11 Quotes From “Holy Fire”

Holy FireHoly Fire by R.T. Kendall is an excellent book for dyed-in-the-wool Pentecostals, and for those who believed the operational gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased. You can read my book review by clicking here. Below are a few quotes I highlighted in this book.

“So if you feel threatened by the Holy Spirit, is it because you are happily in your comfort zone? Are you afraid of what the Holy Spirit might do to you? What He would require of you? What He might ask you to do? Do you think you will lose something if you make yourself vulnerable and totally open to Him? Are you afraid He will embarrass you? Do you think you will lose your identity? Do you think you might have to change?”

“The canon of Holy Scripture is closed. It is final. Absolute. Incontrovertible. It is God’s complete and final revelation. No word that will come in the future will be equal to the Bible in level of inspiration. This means that any leading, prophetic word, word of knowledge, or vision one may have today must cohere with Holy Scripture. If it doesn’t, it must be rejected.”

“The Holy Spirit is our best and only reliable Teacher. In fact, He is the only Teacher who matters. Whatever teaching you hear or read (including this book)—whoever the preacher or teacher, if the Spirit does not apply it and witness it to your heart (which He is most capable of doing), you should learn to hold that teaching in abeyance—if not dismiss it.” 

“The Spirit ‘guides’ us into truth—showing what is there but what cannot be seen without Him opening our eyes. It is humbling for prideful people to admit to the need of the Holy Spirit. The cost? Our pride being shattered. But once we are broken and enabled to see our stubbornness, the Spirit will show us amazing things—in Scripture.”

“The Holy Spirit leads us to praise the Lord Jesus as He deserves.” 

“Don’t come short of discovering how real God is because some well-meaning person says this kind of relationship with God is not possible today.”

“Unbelief is doubt that degenerates to a conscious act of the will. … But when we consciously decide that God did not say what He did—and we can do it better; or that He is not going to keep His word—or manifest Himself, and then put ourselves above His Word, we cross over a line. This is dangerous stuff.” 

“Do you know the context of Hebrews 13:8? Verses 7 and 9 point to one thing: sound teaching. … Whereas we have a perfect right to apply Hebrews 13:8 against cessationist teaching, the immediate context refers to doctrine. Sound theology. The writer wanted the teaching of Jesus to remain the same yesterday and today and forever. Knowing His Word and His ways.”

“What if God in some cases keeps some skeptics from seeing the miraculous even though it actually takes place? What if miracles are largely for those believers in God’s family who have accepted the stigma of being ‘outside the camp’ (Hebrews 13:13)? After all, why didn’t the resurrected Christ appear to everybody on Easter Sunday? One might choose to argue that this would have been a reasonable thing to do if God truly wanted everybody to believe on His Son. Why did Jesus reveal Himself only to a few? Why didn’t Jesus knock on Pontius Pilate’s door on Easter morning and say, ‘Surprise!’? Why didn’t Jesus go straight from the empty tomb to Herod’s palace and say, ‘Bet you weren’t expecting Me!’ He appeared only to a few—those who were His faithful followers. I also suspect that God sometimes allows just a little bit of doubt when it comes to the objective proof of the miraculous. This keeps us humbled. And sobered.” 

“The Holy Spirit can therefore be quenched by a doctrine that does not allow for Him to show up. … It also seems to me that one of the more serious fallouts of being a cessationist is that it can eliminate any expectancy for God to work powerfully in our hearts and lives. One may become too content with his or her sheer intellectual grasp of the gospel. The consequence is that we don’t even consider—much less expect—that God will manifest His power in our lives.”

“This to me is serious—and a very precarious position to take, namely, ruling out categorically the possibility of God manifesting His glory in signs and wonders today and deleting a great portion of the Bible for today. Consider how much the Bible has to say about God’s power. Healing. Signs and wonders. Revelation of truth by the Holy Spirit. Consider what is left in Holy Scripture when you rule out the miraculous or the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

Pentecost (book review)

PentecostI grew up with this stuff: I’m a fourth-generation Pentecostal, so I cut my teeth on this distinctive doctrine. But I was still amazed at the depth of insight into this dynamic theology that Dr. Robert Menzies shares in Pentecost: This Story Is Our Story.

