Insights from D.A. Carson’s book, Showing the Spirit

I really appreciate D.A. Carson and all the books I’ve been able to read by him. Showing the Spiritnot surprisingly did not disappoint. Here are some quotes that stuck out to me from the book: 

“There is a long tradition of reading one’s particular ecclesiastical tradition into the text” (D.A. Carson, Showing the Spirit, 44).

“The healings and other miracles of Jesus are explicitly connected not only with the person of Jesus, but also with the new age he is inaugurating” (Carson, Showing the Spirit, 156).

“The greatest evidence that heaven has invaded our sphere, that the Spirit has been poured out upon us, that we are citizens of a kingdom not yet consummated, is Christian love” (p. 76).

“Prophecy may occur more often than is recognized in noncharismatic circles, and less often than is recognized in charismatic circles” (p. 168).

“There is no single, stereotypical Old Testament prophecy and a different stereotypical New Testament prophecy” (p. 98).

Carson points out that just “because miraculous signs have a distinctively attesting role in some instances, it does not follow that this is the only role they play” (p. 156). He goes on to say, “The healings and other miracles of Jesus are explicitly connected not only with the person of Jesus, but also with the new age he is inaugurating” (Ibid.).

“There is no exegetical warrant for thinking certain classes of the Spirit’s manifestations cease once the crucial points of redemptive history have passed” ( 155).

“At the exegetical level, the charismatic movement is surely right to argue that the χαρίσματα (charismata), including the more spectacular of them, have not been permanently withdrawn” ( 182). Carson then says in a footnote that he “would make an exception of the gifts of apostleship in the narrow sense” (p. 182n78).

“When God graciously manifests himself in abnormal and even spectacular ways, the wisest step that the leaders participating in such a movement may take is to curb the excesses, focus attention on the center—on Christ, on loving discipleship, on self-sacrificing service and obedience, on God himself—and not on the phenomena themselves” (p. 179).

“Effective evangelism depends on many people gossiping the gospel” ( 182).

I want to close with Carson’s fitting and final words:

“The church must hunger for personal and corporate submission to the lordship of Christ. We must desire to know more of God’s presence in our lives, and pray for a display of unleashed, reforming, revivifying power among us, dreading all steps that aim to domesticate God. But such prayer and hunger must always be tempered with joyful submission to the constraints of biblical discipline” (p. 188).

About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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