Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 21:3 (Sep 1978)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews


The Charismatic Movement. Edited by Michael P. Hamilton. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975, 190 pp., $3.95 paper.

The neo-charismatic movement can be broadly defined as the interface between the strongly Biblical theology of Pentecostalism and the current generation of persons who are now within established communities and/or organizations which were themselves, as religious structures, unreceptive to that Reformation-tradition theology in the past. This interface is then a product of the content of both worlds. The Pentecostal doctrine of Christ’s baptism with the Holy Spirit exerted a dominant influence in the early stages of the movement at the grassroots level. In fact, without this teaching there would have been no neo-Pentecostal movement.

As could be expected this doctrine soon underwent modification in certain sectors of the movement with aims of accommodating it to existing traditions of liturgy and sacraments and of seeking possible improvements. No consensus has emerged in those sectors, nor does it seem likely at this time; but discussion is ongoing (cf. F. Sullivan, “What is a Pentecostal Experience?”, in Theological Renewal 6 [1977] 21-22). While there is no danger of overemphasis on sound doctrine there is a healthy emphasis on taking Scripture seriously and, in some quarters, on taking that view of Scripture held by Christ and the apostles. In this charismatic interface spiritual phenomena are not always described in Scriptural terms and are sometimes overdescribed. Priorities are sometimes superficial and culture-conforming. They may not always have an apostolic ring, but enthusiasm is high. Further, it is clear that the Holy Spirit is active as he wills—and he evidently wills to do quite a lot. People are discovering the real NT Jesus as a person, and the Spirit of that real, crucified Jesus is apparently engaged in renewing a large part of professing Christendom “until we all come to meet the unifying faith and knowledge of the Son of God, the Perfect Man …

By speaking the truth in love we shall grow in every way toward him who is the head, the Messiah” (Eph 4:13, 15; tr. M. Barth).

Hamilton, canon of Washington Cathedral, states that the purpose of the book is to provide understanding of the movement for non-charismatics and to offer charismatics perspectives on their involvement. These perspectives are provided in the form of ten essays—three by pastors, and seven by members of the academic community. Only three of the ten contributors, however, indicate their participation in the movement, and the perspectives may reflect this. Nevertheless from this broad viewpoint the treat...

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