Although Dr. Menzies shares a number of anecdotal stories to help illustrate certain points, this book is really a serious doctrinal work. Many people have written-off the operational gifts of the Holy Spirit seen in the book of Acts as something that ceased at the death of the apostles, or at the closing of the cannon of Scripture. But Dr. Menzies points out from the outset that Luke’s writings in the Gospel that bears his name and in the book of Acts are not just historical, but doctrinal too.

Many times people look at Paul’s writings as doctrinal, and the four Gospels and Acts as simply historical; thus giving more “weight” to the Pauline epistles. Dr. Menzies persuasively shows that Luke’s writing in Luke-Acts is just as doctrinal, and just as Holy Spirit-inspired, as every other book of the New Testament. In fact, he really goes beyond that to show how Luke’s writing is heavily influenced by Old Testament prophesies about the coming of the Messiah and the subsequent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

This is not a sensational book, but a scholarly work. It is extensively referenced, as evidenced by the ample endnotes. But don’t let this scare you off as a book just for pastors and theologians, as Dr. Menzies’ writing style is very readable by all.

Anyone who is interested in this distinctive doctrine of the Holy Spirit should read Pentecost.

12 Quotes From “Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire”

Pouring Holy Water On Strange FireIn Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire, Frank Viola uses an extensive array of sources, both ancient and contemporary, in his critique of John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire. You can read my full book review by clicking here. I hope you will enjoy these quotes as much as I did.

“For some do certainly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe, and join themselves to the church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and utter prophetic utterances. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. And what shall I more say? It is not possible to name the number of the gifts which the church throughout the whole world has received from God, in the name of the Jesus Christ (2.32.4) … For this reason does the apostle declare, who speak wisdom among them that are perfect, terming those persons perfect who have received the Spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all tongues, as he used himself also to speak. In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of tongues, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of God, whom also the apostle terms spiritual, they being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit (5.6.1).” —Irenaeus, Against Heresies

“Now was absolutely fulfilled that promise of the Spirit which was given by the word of Joel: ‘In the last days will I pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and their daughters shall prophesy; and upon My servants and upon My handmaids will I pour out of my Spirit.’ Since then the Creator promised the gifts of His Spirit in the latter days; and since Christ has in these last days appeared as the dispenser of spiritual gifts … it evidently follows in connection with this prediction of the last days, that this gift of the Spirit belongs to Him who is the Christ of the predictors … Let Marcion then exhibit, as gifts of his god, some prophets, such as have not spoken by human sense, but with the Spirit of God, such as have both predicted things to come, and have made manifest the secrets of the heart; let him produce a psalm, a vision, a prayer—only let it be by the Spirit, in an ecstasy, that is, in a rapture, whenever an interpretation of tongues has occurred to him; let him show to me also, that any woman of boastful tongue in his community has ever prophesied from amongst those specially holy sisters of his. Now all these signs of spiritual gifts are forthcoming from my side without any difficulty, and they agree, too, with the rules, and the dispensations, and the instructions of the Creator; therefore without doubt the Christ, and the Spirit, and the apostle, belong severally to my God. Here, then, is my frank avowal for any one who cares to require it (Bk. 5, Ch. 8).” —Tertullian, Against Marcion

“Anyone who cuts out portions of Scripture is guilty of very grievous sin … I say once more, there, that to hold such a view [cessationism] is simply to quench the Spirit.” —D. Martin Lloyd-Jones

“Therefore to say that because we now have all the writings of Scripture complete we no longer need the miraculous inspiration of the Spirit among men as in former days is a degree of blindness as great as any that can be charged upon the scribes and the Pharisees. … There is no degree of delusion higher than that which is evidenced by those who profess to teach from the divinely inspired Scriptures that the immediate, continual illumination and working of the Spirit in men’s hearts ceased when the canon of Scripture was complete. To deny the present prophetic gift in the church is to deny also that very manifestation of Christ today to His own which the Scriptures teach is the only means to the reality of Gospel Christianity.” —William Law

