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Andrew Gabriel: Simply Spirit-Filled

Andrew K. Gabriel, Simply Spirit-Filled: Experiencing God in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit (Nashville, TN: Emanate Books, 2019), 179 pages, ISBN 9780785223610.

Andrew Gabriel is an ordained minister; he holds credentials with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. He has a doctoral degree from McMaster Divinity College and is associate professor of theology at Horizon College and Seminary in Saskatoon, Canada. He has also served in pastoral ministry. Dr. Gabriel, whose Pentecostal roots go back to his childhood, brings both theology and his practical experience of the church together in this book. He has written other books which are more academic in content. Simply Spirit-Filled is written on a more popular level which makes it accessible to a wider readership. His desires for this book are that it will help those who are skeptical about experiencing the Holy Spirit to be more open to Him, and to help those who are very open to experiences of the Spirit to be more discerning (page 10).

The book consists of seven chapters and a postscript prayer. The chapter titles are: “Confessions of a Recovering Spirit-Experience Junkie,” “Shake and Bake,” “Knock, Knock, Who’s There?,” “Crazy Talk,” “Living Large,” “ Measuring Up?,” and “What Does It Mean to Be Spirit-Filled?” The postscript prayer is the text of Ephesians 3:16-21. In the course of these chapters the author weaves theology, observation, and personal experience together as he deals with such subjects as hearing God, speaking in tongues, shaking, being slain in the Spirit (people falling over, usually backwards), the health and wealth gospel, and the characteristics of a Spirit-filled person. At the end of each chapter there are questions for reflection or discussion. These questions help the reader interact with the material in each chapter. This book can be used for either personal or group study.

Cautious about the ministry of the Holy Spirit? Concerned you could open yourself up to the wrong spirit?

Gabriel is very open about his own spiritual journey with the Holy Spirit. He admits that there was a time in his life when he was something of a spiritual junkie who constantly desired more experiences of the Spirit. He confesses that at times he copied the behavior of others, if they shook, he shook, if they laughed, he laughed, if they danced, he danced (page 4). Later in life he became skeptical and began to doubt some of the experiences that he had earlier embraced (page 6). So his spiritual pendulum swung from one side to the other. These experiences have helped him give considerable thought to the matters that he writes about in this book. Fortunately, he recovered from his skepticism and again began to appreciate experiencing the Holy Spirit. I believe that Gabriel’s experiences have helped him to understand, and minister to, those who are currently settled in either skepticism regarding experiencing the Spirit or undiscerning acceptance of everything that some believe to be of the Spirit.

I particularly enjoyed Gabriel’s treatment of some of the more controversial physical manifestations that are sometimes seen in Pentecostal/Charismatic meetings. I am referring here to people shaking and being slain in the Spirit. In addressing these manifestations the author avoids making general statements that either wholeheartedly endorse or completely condemn such manifestations. He acknowledges that there are a number of possible reasons why people may exhibit these manifestations. Sometimes people behave in these ways because the physical reactions have been subtlety, but humanly, prompted. Gabriel knows this, in part, because of his own experience. He admits he copied the behavior of others at times, including shaking (page 4). So, people may feel a sort of “peer pressure” to conform to what others are doing. Another example, which he points out, is that a person may be primed to expect to be slain in the Spirit by having “catchers” put in place behind them prior to receiving ministry (page 32). There is an element of community pressure to conform. That being said, Gabriel believes that at times manifestations such as shaking and being slain in the Spirit are genuine responses to the Presence and power of God.

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2019

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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