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Holy Spirit Invasion: An Interview With Dean Merrill Please share a couple of examples of gifts of the Holy Spirit that you have personally seen in action.

Dean Merrill: The book has approximately 40 such examples, from words of knowledge to miracles (some physical restorations but others not), to deliverances from the dark powers, to remarkably specific prophecies, to tongues with interpretation, to even a couple of genuine resurrections (with doctor verification). Several of these people are longtime personal friends of mine. A half-dozen stories in the book include online links to watch—for example, a grandmother’s sudden ability to see again after 12 years of diabetes-induced blindness … while the church’s video cameras were running.

For more information, see What would you say to a cessationist who believes that some of the gifts of the Spirit, such as prophecy, healing, and miracles have ceased?

We must let the Bible say what it wants to say, whether it makes us comfortable or not.

Dean Merrill: As my godly mother used to reply when I would come home from Bible college with another half-baked doctrinal theory, “Chapter and verse!” Where in fact does the Bible tell us that the charismata (or at least the more spectacular ones) have ceased? First Corinthians 13:8-10 is an awfully thin reed to lean upon, and few respected exegetes do so these days. The testimony of church history throughout 20 centuries now shows ongoing gifts of the Spirit all along the way, if we do fair research.

We must let the Bible say what it wants to say, whether it makes us comfortable or not. In what ways can the church in the West help cultivate a greater openness to the gifts of the Spirit?

Dean Merrill: We can relax our grip on doing church our way, the way we’ve always been taught and seen modeled. The Spirit is, after all, the Divine Wind (pneuma) that “blows wherever it pleases” (John 3:8). You can’t control it, unless you retreat inside and shut all your doors and windows. I believe Jesus’ whole point in that passage with Nicodemus is to say that the Spirit-empowered person is never entirely predictable or programmable.

We would do well to surrender to that Wind, to be willing to ditch our human plans and be stretched. After all, Paul taught us that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17). This does not mean that He will do crazy or disgraceful things that harm the cause of Christ. But He may surprise us once in a while!




More from Dean Merrill:

Read an excerpt from Dean Merrill’s, Miracle Invasion: “A Higher Code

Dean Merrill talking about his book Miracle Invasion.

Dean Merrill talking about his book Miracle Invasion.

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2018

About the Author: Dean Merrill has been published in over 40 Christian magazines and is the author or co-author of 50 books. His most recent title is 50 Pentecostal and Charismatic Leaders Every Christian Should Know (Chosen, 2021). He has also written Miracle Invasion: Amazing True Stories of the Holy Spirit’s Gifts at Work Today (BroadStreet, 2018), Damage Control: How to Stop Making Jesus Look Bad (Baker, 2006) and seven other solo titles. As a co-author, he is perhaps best known for the award-winning “Fresh Wind” trilogy with Jim Cymbala, pastor of New York City’s Brooklyn Tabernacle, which sold more than a million copies in hardcover (Zondervan). The initial book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, was named Christian Book of the Year in 2000. He also assisted Gracia Burnham, missionary survivor who endured a year of captivity with a Muslim terrorist group in the southern Philippines. That book, entitled In the Presence of My Enemies (Tyndale), made the New York Times bestseller list and won a Gold Medallion award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). Other notable titles have included a second book with Mrs. Burnham, To Fly Again (Tyndale); More than a Hobby, with Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green (Nelson); a book with Compassion International president Dr. Wess Stafford on the value of children, Too Small to Ignore (WaterBrook); and Every Man’s Bible (Tyndale), for which Merrill was the general editor.

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