Baptism and Fullness by John Stott
By and large Christians are in a state of confusion when it comes to the subject of the Holy Spirit. In fact, it is a great irony that division arises on this matter, especially when Paul writes to the Ephesians that we have unity by one Spirit. Indeed, so many books seeking to enlighten Christians about the work of the Holy Spirit are themselves confused, mainly because their grounding in the Scripture is tenuous at best.
It is for this reason that I was pleased to find (following a recommendation) this small book by John Stott. Though this is not a new book, its clear grounding in the Bible will be enough to make it timeless. As I mentioned, it is a small book and so is not quite as detailed as it could be on some points, but if you are looking for a sound (and readable) explanation of the work of the Holy Spirit then this is an excellent starting point.
Stott covers areas such as the difference between baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Holy Spirit without avoiding the ‘awkward’ subjects. So often we can develop a skewed perspective when considering the work of the Spirit, but John Stott keeps us grounded:
“What are the marks of a person filled with the Spirit of God today? There can be no doubt that the chief evidence is moral not miraculous, and it lies in the Spirit’s fruit not the Spirit’s gifts.” (Page 71)
“I beg you not to seek to stereotype everybody’s spiritual experience, or even to imagine that the Holy Spirit necessarily purposes to give to others what he has given to you. It is spiritual graces that should be common to all Christians, not spiritual gifts or spiritual experiences. In a word, let your experience lead you to worship and praise; but let your exhortation to others be grounded not on your experiences but on Scripture” (page 96)
Any quibbles I had with the book were only minor and I urge all of you who want to cut through the confusion that abounds in the church on this subject to get a copy and enjoy!