This book review was submitted by Todd Gladman.
This book review falls in the bucket of accidental reads or unintended reads. Biblically conservative to the core, my father-in-law ordered the book thinking it was another Charles Stanley (late 1800’s?). “Dad” read it and let me know about it. I ordered a copy. It became something of a “watershed” moment in my Christian life as to appreciation for the ministry of God’s Holy Spirit - that was the early/mid-1990s.
By then, I was in my mid-thirties and had been a follower of Jesus for twenty-plus years. My early days as a believer were under the teaching of being wary of “charismatic display.” The “Trinity” was affirmed and celebrated, but with caution at “runaway expression.” And with that in mind, I was introduced to the writing of one Charles F. Stanley.
The book was originally published as The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life, later republished as The Spirit-Filled Life. While I have ordered multiple copies of the book since, sharing them with others, I still have my original copy, and uncharacteristically for me, highlighted throughout. It is also not the norm for me to keep a book. A number of years ago, I pared my library down very considerably. When I read a book now, I usually donate the book. Normally, I only keep those books that I consider something of a resource or that have made a significant impact on me. Such is this book.
I will admit to being somewhat skeptical as I read through the early chapters. With an eye ahead on Chapter 4, “D Day,” I thought, “oh, boy, here we go, some misapplied and overly experiential story of discovering the Holy Spirit is going to be presented.” Frankly, I only kept an open mind because, well, if my father-in-law endorsed this book, then it must not be far off the mark. But my skepticism remained.
I finished the book and have read it a number of times since (also very uncharacteristic of me). I have worked thru it with others, meeting weekly. I have suggested it to the leadership in more than one church. I consider its impact as a defining moment in my walk with God. It was a catalyst for helping me move more definitively from trying to be “Christian” to appropriating the equipping grace of God by enjoying the presence of God through His Holy Spirit. It was something of learning to not “quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), one of the three “bullet-point” learnings in the New Testament we would do well to heed [also “grieve not” and “walk in the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30, Galatians 5:16)].
I have told you little of the book; instead, I have shared how I came to read it and an expression of its impact on my life.
A companion book that you might also like to take in is Relying On The Holy Spirit [also by Charles F. Stanley (revised and updated 2019).]
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