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Hyper Grace is one of the most important books you will read this year!

365891This project has intrigued me since I began following Dr. Michael Brown’s discussion of the topic, “hyper-grace.” The reason this book is so important is because it helps you rightly divide the Word of God in the sea of many Jesus-exalting, God-glorifying voices. And yet, the best voices can still fall prey to error and even deception. This is why we must know how to clearly identify what God’s grace is, what it does, and how we are Biblically called to respond.

I will cut right to the chase. While I do not agree with every single word in the book, I agree with enough of it to offer my highest recommendation. I thought about removing this bit from the review, but honestly, it should be kept. Regardless of where you stand on matters concerning God’s grace, salvation, holiness, the Law, Old Testament relevancy, and eternal security, this is a very important book for you to read. Why? It will get you thinking—and in the best possible ways.

Right up front, Brown presents the facts with precision, love and respect. Between reading both his Hyper-Grace and Authentic Fire books, I have been amazed at how well a Christian leader, such as Brown, can call out deception (and, yes, name names), while maintaining such a strong witness of Christian character and even honoring those he does not agree with. Whether it is John MacArthur or Joseph Prince, Brown never resorts to painting with broad strokes, bashing, or name calling. Time after time, you will see him go out of his way to celebrate some of the wonderful contributions these leaders have made or are making to the body of Christ.

It will not take much research for you to discover which Christian leaders (and their perspectives on grace) this book addresses. If these are people you admire, and are concerned that Brown’s perspective will ruin your image of them, hang in there with me.

I own two of Pastor Joseph Prince’s books. I was radically impacted reading his first one, Destined to Reign. I consistently enjoy watching his TV program (there are not many on Christian TV I can tolerate) and listening to his teaching. I am consistently refreshed by his intentionality at exalting Jesus Christ in the midst of the gimmicks and schemes of three-step process Christianity. And yet, I believe leaders like Prince would ultimately agree with the very heart of Dr. Brown’s message in Hyper-Grace. It is not about a person. It is not about a Christian leader. It is not about what people say; it is about what Scripture reveals.

After reading Hyper-Grace, I will still watch (and enjoy) Joseph Prince. However, I will walk away from this experience all the more intentional at evaluating what I hear from any Christian leader by the eternal standard of Scripture.

Throughout Hyper-Grace, Brown exposes readers to challenging topics concerning grace, such as: Do we need still to repent for our sins—even after we are saved? Does the Holy Spirit still convict us of sin, or is He okay with us living any old way we choose (and still claim a Christian label)? Are the words of Jesus Christ, as presented in Gospels, still relevant for us today? (terrifying that some are even questioning this) Is sanctification a lifelong process or is it simply part of what we receive at conversion? And finally, what place does the Law of God and the Old Testament have in a believer’s life in the twenty-first century? This is not an exhaustive topic listing, but merely a selection of what you will discover in the book.

In the end, Dr. Brown makes readers aware that there are the different levels of Hyper-Grace deception, with some leaders mildly entertaining error while others are skirting dangerous heresy that actually distorts Scripture. This book is a vital tool to help Christians navigate the various messages and viewpoints when it comes to one of Scripture’s most glorious realities, grace.

Holy Fire ignites fresh passion in evangelicals for the Spirit and fresh desire in Charismatics for the Scriptures

Whether you consider yourself a conservative evangelical or a Charismatic/Pentecostal of some kind, R.T. Kendall’s opus, Holy Fire, will empower go to the next level in your journey as a well-balanced believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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By the way, balance in the Kingdom is not living in some lukewarm place between boredom and passion. It is not a little bit of Bible-based theology mingled with a little bit of Holy Spirit. Balance is desiring “all of the Word” and “all of the Spirit, as the Word of God and the Spirit of God work together, not independently of each other. Kendall reminds us of this powerful Truth on every page, concluding with Smith Wigglesworth’s prophetic statement: “When the Word and Spirit come together, there will be the biggest movement of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed the world, has ever seen.”

What I appreciate is that Holy Fire is not another immediate response to Pastor John MacArthur’s Strange Fire book and conference (Dr. Michael Brown has superbly tackled this with solid and outstanding integrity in his book Authentic Fire). Rather, Kendall gives us something extraordinary and unusual. He offers a user-friendly apologetic for the Scriptural basis for the present day movement and power of the Holy Spirit. Every piece of information he delivers is Scripturally reinforced.

