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Miracles and the Gifts of the Spirit All Through Church History What has been the response to the book so far?

Jeff Oliver: All three volumes were released in 2017 and we are already on our second print. Early reviewers say, “the books read like novels.” One said, “Jeff researches like a scholar, but writes like a pastor.” Another wrote, “an interesting and valuable read for anyone desiring a better understanding of the Holy Spirit’s work in God’s people since Pentecost.” Several prominent Christian universities and Bible colleges are already using the books. One graduate dean used them for summer coursework. Several professors are writing new courses based on the books. Others are incorporating the material into existing courses. Another school ordered several hundred copies for their incoming students. Even more amazing is the variety of schools using the books—Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and charismatic—only God could do that. Is there a particular group of people you hope will read this book?

Jeff Oliver: Young people! David said, “One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Ps. 145:4). If this was true and important in biblical times, how much more in postbiblical times? Aimee Semple McPherson reintroduced a supernatural God to her generation and we must do the same today or we risk losing an entire generation. This is why I wrote each volume in plain language and why my wife and I launched Global Wakening—a ministry that is inspiring and equipping a new generation with a supernatural Christian worldview to help ignite a global wakening of God’s church. What was the most surprising thing you learned as you were doing research for the book?

Jeff Oliver: Learning that miracles and spiritual gifts continued in the church was shocking and amazing to me. Early Pentecostals believed the gifts of the Spirit operated in apostolic times, which they called the “early rain,” and the gifts of the Spirit operated in their day, which they called the “latter-rain,” with a two thousand-year period of relative drought in between. This is a cessationist theory. The problem with all cessationist theories (beside being scripturally and historically untrue) is they fail to take into consideration two thousand years of Jesus building His church! I was also surprised to learn that miracles frequently occurred on both sides of theological arguments. Evidently, God is not a respecter of persons, does not take sides in our petty squabbles, and is more interested in saving grace than perfect doctrine. Mark Twain famously said, “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” and traveling through history can do the same. There were charismatic Christians in all faiths and in every age, and there are no Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, or Pentecostals in heaven—only believers. When I wanted to know the origins of Pentecostalism, I studied Azusa Street, but the Lord led me to Pentecost—interesting!

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Category: Church History, Winter 2018

About the Author: Jeff Oliver is an inspirational speaker and author of Pentecost to the Present: The Holy Spirit's Enduring Work in the Church. This three-volume (Book 1: Early Prophetic And Spiritual Gifts Movements, Book 2: Reformations And Awakenings, Book 3: Worldwide Revivals And Renewals) series traces our Spirit-filled heritage to ancient times and gives documented historic evidence of signs, wonders and miracles continuing in the church to this present age. Jeff is also founder and president of Global Wakening, a ministry that is inspiring and equipping a new generation with a supernatural Christian worldview to help ignite a global wakening of God's church.

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