Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: Nine Lies People Believe about Speaking in Tongues by Steve Bremner

Have you ever believed or been told that speaking in tongues is not for today? Or do you believe that it is for today, but not for everybody, or that its contemporary use is suspicious? 

These are some of the most common misconceptions people have about this particular gift of the Holy Spirit. In this book, Steve Bremner Scripturally answers these and other objections to modern-day glossolalia. 

Other objections covered in this book include: 
"Tongues are not for today." 
"Holy Spirit baptism already happened at salvation." 
"Speaking in tongues is the least important of the spiritual gifts." 
"You aren’t supposed to speak in tongues unless there’s an interpreter." 
"You can't just speak in tongues at will." 

This book will help you destroy the traditions of man and the lies of religion that nullify the power of God in your life. Begin a new love walk and experience depths in God you never knew were possible through praying in tongues.

I often joke that 1 Corinthians 14:18 is my life verse. Though it is a joke, I'm such a truth oriented person that my humor often barely escapes being blunt honesty with comedic phrasing. I genuinely desire to speak in tongues as much as possible. My passion for this good and perfect gift from my Father above makes me incredibly grateful for Steve Bremner's down to earth apologetic for an accurate understanding of the presence and practice of the gift of tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit today.

Nine Lies People Believe about Speaking in Tongues presents an entertaining and readable explanation of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues, dismantling misconception after misconception with precision, tenacity, and a heavy dose of personality. Rather than presenting a succinct, academic answer for each lie or misconception, Steve Bremner weaves his own story of receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues as well as his encounters with each lie into his teaching. His journey from complete ignorance of the gifts of the spirit into cessationism and then into Pentecostal and Charismatic experience is bold and honest. The result is a highly personal, but effective argument for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues.

Though unexpected and jarring at first, I was immediately thrust upon a couch listening to a friend's impassioned arguments complete with exaggerated inflections of "Put that in your Bible and read it!" While at first riling, the transparency of the author's own personality and communication style quickly became what set the book apart. The book left me feeling that I received information in a very personal and oddly intimate way. The extremely familiar style creates an affection for the writer and the content and attaches a person to every argument. I never found myself thinking, "I agree with that," or "I disagree with that," but "I agree with you" or "I disagree with you." This may not affect all readers, but was tremendously impacting for me. I was moved to tears by Bremner's story of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and provoked when he brought up points that I had not thought of before. His personality was as much a part of the book as the arguments.

The weight of the verve in the prose keeps the book from being stuffy, and it also keeps the book from being for or from an "expert." This may be detrimental to readers who choose not to see the lucidity of the arguments over the flair. The content engages the reader immediately and is out to persuade with insights into Greek, exegesis, wit, imagination, comedy, and plain old rants. The variety of styles of argumentation, the witty storytelling, and the contemporary humor and attitude compelled me to finish the book in two sittings.

The book gets better as it progresses both in its arguments and its passion. Bremner moves from an explanation of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and a brief explanation of how this baptism relates to tongues, to common objections to the current presence and practice of tongues, teasing out the relationship between tongues and the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and exhorting the reader on the value of exercising the gift of tongues. I especially appreciated the later sections and appendices on receiving and helping others receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Though I received certain points within the book with nuance, I concur with the author's conclusions and was poignantly reminded that we don't know how to pray as we should, but that the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses with a good and perfect gift from heaven. I am tremendously grateful.

My thanks to the author for providing a complimentary review copy. I have given an honest review.

Steve Bremner is a co-laborer in the harvest. Please consider supporting his gospel work by purchasing his books or supporting him directly.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Review: Seeking Allah Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi takes the reader on a riveting journey into the mind and heart of  a man passionately seeking and receiving revelation from the one true God. The book succeeds not only as a gripping narrative autobiography, but as a poignant presentation of the truth of Jesus Christ as revealed to a brilliant young Pakistani Muslim. This is a life-changing book that stirs the heart, arrests the mind, and brings the reader into a step-by-step revelation of Jesus as the Savior for all the world.

Nabeel Qureshi does a phenomenal job of taking the reader into his mind and heart to reveal a cultural background and mindset that remains mysterious to most of the world. His vivid portraits of his life as a child, the discomfort of teenage years as a third-culture kid, and the challenges of fighting for truth and identity as an adult thrust us into a different world. His honest descriptions of his struggle with the truth, his foundations, and his own understanding and relationship with God are unlike any biography I've read before, yet they seem so familiar and close to my own heart. In writing a book about himself, a young Muslim seeking the truth, Nabeel Qureshi has managed to capture the inner wrestling for and against the truth of God in Jesus Christ.

Nabeel's story is beautiful. It is so much more than a testimony of a Muslim meeting Jesus. It is a thrilling account of intellectual honesty in the midst of extreme tension. It is a powerful story of supernatural encounters, dreams, and visions. It is a crash course in apologetics taught through riveting dialogue. It is the story of how God loved the world so much, that while we were still sinners, He sent His Son to die for us. It is the story of how God reaches down and intervenes in the lives of His creation, guiding us into all truth. As a minister who works with Muslims everyday, has been through numerous trainings and read numerous books, this book has contributed so much to my understanding of Islam, Muslims, Pakistanis, apologetics, evangelism, and even relationship with God. Even more than that it has given me fresh hope and inspiration as I share the truth of the Gospel with a world that longs for the truth and a God who will intervene in their lives.

My thanks to Zondervan for providing a complimentary review copy. I have given an honest review.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Review: Birthing the Miraculous by Heidi Baker

Birthing the Miraculous by Heidi Baker weaves the story of Jesus' miraculous birth with the story of the birthing of Iris Global and the movement of the Holy Spirit that is sweeping Mozambique and the world through the lives of Rolland and Heidi Baker. The parallel is fitting. Both stories are intensely personal for those involved and tell of great humility, obedience, and sacrifice as women of great faith and favor surrendered to the call of God and the work of the Spirit in their lives. Both stories contain valuable principles for our lives and ministries, and both stories tell of miracles that touched the whole world.

Heidi Baker uses her own life to illustrate the principles that have rooted and sustained the movement catalyzed by Iris Global. The book effortlessly moves from biographical sketches to passionate calls for intimacy with the Father. The core of the book is a call to abide in Christ from John 15. Heidi Baker convinces us with story after story, and paragraph after paragraph that the only way to bear fruit is to stay connected to Jesus. Intimacy with God is the open secret. It's something we all nod our heads to, but it's something that the Bakers have fought for and proven with their lives.

Birthing the Miraculous is a life-changing book. The stories are unforgettable as is the example of the Bakers and what God is doing through their ministry to the poorest of the world. But beyond the stories and testimonies there is something more to this book. There is that almost tangible presence of God in these words. Words string together into sentences and sentences into paragraphs, but there is something so much deeper than well written prose and well-articulated passion. It's not the writing itself, but the Spirit within the author who has inspired the words. The presence of God leaks off these pages, whispering behind the words and drawing us closer and closer to Jesus. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I cherish every one of Heidi Baker's books, and of all of them, this one is perhaps the most complete, and the most articulate. This book comes from one of the giants of our generation, one of whom the world is not worthy. May we follow her as she follows Christ.

My thanks to Charisma House for providing a complimentary review copy. I have given an honest review.