If you are Charismatic, Kendall is both your ally and encourager. He is also inviting Charismatics/Pentecostals to seriously consider “their ways” and ensure that everything done in the Name of the Holy Spirit represents the Truth of Scripture. If you read any of Kendall’s testimony or know anything of his personal history with the Holy Spirit, he is by no means one who plays it safe. So don’t worry about someone trying to throw a wet blanket on your fire. Kendall is not the man for that job. His passion is to see your fire sustained, for only Holy Fire is sustainable fire. The Strange Fire and counterfeit may last for a season, but it delivers no lasting fruit. Plus, Kendall provides a well studied criteria for evaluating whether something is born of the Spirit, or is not (in the chapter, “The Ultimate Proof of the Holy Spirit”).

If you are a conservative evangelical, coming from a Baptist, Reformed, Nazarene, or any other type of denominational background, Kendall’s history will be oddly appealing. He’s been there. Seriously – he has been “everywhere.” He is reformed in his theology. He has pastored Baptist churches (and attended a Baptist seminary). He was brought up Nazarene. He also happens to be charismatic, as one who has experienced the dynamic touch of the Holy Spirit in his life… on several occasions (his chapter, “My Personal Testimony,” will surely be a blessing to you). In addition, he provides user-friendly chapters on some of the most controversial Charismatic doctrines, such as the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

One of the most important sections of Kendall’s book boldly confronts the dangers of cessationism. He is right to acknowledge that cessationism is not a dogma, as many tend to uphold it as; cessationism is merely a possible theory.

Whether you have enjoyed decades of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power in your life, or, you are curious about the possibility of experiencing “more” from God (but don’t know if this “Holy Spirit stuff”is Scripturally legal), Holy Fire was lovingly written with you in mind. Get ready to discover Who the Holy Spirit is, what He does, and Why relationship with Him is absolutely vital for every single believer living on the Earth.

Weekly Book Review | Nine O’Clock in the Morning – Dennis Bennett

2013-07-16_2244I give my highest recommendations to Dennis Bennett’s classic book, Nine O’Clock in the Morning. Don’t let the 1970 publication date fool you—this is a surefire page turner that will radically enhance your appreciation for the Person of the Holy Spirit. In fact, I walked away from each reading, thinking to myself: “Wow – THIS is the Person Who lives inside of me?” It has made me extremely thankful for the work and power of Holy Spirit all over again, and I believe it will do the same for you.

Bennett does not deliver deep theology (although he is obviously learned and well versed in Scripture), nor is it academic study.

This is the powerful, personal and profound story of how an Episcopalian priest was gloriously wrecked by a life-changing encounter with the Holy Spirit—and the history shaping aftermath of this experience.

Why is this testimony different from any other? What makes Bennett’s story so unique? Two reasons. One, Bennett’s encounter with the Holy Spirit was utterly contagious. It flowed out of his life, into his family, into many members of his church, and really, seemed to powerfully penetrate every person he came into contact with. Truly, Bennett illustrates how the presence of God is released through our testimonies.

When we share about the wonderful works of God in our lives, it stirs hunger in those listening.

Those we share with end up starving for the same reality we personally experienced, and the wonderful thing about testimony is that our stories makes those realities available to the hearer. Remember, if God did something for one, He can and wills to do it for another, as He is no respecter of persons. So for one, Bennett’s testimony was absolutely contagious.

Two, the man became a revolutionary and forerunner for the Charismatic movement of the 60’s and 70’s which significantly impacted mainline denominational churches. I will leave the “rest of the story” for you to discover on your own, as I hope I have stirred enough curiosity with my review. I will say this: Bennett’s encounter with the Holy Spirit changed everything. He could not go back to living the “old normal.”

His life was ruined for stale and dry Christianity, and a hunger was birthed within Him to pursue, experience, and release the fullness of God in his life and ministry. This radical pursuit proved to be costly for Bennett, but ultimately, started a revolution that is still producing fruit to this day. All because one man said “Yes” to the Spirit of God.

Oh, that Dennis Bennett’s testimony would stir that same “Yes” in us today as we are given a beautiful glimpse of Heaven’s Treasure that resides within us.

Check out this video about Bennett’s Church, St. Luke’s in Ballard, WA. What a heritage of the supernatural power and manifestation of the Holy Spirit!

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