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Zeb Bradford Long and Douglas McMurray: Receiving the Power


Zeb Bradford Long and Douglas McMurray, Receiving the Power: Preparing the Way for The Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Chosen Books, 1996), 251 pages.

The authors of the book The Collapse of the Brass Heaven have teamed up again to write about finding power to do what Jesus did. Coming from a Third Wave or what they call a neo-evangelical viewpoint, they introduce readers to the biblical concept of empowerment for ministry and offer practical explanation of how to receive this power from God.

This book appears to be written to those who have been somehow wounded or ostracized by Pentecostal and charismatic churches but who know there must be more of God’s power available to the believer than what they are presently experiencing. Nevertheless, even for Pentecostals and charismatics this is an excellent introduction to the thought of the Third Wave. This book also represents a revival of the theology and renewal experience of R. A. Torrey.

Although many outside of the charismatic movement see virtually no difference between the Third Wave and other charismatics, Brad Long and Doug McMurray make it clear what the basic difference is: initial evidence. They believe that this teaching that tongues (glossolalia) is the evidence of being “Spirit-filled” has prevented Pentecostals and charismatics from further reaching the world because of the division that they say this teaching brings. They state, “The present activity of the Holy Spirit around the world requires us to find some other way of interpreting twentieth-century outpourings than by means that exclude everyone but tongues-speakers” (p. 30).

Zeb Bradford Long

It is true that many among the Pentecostals teach that not only is tongues the normal initial evidence of being baptized with the Holy Spirit, they teach that it is the only evidence of being Spirit filled. However, it is a leap for the two authors to maintain that classical Pentecostals are trapped and are without a theological basis for initial evidence (see pp.136-137). The trap they claim that has been set is that if “you must speak in tongues to be Spirit-filled”, then logically, you must not be saved if you cannot speak in tongues.

What can be said about this? This review is not sufficient to answer the “initial evidence debate.” It is obvious that the simplistic explanations given of what charismatics and especially Pentecostals teach regarding this issue do not truly represent either of these “waves” as a whole. Disturbingly, the authors do not seems to be aware of anyone from the Pentecostal or charismatic movements that believes tongues to be, yes, the normal initial evidence but necessarily the only evidence of being Spirit filled.


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Category: Spirit, Spring 1999

About the Author: Raul L. Mock is one of the founders and directors of the Pneuma Foundation and editor of The Pneuma Review. Raul has been part of an Evangelical publishing ministry since 1996, working with Information Services and Supply Chain Management for more than two decades. He and his wife, Erin, have a daughter and twin boys and live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. LinkedIn

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