Showing the Spirit

Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 by D.A. Carson ★★★★
This book was read in response to some recent encounters with charismatics/Pentecostals. It is a fairly technical text, and thus not an easy read. DA Carson shows a perfect example of putting aside personal prejudices and preconceptions in dealing with a hot topic of the nature of charismatic gifts. He does a step-by-step analysis of the I Corinthian text and then concludes his personal reflections from the text as to how he conceives and deals with those of the charismatic persuasion. The technical analysis of the text is a total delight, Carson doing what I wish every biblical commentator would do, which is to offer the text exploration of multiple possible interpretations that currently exist, and then, using both the text, as well as other texts found elsewhere, as well as Greek/Hebrew textual analysis, to derive the best interpretation or possible interpretations of the given text. Oftentimes, Carson doesn’t conclude in a given camp of thought. He refuses to be a cessationist regarding miracles. He also refuses to accept that tongues have necessarily ceased. Yet, at the same time, as a non-charismatic, he refuses to allow tongues, prophecy, or other “gifts” to be a defining feature of heightened spirituality or normative expression of Christian faith. He also refuses to allow these gifts to serve as a divisive influence in a church, allowing that the gifts of tongues, prophecy, and healing may not entirely have ceased from the Christian faith. He chooses to explore both the excesses as well as virtues of the Charismatic movement, ending his analysis with an appeal to non-Charismatics to at least look at what the Charismatics have going right with them. To this, I believe that Dr. JI Packer would also agree.