At the core of human identity is what we desire. As the saying goes, “What the heart desires, the will chooses, and the mind justifies.” I think Cranmer said it, and it is true. I know it in myself; when I wrestle with who I am, I end up at questions of “What do I really love? What is my heart’s desire? What moves me at my deepest?”

It’s the same with church communities. We can talk about vision-casting and strategic planning and the rest of it, but 99% of the time a church’s problems come down to this question of passion. What moves us? What do we want? Whom do we desire? 

To be frank, the honest answer for most churches is that we are enamoured with ourselves: our way of doing things, our past glories, our insecurities, our past pains, our desire to be bigger and stronger. Even when we are going about our worship (which is meant to be, by definition, God-focused), our eyes can drop to ourselves; to our feelings, our power, our benefits of being Christians. There’s a fine-line between thanking God for making us worthy, clean, and beautiful as his bride, and staring adoringly into a mirror.

Mike Bickle’s Passion for Jesus has, for this reason, been a refreshing read. Bickle is the founder of International House of Prayer, Kansas City (IHOPKC), a movement that is arguably the American correlation to the UK’s Pete Greig and the 24-7 Prayer Movement. This book is his definitive, slightly autobiographical, tome, originally released in the 90’s and updated a decade or so ago.

Bickle’s mission is to move people to pray. His wisdom recognises that that is a thoroughly impossible task if we do not understand the centrality of God in our very identity, or if we misconstrue God and don’t see his loving heart. And so he lays before us the truths of what God has revealed to us about himself. It’s not just the theological categories of God’s nature, but the personal categories of God’s character, his emotions and passions.

…passion for Jesus does not come from natural human zeal or enthusiasm. Passion for Jesus comes first and foremost by seeing His passion for us. (Page 4)

Bickle explores this partly through his own story, and recounts the crises by which he came to reflect on and grasp God’s love and affection. His project is to go to the foundational place of desire in our walk with Jesus. We could talk about Christian ethics, Christian morals, or the boundaries on the straight and narrow way that should bind our wayward heart. Bickle would rather talk about the beauty, glory, and intimacy of God. Rather than focusing on the edges of the path, he would have our heart be drawn down the road.

Expositions of intimacy with God are rarely adequate. Bickle is better than most when he urges us to be lovers “fascinated with God’s beauty” (page 37). Like others on this topic, he draws on the Song of Songs – that romantic, even erotic, love song-play between King Solomon and the Shullamite girl. He does it reasonably well, despite some exegetical slips (I much prefer David Pawson’s exposition of the Song). Nevertheless, Bickle draws some valuable insights, particularly around the dynamic of absence in the growth and expression of desire (pages 127-128). This is crucial, because the absence of God, rather than intimacy with God, is what most Christians predominantly feel. Yet the Beloved turns that sorrow of absence into yearning and searching and courageous abandonment of comfort and security because of her desire. These are helpful reflections.

In a similar vein, he spends an entire chapter outlining “twelve expressions of God’s beauty” (page 132): God’s beautiful light, his music, his fragrance, and other unashamedly affective contemplations. It’s a fascinating exercise, and has informed the counsels of my own heart when I am praying and dwelling on God in my everyday.

But the reason it all works, and what sets Bickle apart from other writers and speakers in the charismatic and pentecostal scenes, is that he doesn’t forget the theology. It is good, beautiful, theology influenced by the likes of Tozer, Piper, Packer, Edwards and “the devotional classics written by the Puritans” (page 171).

This book is nowhere near the slightly Freudian caricature of loving God as a starry-eyed swooning at Jesus and a desiring to be filled by his powerful Spirit. Here is an exposition that not only reveals God’s love and affection, but his transcendence and sovereignty. Bickle warns of how a blindness to God’s magnificence is a “shocking disregard for Him” (page 28) and that a dismissal of God’s holiness renders the cross of Christ insignificant. “They understand neither the greatness of their need nor the glory of God’s gift” (page 32). This is the antidote to the prevailing false gospel of today’s church, that we can have God on our terms.

When we gaze upon His loveliness, we will gladly die to those things that are not like Him. (page 35)

I particularly appreciated how Bickle makes use of Jesus’ famous prayer in John 17. It’s a prayer for intimacy (“that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you”) and it includes our Lord’s specific prayer for us (“for those who will believe in me through their message”). Too often this prayer gets turned into pious moralising manipulation: Don’t disagree with me, don’t you know that Jesus wanted us to be one, you wouldn’t want to disappoint him, would you?” Bickle sees the prayer as a manifestation of God’s sovereign heart; Jesus has prayed this prayer, as an act of love and affection for his people, and his Father will answer it. “The Holy Spirit will enable us to experience the deep things of God, as the apostle Paul taught” (page 42, emphasis mine).

