Review: Practicing the Power

30649315Sam Storms is Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Storms has a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. He is the author of numerous books, including Convergence: Spiritual Journeys of a Charismatic Calvinist (Enjoying God Ministries, 2005), contributing author to Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?: Four Views (Zondervan, 1996), and The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts (Bethany House Publishers, 2013). Most recently, Storms has provided a practical guide for both churches and individuals looking to incorporate the gifts of the Holy Spirit into everyday life.

Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit is a breath of fresh air. Storms is biblically sound, theologically trustworthy, and pastorally sensitive to the issues at hand. He has written for those “theologically sophisticated followers of Christ who are open to and hungry for the present tense voice of the Spirit while always subject to the functional and final authority of the written text of Scripture” (p. 13). This includes both the corporate and individual level—the former making it unique for pastors looking to influence the culture of their church. The book is comprised of twelve chapters and two appendix articles, covering everything from the fasting, healing, and prophecy, to desiring spiritual gifts and the importance of worshiping in the Spirit.

There is much to be appreciated about this book. First, and probably foremost, Storms rightly recognizes that “Bible-believing evangelicals will never be truly open to the pursuit of spiritual gifts unless they see them clearly taught in Scripture” (p. 28). Thus, the pastor must be willing to guide his people to that end, and Storms does a compelling, and even encouraging job assisting the reader to observe that reality. Second, Storms provides seasoned advice that is both practical and easily implemented. Storms penetrates to the heart of the matter and speaks with clarity and truth from God’s word. Third, Storms offers example after example for the readers to use and learn from as they press into the gifts of the Spirit. Lastly, Storms consistently places emphasis where emphasis is needed. He is in no way concerned or satisfied with emotional exercises of superficial spirituality. The desire of his heart is clearly for the betterment of the body of Christ and the edification of God’s people.

Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit by Sam Storms is easily one of the most important books on spiritual gifts available on the market today. It is practical and informed in more ways than one. Storms is easy to read and enjoyable, and the eager reader will learn a lot from his gracious approach. As someone who is theologically in agreement with Storms’ position, but more times than not functionally opposed to it, I found myself both challenged and encouraged to practice the power. This a book every should Christian read in time, and do so carefully. It comes highly recommended!

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