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Stanford Linzey: The Holy Spirit in the Third Millennium


Stanford E. Linzey, Jr., The Holy Spirit in the Third Millennium: Handbook on the Holy Spirit: A Guide to the Spirit within. (Fairfax, Virginia: Xulon Press, 2003), 214 pages, ISBN 9781591604372.

Linzey aptly subtitled this text as a handbook; it is written for those who desire a straightforward “how to” book. He has divided it into two major parts. The first part is composed of nine chapters that expound on the practical aspect of the infilling and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. The second part is a dialogue of fifty-three commonly asked questions and Linzey’s answers to them.

With masterful storytelling, Linzey opens each segment with an illustrative narration of the principle that he is about to elaborate. These anecdotes, from his extensive experience in ministry, provide the backdrop for the theological position that he reinforces with Scriptural evidences. The text engages the reader through vivid imagery and powerful dialogue. His approach is down-to-earth and at times folksy.

Doctrinally, Linzey posits a finished-work position in contrast to a classical Pentecostal position of second (or third) blessing. There is no need to tarry; there is no prerequisite holiness, or standard of right living, that makes the believer ready to receive the Holy Spirit. The believer receives the Spirit by grace; the right living is a result of the enabling power of the Spirit.

Linzey makes the distinction between being baptized with the Spirit and the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit–specifically the gift of tongues. Linzey prefers the term “manifest” because all believers have the Spirit at conversion (p. 42). He teaches the reader and the people in his anecdotes, that they have already received the Spirit at conversion. The message of the book focuses on how to break out of the trap of wrong thinking that has bound the Christian and now inhibits the manifestation and blessings of the Spirit. The reader will notice that the text weaves several ideas throughout the book and revisits, almost verbatim, the same dialogue. This technique emphasizes Linzey’s primary message–every Spirit-filled believer can speak in tongues. He iterates, “this should be the normal spiritual experience…” (p. 71). Moreover, it is not that every believer must speak in tongues, but that they get to speak in tongues.

The question and answer section of the text explores the most common objections and exceptions to the phenomena of speaking in tongues. Linzey succinctly answers and belays the fears and objections of many believers, both the Pentecostal and the non-Pentecostal.

The aim of the book is not to be a systematic theology of the Holy Spirit, but it delineates pragmatically Linzey’s theological perspective. He defends his insistence on the ability of every Spirit-filled believer to speak in tongues through his presentation and his interpretation of Biblical proof texts.

Reviewed by John R. Miller

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Category: Fall 2006, Spirit

About the Author: John R. Miller is an ordained minister with Elim Fellowship of Lima, NY and serves as Pastor of Education with Living Word Temple of Restoration, Rochester, NY. He has a degree from Elim Bible Institute, a B.Div. (Trinity Theological Seminary), C.P.E. (University of Rochester), M.Div. (Northeastern Seminary), and Ph.D. (Regent University). He teaches at Regent University and Elim Bible Institute & College.

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