It takes the power of God to make God known to the human spirit. This knowledge enables us to love God… it takes God to love God, and it takes God to know God… The church will be filled with the knowledge of God. Jesus said it. His promises never fail. The Holy Spirit will use the release of this knowledge to awaken a deep intimacy with Jesus. A revival of the knowledge of God is coming, and as a result the church will be filled with holy passion for Jesus. Divinely imparted passion for Jesus is on the Holy Spirit’s agenda as seen in Jesus’ prayer. (Page 60, emphasis mine)

I have looked at the lukewarm, compromising church of our day and wondered, How shall these things be? Will such a glorious revival come to pass? Then I remember Israel’s negative spiritual condition during the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The church’s only hope is that God is rich in mercy. Therefore, at His appointed time, God will supernaturally intervene. The same flaming zeal in the heart of the Father that complelled Him to send Jesus the first time will manifest as He revives the compromising church in this generaiton. The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall perform it. (Page 62)

This book is not about twanging charismatic heart-strings, it is an eschatologically scoped book, standing awe-struck at the plans and purposes of God. It looks for a “church that is joyfully abandoned to Jesus’ lordship” (page 76) as our Lord inherits the nations for his possession (Psalm 2:8).

I went to a concert last night, where Andrew Peterson lifted our hearts and minds towards the things of God. We were moved. Ironically, I found myself downcast and dejected. I had been taken to something deep – to the plans and hearts of the Someone who made and bled for this world and for his people. And it had left me feeling lonely. This desire for God is the root and core of who we are. I delight that Gill and I have learned (and are still learning) to orbit it together. And there are many others to stand beside and share the awe. But, in general, I am weary of an unmoved church, especially in the West, consumed in itself and discarding its own on the path to self-preservation or self-engrandisement.  I feel the same weariness in Bickle’s book, but also hope, and joy, and confidence in Jesus. The gift of that is its value.

DaveO asks:


I’ve been aware for as long as I can remember the, quite stark really, difference between the “tongues” at Pentecost and what I would call the common contemporary understanding/experience. At Pentecost the apostles speak and are simultaneously heard by a multilingual audience “each one hearing them speak in his own language” (Acts 2) which is so different from someone speaking an unknown language and another translating.

What has prompted the question was idly listening to a radio sermon where the speaker (who knows who he was) suggested that 1 Cor situation was a multilingual congregation where Paul is requiring conventional translation of human languages, in a multilingual service. i.e. a VERY different understanding than what I have called the common contemporary of “tongues”.

He was convicted by the difference in Greek work usage for “language” between the various passages. I haven’t been overly convinced by my unknown radio voice, but I also deeply unsatisfied by the un-Pentecost-ian nature of what is usually claimed as the gift of tongues. As an aside I am also deeply unsatisfied (and usual quite vocal in that unsatisifaction) in the un-Pentecost-ian nature of “improved liver function”, and “my back is soo much better” being claimed as the gift of healing.

Can you give me an unpacking to ponder.


Hi David,

From the top of my head to begin with.

I’ve always taken the words that describe spiritual gifts to be accurate but not necessarily precise – particularly when it comes to how supernaturally something is etc.  So, for instance, is it right to speak of a doctor as someone with the gift of healing just as much as it is to speak of the latest revivalist?  Assuming genuineness, and good fruit, I can’t see why not.  Similarly with those who are wise – where does the natural human wisdom flip to a divine “message of wisdom” (see 1 Cor 12:8) – does it, should it, does it matter?

And so when it comes to tongues I would be content if we find that it refers to all manner of utterances from something not much more different than being good at linguistics, to utterances that don’t need an interpretation, to utterances that do, to utterances that are in private and somewhat echoing of the groanings of the Spirit in Romans 8.  Without working through citations I suspect that examples of this spectrum could be found  in Scripture.

