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4.0 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0830815368
Manufacturer : InterVarsity Press|
Release data : January, 1997
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In general, I enjoyed reading this book. Dr. Ferguson is eager to show the solidarity of the Trinity in creation and redemption. The Spirit is not an afterthought in his theology, but the executive of God's work in the world. Yes! I thought his emphasis on the Spirit's work as Christ-oriented was well put. I also appreciated his redemptive-historical perspective throughout. He wasn't overly concerned to abstract the Spirit's role within the activity of God, but rather to show how he works in concert with the Father and Son for the redemption and edification of God's people.
I disagreed with some of his conclusions regarding the cessation of the popularly named "sign-gifts" (though he categorizes them as "word-gifts" over against the "sign-gifts", i.e. the sacraments). In his response to Grudem, he points out what I think are genuine weaknesses in Grudem's reasoning, but at times he also misunderstands what Grudem is trying to say. I think he also fails to address a few pertinent arguments.
For those who are interested, these are: 1) The multiple functions of these gifts, not only to confirm revelation, but to demonstrate the Kingdom of God, to effect unity and edification in the body of Christ, and to show mercy to those in need. Certainly these functions have not ceased. 2) The lack of distinction between occasional and perpetual gifts within the Scripture itself. Scripture presents Spiritual gifts as a diverse mix of gracelets characteristic of the new covenant era, which continues to this day. 3) In the end, Ferguson concedes that Christians through the ages and today do, in fact, receive God-given promptings and healings. Yet he won't identify these with the NT gifts of Prophecy and Healing. He says that there is too much discontinuity between the nature and practice of these and the NT gifts. But he does not seem to have first-hand observation of these gifts in action to be in a place to make such a comparison (I'm sure his church does not seek to practice such gifts). Nor does he suggest alternate categories for these present-day phenomena if they are not technically "Prophecy", "Healing", or "Tongues". I don't think any violence is done to the primacy or sufficiency of Scripture if the categories above are seen to be flexible enough to include "God-given promptings and healings." With regard to Tongues, I agree with Ferguson's distinction between NT tongues and the commonly practiced "prayer language" of pentecostals. But there are enough credible reports of glossolalia that ended up being actual human languages (say, on the mission field) to suspect that the NT gift of Tongues is still given when God decides the context is appropriate.
Cessation vs. Continuation is an important issue, although in my opinion not an essential one. Still, I find that a continuation of all the NT Spiritual gifts fits just as well, or better, with the paradigm of the Kingdom of God, and the Spirit's work as its executive, presented by Dr. Ferguson in the rest of his book.
Overall, a great synthesis from the Reformed perspective! Read it.
God is One yet three persons. He is not three gods that became one God nor is He three persons that became One God. The three persons of God always existed as one God. All three persons of the God always existed. This work by Sinclair Fergunson does not go through the paradoxes and dilemmas that many a theologian ponder and discuss in other works. The author starts with a brief distinction of ministry between the three persons of the God head: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. In brief there is a discussion about the Father's grand scheme of creation, life, death, and the proprietion for man's sins. Also discussed is the implementation of the Father's plan by the Son. The Son comes into the sinful World as a man suffering the indignities of a sinner without ever sinning in total obedience to the Father. This culminates in the Son suffering a shameful death and the glorious resurrection. Dr. Ferguson argues the Son stayed God but did without the prerogatives of God while on earth. He needed the help of the Holy Spirit in withstanding temptation and in revelation. Jesus did not depend on human strength, but His strength as God. Christians should also depend on the strength of God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus emptied Himself to become man yet stayed God, but in a sense depended on the other person of Himself to preach the word of God and avoid falling into temptation.
How does the Holy Spirit minister to the individual Christian? The chief gift of the Spirit is the ability to know God's word and to share it with other people. This gift was given to only a few before Pentecost, but now is given to all who believe in Jesus Christ and accept the gift of Salvation. The Christian also needs the Holy Spirit in his daily walk. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can the Christian preserver temptation and not fall into it. How does one express love for God? Living in Obedience to God's Will. Sinclair Ferguson does not detail how the Spirit helps the Christian in his walk.
The Fruit of the Spirit is love. The sum of the Law and the prophets is to love God plus to love your neighbor as your self. Only through the Holy Spirit can any man show such a love. This book details such a love. <BR>
Also discussed in this work is the inerrancy of God's word. Theopneustic is defined as God breathed. Teaching God's mighty deeds and interpretative word. Words that proceed from God's mouth. The author argues through the person of the Holy Spirit. In general Sinclair B. Ferguson makes the same fruit comes from God's redeemed people.
Thorough, Reformed Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
Dr. Sinclair Ferguson's book on the Holy Spirit is a welcomed edition to any believers library. Ferguson is one of the best theologians in the Western hemisphere and his writings are brillant and full of Scripture.
In this work, Dr. Ferguson delves into the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Yet in this short work (288 pages), he covers nearly every work of the Spirit from His divinity to the gifts of the Spirit.
The book comes from a Reformed position so those from say a charismatic perspective may not like Ferguson's views on the baptism in the Spirit or the manifestation gifts of tongues and prophecy.
Overall, a great book.