Item description for Gift and Giver: The Holy Spirit for Today by Craig S. Keener...
Overview In Gift and Giver, a substantial revision of his 3 Crucial Questions About The Holy Spirit, prolific author Craig Keener takes a probing look at the various evangelical understandings of the role of the Holy Spirit in the church. His desire is for Christains to "work for consensus, or at least for unity in God's work despite our differnces 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-chartismatics 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.
Publishers Description In "Gift and Giver," a substantial revision of his "3 Crucial Questions about the Holy Spirit," prolific author Craig Keener takes a probing look at the various evangelical understandings of the role of the Holy Spirit in the church. 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.
Citations And Professional Reviews Gift and Giver: The Holy Spirit for Today by Craig S. Keener has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Retailing - 05/07/2001 page 18
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Craig S. Keener is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky. His many other books include The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary and The Historical Jesus of the Gospels.
Reviews - What do customers think about Gift and Giver: The Holy Spirit for Today?
Joel Comiskey Jan 26, 2005
As far as I'm concerned this is the best book I've ever read on the Holy Spirit in the church today. Keenan does AN EXCELLENT job of balancing Spirit and Truth. He skillfully handles the Word of God on the subject of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and tongues. Rather than trying to prove his own narrow conviction, he helps the reader understand the strong points of both Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals. The credibility of this author is seen in the fact that Keenan is a Baptist Biblical scholar who teaches at Eastern Theological Seminary--yet he boldly shares his personal experience of speaking in tongues and practicing the gifts of the Spirit. His writings and personal experience bring out the best of both worlds--careful scholarship mixed with a hunger for the living God. I was encouraged to want the same thing. Let me say once again that this book is my HANDS DOWN favorite book on the Holy Spirit. We need more people like Keenan who are willing to look honestly at both sides of the issue and then to give honest answers about what both sides have in common.
a good book Mar 30, 2003
I haven't read this book fully and carefully, but I have read its previous edition, 3 CRUCIAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT. Primarily I want to address the other reviewer's comments about cessationists being cautious about subjective or personal testimony in this area. While I don't want to belittle the need for adherence to the Scriptures in these matters and the need to check these things out by the Scriptures, and to study what the Scriptures teach about these things, much of the Bible IS personal experience. It's what men and women experienced of God. And though "these things have been written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have Life in His name" (John 20:31), New Testament faith is also based on subjective and personal testimony to these things in our lives (Galatians 3:5). As one who does NOT believe that God stopped doing these things with the passing of the apostles or the close of the canon, nor that the Scriptures teach such a doctrine, I expect believers to be able to give subjective and personal testimony to these things as a sign that "God is among [them]" (I Corinthians 14:25). As Philip said to Nathanael: "Come and see" (John 1:46). Keener provides both Scriptural arguments and personal testimony to the validity and reality of this theology.
Subjective Discussion Jun 7, 2002
"The Bible's message does not simply confirm my own experience of miracles; it summons me to be more open to appropriate signs and wonders than I already am," (111).
Keener chooses to balance personal testimony with scriptural study in this discussion concerning the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers today. I understand that it is difficult for most scholars to move from an academic examination to personal witness of an issue, but Gift Giver is an attempt in this direction. Keener has experienced, firsthand, the work of the Holy Spirit in private tongues, proclamation, and wisdom. He also claims to have experienced the work of the Spirit in the lives of others through prophecy, miracles, and spiritual understanding. "I have done my best to write a book that is fair to various views, but I have especially tried to be faithful to what I believe I find in the Bible," (13). This subjective approach is used, along with exegesis of some texts, to suggest that the Holy Spirit is actively working in the lives of Christians today.
Keener explains the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christians both personally and theologically. The first four chapters of this book are an explanation of how the Holy Spirit teaches us the mind and heart of God. The Spirit calls us and teaches us God's will and plan for our lives. The Spirit works with the Word of God, to change us into the image of God.
Although a convinced atheist by age nine, I was converted through the witness of some Baptist street evangelists at the age of fifteen, the first day I heard the gospel. I argued with them for forty-five minutes, but the Spirit worked me over for the next hour or so until, on the floor of my bedroom, I acquiesced and surrendered my life to him (45).
The Spirit also shows us God's character and forms us in His image to walk according to His divine purpose. Keener's exegesis of Hebrew and Greek scriptures illustrated the formative power of God's Spirit.
Chapters five through nine were discussions of how the Spirit works in Christians lives and the church today. Keeners' exegesis of texts in John, Acts, 1 Cor. 12-14; and Eph. 4 were used to suggest that the Spirit was working and guiding the early church through powers such as tongues, miracles, baptism, and other gifts. Keener also used his personal testimony of the Spirit in his life, and the lives of others, to support his belief that the Spirit is continuing to work today. Keener cautions those who believe that the spiritual gifts have ceased, from drawing their conclusions without accepting personal testimonies.
I feel that Keener has given valuable personal testimony in the discussion concerning the work of the Spirit in the modern church. I do feel that his critique of skeptics or cessasionists is made with little caution or understanding of where they/we stand on this issue. His suggestion that the "Enlightenment" has soured modern scholarship on the miraculous gifts of the Spirit is insensitive to those who honestly and cautiously resist subjective or personal testimony in this area. I believe both sides should continue to approach exegesis from an objective view and then seek application through their lives and views of Scripture.