To get to the passages you reference.  The focus of  the Pentecost experience of tongues in Acts 2 is less about some supernatural gift to the apostles  individually but about their ability to speak with a common language.  I  drew out the connection with the reverse experience at Babel as God judges human empire.  The tongues here act as an eschatological and ecclesiological sign that God’s kingdom is here, in and above human empire, and he has formed an eternal people by the Spirit of the resurrected Christ.  Whether this experience is precisely the same as the tongues that Paul speaks uses (more than any of us apparently) is not really here nor there – but I wager it is enough the same that it forms part of the basis such that Paul can speak of the Holy Spirit being a guarantee of an eschatological reality.

Your anonymous homiletician of the airwaves references the Greek.  Acts 2:4 has καὶ ἤρξαντο λαλεῖν ἑτέραις γλώσσαις καθὼς τὸ πνεῦμα ἐδίδου ἀποφθέγγεσθαι αὐτοῖς – “…began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (NIV84)  The γλώσ root (glos – from which we get glossary, glossalalia etc.) is evident and yes, it can be rendered as “languages”, but then that’s within the semantic range of the the English “tongues” anyway.

1 Cor 12, in the list of gifts, has (verse 10) ἑτέρῳ γένη γλωσσῶν – “ another speaking in different kinds of tongues” (NIV84).  The root is the same.

There is a slight difference in that Acts 2 has “other tongues” and 1 Cor 12 has “kinds of tongues” (the word “different” is an NIV “clarification”).  Is this enough to  draw a distinction between Acts 2 and 1 Cor 12.  Apart from asking “Does it really matter?” (see my first point above), I would conclude that there certainly isn’t any reason to place a semantical chasm betweeen the two uses.

Furthermore, if we were to highlight the distinctives in the usage I would suggest that Paul is actually taking it further towards the supernatural/personal/pentecostalist than away from it towards normal human linguistic endeavours.  I get this from the context.  1 Cor 13 alludes to speaking in the “tongues of men and of angels”, and 1 Cor 14 – “anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God.”

That’s my two cents worth of unpacking.

Mike Raiter is someone I, and many others, would place in the extreme upper echelons of biblical exegetes and expositors.  A book by Raiter that deals with spirituality therefore grabbed my attention.  I was expecting something that interacted with my two passions of studying the things of God and experiencing the things of God.  With Stirrings of the Soul I was not disappointed.

I will therefore begin by dealing with the three annoyances of this book so I can finish with the good stuff.

  1. It’s an Australian book, by an Australian author, based initially on lectures to an Australian audience.  The adaption of it to a British audience is obviously forced and looks like it’s been done by an editor with search-and-replace “Australian” with “British” functionality on their word processor.  I’m all for adapting to market contexts, but…
  2. Don’t be put off by the beginning.  Yes, working from the ground up is good.  And yes, it was written in 2003 when ‘The Internet’ wasn’t yet broadbandy, let alone all 2.0-ish.  But the first couple of chapters talking about the “spirituality explosion” and the outlining of postmodernity have dated significantly – it presumes a naivete about such things that has long since passed.  Persistence through these chapters is worthwhile because the strength of the book lies in its dealing with more eternal concepts.
  3. The structure of the book moves from New Age spirituality to Mysticism-in-general to Christian Mysticism to an Evangelical Response to Christian Mysticism.  What you don’t get is the completed circle (or the finished return journey) of an Evangelical Response to New Age spirituality.  How does a Christian respond to a New Age mystic?  I don’t know if this book fully answers that.  I think it does more to protect against New Age infiltration into the Christian world than it does to help the Christian world to outreach to the New Age.  In this way it is typical Matthias Media and can come across on occasion as an extended Briefing article.

There is plenty of good stuff.  Raiter achieves his aim of not pulling apart one form of mysticism in depth but looks at the forest more than the trees.  What he slowly reveals is that this spiritualistic forest is very human shaped.  Raiter lists the following characteristics within the appeal of spirituality:

  1. Hunger for relationship (p75)
  2. Thirst for experience (p80)
  3. Non-rational (p84)
  4. Non Judgmental (p86)
  5. Inclusive (p89)
  6. Everyday Spirituality (p92)
  7. Market Place Spirituality (p95)
  8. Therapeutic (p98)
  9. An Immanental, Inner-directed Spirituality (p99)

Not only are these found across the breadth of (post)modern spiritualities of today but also across history.   The point is that the appeal of spirituality is a common thread in the human fallen predicament.  Not only the God-shaped hole, but also the methods of spiritual enlightenment that rely on human endeavour or self-focussed technique, are indicative of human pride and self-realisation.

