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Max Turner: The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts in the New Testament Church and Today

Turner himself describes the book as “a Level 2 text, and so the kind of book that is readily accessible to busy pastors, church leaders, and other more general readers.” This is perhaps an overstatement of Turner’s faith in the theological background of this group and the time a more general reader wishes to invest in the book. The reader who wishes to follow Turner’s argument is well advised to turn first to a thorough reading of the New Testament witness itself and to one or more “Level 1” texts before engaging in this challenging discussion. Among others, the reader may also wish to study the related works of James Dunn, Gordon Fee and Robert Menzies. Nonetheless, for those who are mostly interested in Turner’s analysis of the New Testament, even the reader not acquainted with the contemporary discussion will find a wealth of information, detailed exegesis of the writings of Luke, John and Paul, and a number of principles for a contemporary reading of the New Testament.

The author intends to provide a middle way between Pentecostal theology and more traditional forms of Christianity. Readers from both sides will have to decide how much of this ideal Turner has actually achieved. From the perspective of more conservative theology, the book offers little interaction with sources outside of the Pentecostal/charismatic and Evangelical traditions. From the Pentecostal perspective, the book hardly interacts with the experiential approach of a Pentecostal theology to spiritual gifts. To both sides, the book should therefore be perceived as an invitation to combine the wisdom and insights of the different traditions for a more inclusive and ecumenical perspective in the future. In this sense, The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts has opened the doors to further dialogue and interaction not only on the formal academic level but also among pastors, church leaders and others who seek to maintain the unity of the Spirit.

Reviewed by Wolfgang Vondey

 

Publisher’s page: http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-holy-spirit-and-spiritual-gifts-revised-edition/333450

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2005

About the Author: Wolfgang Vondey, Ph.D. (Marquette University) and M.Div. (Church of God Theological Seminary), is Reader in Contemporary Christianity and Pentecostal Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK. He is an ordained minister with the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). His research focuses on ecclesiology, pneumatology, theological method, and the intersection of theology and science.

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