“But He has left to us the same power He possess. This [the indwelling Holy Spirit to continue Jesus’s life and ministry and to perpetuate miracles] is the mighty gift of our ascended Lord. This is the supreme need of the church today … the constitution of the church is identical with the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians. … We cannot leave out any part of the gospel without weakening the rest; and if there ever was an age when the world needed the witness of God’s supernatural working, it is the day of unbelief and satanic power.” —A.B. Simpson

“The devil only bothers to counterfeit that which is real and a threat to his kingdom.” —Frank Viola

“A Bible-based sermon can be equal in truth if rooted in Scripture, but not equal in authority to the Bible.” —Frank Viola

“Spirit can embrace intellect, but human intellect won’t comprehend Spirit.” —A.W. Tozer

“We need to learn that truth consists not in correct doctrine, but correct doctrine plus the inward enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.” —A.W. Tozer 

“We cannot make too much of this matter of revelation, illumination, seeing. It is basic in salvation (Acts 26:18). It is essential to effective ministry (2 Corinthians 4:6) and it is indispensable to full knowledge and full growth (Ephesians 1:17)…. The kind of seeing to which we refer is an epoch, an encounter, a revelation, a crisis. There is no power on this earth which could have changed that rabid, fanatical, bigoted Saul of Tarsus, a ‘Pharisee of the Pharisees,’ into ‘the apostle of the Gentiles’ (Romans 11:13)…. Argument would not have done it. Neither persuasion nor persecution nor martyrdom would have effected it. But it was done! That ‘conversion’ stood the test of all persecutions, sufferings, and adversities possible to man for the rest of his life…. Indeed, a fundamental and preeminent work of the Holy Spirit has to do with spiritual enlightenment and supremely as to the significance of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. It is all in the Scriptures, but still our eyes may be holden…. We can be governed by objective truth. It can be ‘the truth’—orthodox, sound, Bible truth. We can be governed by that simply because it is taught; we do it objectively. But there is something more than that. There is such a thing as the Holy Spirit taking hold of the truth of God and making it something that lives in us…. Many Christians are just Christians: that is, after they are saved, their Christian life consists in doing as they are told by the minister because it is presented to them as the thing they should do. But there is a much higher level of life than that. The thing is right, but it is altogether transformed when the Holy Spirit brings it home to us in an inward way, and adjusts us to it. We no longer do it because it has got to be done: we do it because the Lord has done something in us, and shown us that that is the thing that He wants done… it is no more mechanical, it is vital!” —T. Austin Sparks

“To downplay and criticize a genuine desire to know our Lord in greater capacity and to receive clear direction from God’s Spirit in greater measure is contrary to the exhortation and examples found in Scripture. Certainly, spiritual contentment and complacency would have drawn from Paul the strongest reproof. And it did so from Jesus in the book of Revelation.” —Frank Viola

“One thing the charismatic movement has been sent to do, I believe, is to alert us all to the fact that God, when trusted, will show His hand in many thrilling ways, and we should be expecting Him to do that, though without dictating to Him what He must do in particular situations.” —J.I. Packer

Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire (book review)

Pouring Holy Water On Strange FireI fully admit that I’m a little biased on this one. After all, what would you expect from a fourth generation Pentecostal? But even with that disclaimer, I thought Frank Viola did a masterful job in his critique called Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire.

Viola’s book is a critique of John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire, in which MacArthur attempts to make the case that the way Pentecostals and Charismatics advocate and practice their faith is unscriptural. MacArthur would fall into the camp of the cessationists, who claim that all of the operational gifts of the Holy Spirit enumerated in the New Testament ceased when the apostles died, or when the canon of Scripture was closed. I’ve always found this a strained argument at best, or as Mark Driscoll says, one needs to do “exegetical origami” to reach the cessationists’ conclusion.

Frank Viola systematically critiques Strange Fire thought-by-thought, section-by-section. He does so fairly and academically, using respected Bible commentators, the writings of Church fathers, logic, personal examples, as well as other respected contemporary voices who express similar concerns against MacArthur’s arguments.

This is a good book for any student of the Bible to read. It’s not a lengthy tome, so you will not get bogged down in reams of academia, but you will be able to weigh the evidence that both cessationists and Pentecostals use.You can download the ebook version by clicking here.

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