By this means Raiter brings Scripture to bear on these spiritualities and this is where his exegetical mastery kicks in.  And he is somewhat no-holds-barred in doing so.  I delight in the application of Romans that acknowledges that the base state of the human person is not to seek truth but “in their wickedness, suppress or restrain or hold the truth back.” (p109) and he concludes…

“As we live in a society of so many competing spiritualities we desperately need to hear Paul’s words on the human condition.  We need to listen to God’s diagnosis of the real character of people’s spiritual motivations.  We can be tempted to look at the new spirituality… and see it as the genuine longing of sincere spiritual seekers… People are looking for God and longing to get in contact with the One they know is there…  There is, of course, an element of truth in all that.  The phenomenal growth of the new spirituality does point to people’s awareness of the presence of God.  But, says Paul, such movements are not the signposts of spiritual seekers.  They are in reality, the hallmarks of spiritual hiders, of religious runaways, of deniers of the Divine.” (p118, emphasis mine)

It may seem harsh, but this attitude of Paul (both a “passion” and a “revulsion”, p130) is at the heart of Paul’s evangelistic zeal and his desire to connect with, but not commend, those who build spiritual idols but need Jesus.

Here Raiter’s engagement with the world outside of the Christian sphere ends.  The second half of the book looks at spirituality (in the guise of mysticism) within the church.  He presents something of an overview and introduces some key figures (Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila etc.).  He considers ascetism, quietness and other spiritual disciplines.  He looks at the philosophical foundations in neoplatonism.  His critique is helpfully Christocentric

“If the Lord has told us about himself and how he wants us to relate to him, then we will want to listen to him, and listen to him carefully.  We will want to respond to him in the way that best pleases him, and therefore in the way which will both change and transform us, and bring us the most God-honouring joy… Yet here are mystical classics where the Lord of glory is barely mentioned, and the benefits of his atoning death are misunderstood or marginalised.” (p174)

I appreciate that he does not ignore the over-reactions to spirituality.   In the last chapter he critiques evangelicalism and the tendency to reject emotion, not just emotionalism, and to glorify gospel more than Jesus.  The balance that Raiter strikes is commendable – it hits the truth point between the two reactive edges of charismania and dry dogmatism (for whom the chief end of man is to “read the Bible and study it forever”!  – p224).   In the second last chapter Raiter paints a picture of Christian Spirituality as portrayed in Romans 8.  It is a piece of exegetical wisdom which seems good to conclude with:

“Firstly, the spiritual life is intimately related to the saving work of God in Christ…
Secondly, for Paul spirituality, or life in the Spirit, was much more about living a life of righteousness, than performing personal and private acts of devotion…
Thirdly, Christian spirituality recognises the importance of the mind in pursuing a life pleasing to God…
Fourthly, there is a deeply experiential dimension to an encounter with the Spirit of God…
Fifthly, suffering is the context in which Christian spirituality is lived out…
Sixthly, frustration will be one aspect of life in the Spirit for each and every believer.” (pp203-208)

I have just read a very frustrating book – John Alley’s The Apostolic Revelation.  It’s one of those books that contains much that is right – a great deal of experience, wisdom and understanding, some challenging prophetic truth about leadership and the church – but it is packaged in jargon and concepts made slippery by loose semantics.  I found myself often reflecting – “That’s sounds about right, that matches my experience but why on earth do you explain it that way?”

As an example let me point you not to the book but to Alley’s “Peace Apostolic Ministries” website which attempts to explain (my emphasis):

“We are an apostolic community, under the leadership of Apostle John Alley. Together we are called to take an apostolic message to the nations….  John Alley gives apostolic fathering to ministries and churches in Australia as well as the a number of Asian and African nations.”

Even after reading the book I’m not entirely sure what is meant by that.  I think the best thing to do is replace the word “apostolic” with the word “Christian” and then some of the heart of author becomes visible.  (In fact, upon re-reading the beginning of the book, I see that he himself would agree with that notion but, at this time, “we need terms so that we can define, compare and contrast, for the sake of understanding” Page 22)

It might make the theologically precise wince and the anti-charismatics roll their eyes but my conclusion is that, in the case of this book, the semantical deciphering is, in general, worthwhile.  And although I am unimpressed by appeals to his own authority (“I now feel compelled by the Spirit to write, because time is short, and the power anointing for apostles and prophets is about to be poured out.” Page 19) I am inclined to read that in terms of “Here’s some truth that God has been laying on my heart that would be timely for me to express in writing” and get over it.  So let me be generous.

