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Michael Brown: Playing With Holy Fire

Michael L. Brown, Playing With Holy Fire: A Wake-Up Call To the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2018), 224 pages, ISBN 9781629994987.

Dr. Michael Brown has Pentecostal roots that run deep. His early days as a Christian were spent in an Italian Pentecostal Church in New York, years later he was one of the leaders in the Brownsville Revival in Florida, and in addition he has written a number of books that deal with the ministry of the Spirit. Some of his books dealing with the work of the Holy Spirit include: Whatever Happened to the Power of God, The Revival Answer Book, and Authentic Fire. He has been exposed to the charismatic workings of the Spirit since the early 1970s both as an observer and as a participant. He cares very deeply about the Charismatic/Pentecostal movements. Much good has come from these movements, however, there is no denying that they have had their fair share of problems as well. In Playing With Holy Fire Brown addresses some of the problems within the Charismatic/Pentecostal church. He also gives examples of positive things that have taken place as people have obeyed the promptings of God. In some of his other books, Brown has written about the shortcomings of the Spirit-filled church, in this current volume he deals with them quite extensively. He does not write merely as a critic, as always, he seeks to be redemptive. He identifies the problems, explains why they are problems, and offers counsel to move forward toward more biblical beliefs and practices. The author offers a wealth of scriptural references to substantiate the truth in the face of error.

The book consists of a preface, twelve chapters, and a postscript. The chapters are: “The Spirit Is Moving Mightily!,” “Why Are We So Gullible?”, “Mercenary Prophets,” “Superstar Leaders,” “Abusive Leadership,” “Unaccountable Prophecies,” “Sexual Immorality,” “The Pep-Talk, Prosperity Gospel,” “Celebrating Doctrinal Deviance,” “To the Third Heaven and Back in a Flash,” “Wanting to Be Wise Like the World,” and “Where Do We Go From Here?” The postscript is titled: “A Word to the Charismatic Critics.” As a quick look at the chapter titles makes clear, Brown covers a number of very significant topics. One interesting feature of this book is that the author does not give the names of the people who are in error in the various areas that he covers in the book. He states his reasons for not naming names in the preface of the book. In the preface he also lists things that have contributed to the problems in the Charismatic/Pentecostal Movements, he believes they stem from “immaturity, gullibility, carnality, sensationalism, merchandising, corruption, and doctrinal error” in a rapidly growing supernatural movement.

Chapter one is very positive. It speaks about the tremendous impact that the charismatic work of the Holy Spirit has had upon our world. In fact, Brown tells us that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Azusa Street ranked 68th in a list of the top 100 events of the last 1,000 years in a report published by Life Magazine in 1999. So the world has noticed!

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2018

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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