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Book Reviews

Empowered by the Grace of God

by Garth W. Black, Tate Publishing, © 2014,
162 pages, $15.99 (paperback), ISBN 978-1-63418-805-0

Meeting the Word in the World bookcoverIn the over 45 years that I have been talking to people about the existence of God and the validity of Christianity, I have frequently had the subject of the Holy Spirit brought up by skeptics. They say it is an example of wild, foolish belief that causes people to do and say things that are destructive. Whether it is Charles Manson or a recent murderer of innocent people, the Holy Spirit is frequently a scapegoat for irrational behavior. On a less dramatic note, we see religious fundamentalists attributing everything from tongue speaking to spirit dancing to the activities of the Holy Spirit. Some 40 years ago I taught several classes on the Holy Spirit using a little booklet by Garth Black from Bakersfield, California. I found it to be intelligently written, scripturally correct, and presented in a way that everyone could understand. Unfortunately, that little booklet went out of print. This “book of the month” is an updated and expanded version of the old book, and we wanted to let people know about its availability.

Black introduces the book by telling of a young man who maintained he could not become a Christian because he could not measure up to the standard necessary to live a Christian life. Black points out that the failure in this case was a failure to understand how the Holy Spirit empowers us. The book is divided into 13 short chapters and has an appendix dealing with the error of denying the indwelling of the Spirit.

The nature of the Spirit, his role in the Old Testament, in nature, in man, and in prophecy is followed by a study of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. The way the Spirit works in a Christian and how it helps us through the Word is explained. The gift of the Holy Spirit is studied as well as its history in the church. There is great emphasis on how each Christian is blessed and guided by the Spirit. This is not an apologetic for the existence of the Holy Spirit, but a careful, logical, biblical explanation of how the Spirit fits into our lives as Christians.

We recommend this book as a unique explanation of a badly misunderstood biblical concept. Believers will find the book helpful and motivating, and nonbelievers can come to a better understanding of the Holy Spirit and the Christian faith.