For instance, for Alley apostles are leaders of today’s church who are appointed by God “to represent Christ as head to the body.”  They carry the “essential anointing that connects the body to the headship of Jesus.” (Page 39).  The danger in this expression is the promulgation of a priesthood model of leadership – with a priest mediating God to humanity and humanity to God.  A generous consideration of the semantics will, however, affirm leadership that is truly an examplar of Christ and therefore a gift of grace to the church where “‘Grace’ has a specific meaning… it means that God will choose ordinary men and women to do what He purposes.” (Page 35)

Similarly, phrases like “when Jesus sends an apostle, that apostle is Christ to you” (Page 46) make my alarm bells ring. But it is caveated by the assertion that “without submission to Christ there can be no real authority” (Page 48) and we can, generously, move on wishing perhaps he had used ambassadorial or representational language rather than ontological.

It is possible, therefore, if we take “apostolic authority” to mean “a gifted leader of the church truly submitted to Christ and representing/imitating him well”, to encounter some truth:

“The key to apostolic authority is death, and apostles  have more authority because they have face more death.  The death referred to here is death of self, death to he world, and death to the fear of man and the praise of man.” (Page 55)

Which may challenge us to look for and honour the sort of leadership “that is substantially different to what we have known of religious, institutional, denominational Christianity” which is marked by a “willingness to suffer” as “servants of the church” (Pages 62-63).  We may even be stirred to ask how we might imitate Paul as he imitates Christ as he is called to “give himself for the church, to cleanse her through the word he brings, and to present her to Christ perfect.” (Page 64).

This is a good thing.  And I wish more leaders had this aspiration and were willing to carry this burden for the church and for the lost.  And, if I’m honest, I wish more Christians understood the pain and death-to-self that sometimes inheres to every step of ministry.  It hurts to love sometimes.

His prescription of how apostolic authority might be put into practice is based more on  a description of Paul rather than any prescription that might come from thorough Biblical analysis.  I certainly disagree with the assertion of an inherent anointing concerning finance which is based more on anecdote and prosperity doctrine than on anything biblical.  And I raise an eyebrow when he explains that for Paul “relationships were always buoyant, cheerful and full of good hope and expectation.”  (Page 97).

But considerations that “we do not have a democracy, but we do have a community… Democracy cannot produce community” (Page 115) are worthwhile when thinking about how new churches are grown and how power is managed.   And I can see in his unpacking of “apostolic covering” (Page 149) something of how I “use” the leadership above me – I will serve them as they serve Christ and so am able to ‘hide behind them’ if that service takes me into dangerous ground.  A bishop is (can be?) a blessed thing.

I also like his ecclesiology that is centred not on denomination but on geography and formed not around institution but relationship:

“No one is going to create unity by amalgamating denominations.  Who would want a bigger, more centralised, institutional religion anyway?  In any case, there are too many differences and institutionalised errors to overcome… The only way forward is with what comes from heart relationship.  In every place, real men and women of God must find each other, and begin to walk and talk together.” (Page 175)

And he is wise to cut across the danger of gung-ho young leaders seizing his thoughts and railroading themselves through churches as the “new apostolic ministry” or something.  He assures denominational leaders “no true apostle will raise a hand against you, and the heart of every apostle will be to help you, strengthen you, and support you in battle… Your honour is safe with an apostle… a genuine apostle will not grasp for power, but will wait for only what God gives him.” (Page 254)

I guess, in the end, even after a generous reading, my problem is that while he may make assertions such as “Jesus is the actual covering of the church” (Page 149) I don’t think apostolic leadership was ever meant to be the focus.  While I am aware of the biblical examples such as where Paul defends his apostolic authority, the fundamental mode of the apostle is not “we need people like me” but “Jesus, all for Jesus.”  If I look to the examples that he cites – Moses, Elijah, Paul, in the Bible, people like Wesley and Booth in history – and if I look to some current leaders who I would call apostolic – Driscoll, Piper – the message is not “let us reform the church with apostolic ministry” or “let us take apostolic ministry to the world” but “let us turn to Christ, let us speak Christ, let us live for Jesus.”

In other words, there is good stuff in this book.  But it is meta-apostolic – apostleship that speaks about apostleship.  Apostles are sent by and for Jesus and they speak of him not themselves.  Apostolic ministry is not the hope
of the world or the church, Jesus is.

