tactics such as straw-man, ad hominem attacks, and genetic fallacies illustrate the basic difference between Deere and his opponents; while John MacArthur ("Charismatic Chaos") is very careful not to "paint all charismatics with same brush," and goes out of his way to point out that not all charismatics hold to many of the extreme beliefs or practices that he illustrates, Jack Deere is not careful about that at all (read, for example, Deere's chapter on the "real reason that people believe in cessationism.")

    An even bigger problem with the work is the fact that Deere consistently ignores the real issues. He ignores the real weaknesses in his position as well as his opponents' real arguments. He does not deal with many of his opponents' arguments, including many of their stronger ones. Even though he claims to be trying to refute B. B. Warfield's book "Counterfeit Miracles," Deere does not deal seriously with many of Warfield's points. (Actually, Deere deals with almost none of B. B. Warfield's points; I guess he is banking on his readers never having READ Warfield's book). If he deals with any of Warfield's points, they are not Warfield's major or best arguments. Deere deals with a few of the best arguments for cessationism and few of the books written by the major cessationist authors, and where he does deal with them he deals with them inadequately. Although I cannot comment on his treatment of Norman Geisler's book, I can comment that he deals very poorly (if at all) with authors such was Warfield, Gaffin, Hanegraaff, Gardiner, and MacArthur. Where he discusses these authors at all, he does so in a completely inadequate manner.

    He fails to answer many of the questions that he raises; although many of his answers appear to be answers, if you break them down they often do not answer the question, and when they do they often do not go nearly far enough in answering the question. He tends to rely pretty heavily on anecdotal evidence (which is circular reasoning, considering that that is what he is trying to prove); he only deals with Biblical evidence on whether or not the gifts cease in one chapter and the two appendices. In the other chapters, he frequently goes off on tangents which weaken his argument and make it a very frusterating book to read.

    This book has little if any exegetical depth and many of his his arguments are weak and/or hackneyed. This book is riddled with logical flaws. I think Deere could have done SO much better than he did, especially having a Ph.D., this book could be so much more accurate to the Bible and to the real issues in his position. I found this book deeply disappointing and do not recommend it in the least. The only reason I gave it a 1-star rating was that I could not rate it any lower.

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    Another Paul Cain

    Deere is an awesome christian, a powerful prophet, and a wonderful author. He is well read, articulate, bright, and biblically sound. He has been touched by some of the powerful prophetic voices in the country and has affected some of them himself. I recomend with no reservations.

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