Perhaps a good way to finish up is to tip my hat to Alley’s emphasis on relationships.  I think I’d like to meet Mr. Alley and have a coffee with him.  I think I’d ask him a lot of questions like “What do you really mean by?” but I daresay this brother would bless me and hopefully I him.

I often find books that I really appreciate reading. Very rarely I read a book that I wish I had written – or one that communicates the thing that “one day I’ll write a book” about. Michael Klassen’s Strange Fire, Holy Fire is one of those.

My Christian background has two roots – Pentecostal/Charismatic in my teens and early twenties, and a strong reformed theological foundation after that. Oftentimes these two camps are at loggerheads and that saddens me. I have learned much from both and I have seen how a strong church and a strong spirituality is one which brings Word and Spirit together.

I believe this is similar to Klassen’s framework. Like him I am both a critic and an apologist (page 12) of the charismatic movement. He does this well. This is why the book is called “Strange Fire, Holy Fire” – there is much in the charismatic movement that is strange, but there is also much that his holy. Sometimes things are both!

Klassen defines the nuances and variations within the Charismatic Movement – a useful quick insight for those who lump all “happy clappies” together and so often miss the point. He then goes through some of the key charismatic theological and cultural distinctives. Many of his conclusions I share – I was saving them up for my own book, “one day”!

With regard to tongues, for instance, he critiques the way in which tongues are made the “litmus test” (page 28) and how they are often used as a disunifying factor rather than a building-up resource (page 29). Yet he delights in the gift much like I do:

“Tongues was, and is, a very helpful gift that has enabled me to pray about situations when I didn’t know what to pray. It has served as a weapon in spiritual warfare and has given me insight into God’s ways. And it has definitely cultivated a deeper, more intimate walk with Christ.” (page 29)

His take on theological study, and in particular, his delight in the study of church history, matches my own thoughts:

“… as we study church history, we discover that many of the challenges and false teachings we face today have appeared sporadically since the first Pentecostal movement (in Acts 2). Why repeat their mistakes and struggles when we can avoid them?” (page 53)

His consideration of charismatic “hype” and emotive manipulation is a critique I share (for instance in my analysis of the Todd Bentley phenomenon). He paints John Wimber as a positive example:

“Then a person nearby started weeping. Then another. Then another person dropped to the ground, slain in the Spirit. By the time the meeting ended, most of the people at the front were either weeping or lying on their backs under the power of the Holy Spirit. Wimber, however, hardly said a word, and hadn’t laid a hand on anybody.
“God doesn’t need someone to whip the crowd into a frenzy in order to pour out his Spirit.” (page 57)

And he makes the point that is close to the heart of my own kerygma that “power comes through weakness (really!)” (page 59).

Klassen is honest about the seduction of power and the drives in leadership that can make it defensive or self-focussed. Here is another echo of my own experience:

“Our heavenly Father appointed Jesus – not the pastor – to be the head of the body. News flash! God never intended the life of the church to revolve around the pastor. Nor should it revolve around the body. The intended focus of the church is Jesus, its head.” (page 68)

I share his broad view on the gift of prophecy – drawing a similar line on that gift’s application and excess, it’s misuse by the overly-charismatic and its unfair dismissal by the cessationist-leaning who expect 100% accuracy from prophetic words with no provision of training or support for their prophets (page 85).

His critique of the prosperity movement (compared to deism on page 138 and superstition on page 147) is adequate. He defends experience, but does not overplay it, as an input to spiritual growth and theological understanding (page 184). And he recognises spiritual warfare in a manner that I appreciate and understand from my own personal experience:

“On a personal level, agree to step into Christian leadership and immediately you’ll sense an invisible taget on your back… Anyone who denies the reality of the demonic hasn’t read the Gospels closely enough.” (page 213)

I am with him as he shows how spiritual warfare is waged by focussing on Jesus, not the enemy. Jesus is the armour of Ephesians 6 (page 221).

While it is well-balanced, this isn’t a rigourous book. It has theological holes and the odd mis-placed anecdote or illustration. The various exegeses are adequate but not in-depth. There is still room for me to write my own book which would have a more theological flavour 🙂

But I share most if not all his conclusions. I will be lending this book to some of my more “out there” friends on both sides of the spectrum so that they can understand that there is life – much life – in the centre, bridging this particular divide, worshipping our Lord in Spirit and in Truth.