What you might learn from my book HOLY FIRE
I wrote HOLY FIRE for the young Christian, the new Christian, the theological student, the new pastor but also the seasoned minister who aspires more than ever to be jealous for the honor and glory of God. I wrote it also for the fence straddler out there who is sincerely baffled and unsure of what to believe about the Holy Spirit.
Jonathan Edwards said that the one thing Satan cannot produce in us is a love for the glory of God. So if the reading of Holy Fire results in a greater love for the honor of God and deeper reverence for the Holy Spirit, you may be sure that the devil did not put that desire and respect there. This is also why Edwards stated that when the church is revived, so is the devil! So you may count on the devil putting every obstacle in your way to rob you of the joy that comes from intimacy with the Holy Spirit.
“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hos.4:6). In this connection I would mention (1) lack of knowledge of God’s word and (2) lack of knowledge of God’s ways.
The first thing is the reading of the Bible. The devil does not want you to read your Bible, much less spending a lot of time reading the Bible. How well do you know your Bible? To understand the Bible you must be on good terms with the Holy Spirit. You also need a Bible reading plan.
Second, the way you know someone’s “ways” is by spending time with them. You show your esteem of a person by how much time you give them. So I will come right to the point: how much do you pray? The devil does not want you to pray, much less spending a lot of time praying.
“Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees”
- William Cowper (1731-1800).
I urge at least thirty minutes a day in your quiet time – including Bible reading and prayer. For the person in full-time Christian ministry I suggest a minimum of an hour a day (two is better) and this should be for private devotions and quiet time without using any of this time for sermon preparation. Martin Luther spent two hours a day in prayer. John Wesley spent two hours a day in prayer. According to a recent poll taken on both sides of the Atlantic, the average church leader (pastor, priest, evangelist, teacher) today spends four minutes a day in prayer. And you wonder why the church is powerless? You get to know God and his ways by spending time with him.
A defective view of the God of the Bible has resulted in dangerous teachings in some circles. One is called hyper-grace teaching. The view comes to this: since Jesus dealt with all our sin on the cross there is no need to confess sin – it has already been dealt with. No need for repentance in the Christian life, say these people. This is tantamount to antinomianism [anti– law] and can so easily lead to ungodly living. The people who uphold this kind of thinking have actually had to eliminate certain books of the Bible, for example, Hebrews and 1 John. Imagine that! To uphold a teaching they have to cut out part of the canon of Holy Scripture! I warn you, this teaching grieves the Holy Spirit. It is a fad. It will not last. But it can do incalculable damage in the meantime.
Another deadly teaching is called open theism. This view of God brings him down to the level of man so that such a God does not know his own mind without our input. The idea is, we actually help God know what to do next; without us he cannot move forward. This is sub-Christian teaching. It has astonishingly crept into certain Charismatic circles. When one leader of this teaching was asked publicly in London, “With this view of God, is it not possible that God could lose out in the end?” The reply was: Yes. Imagine a God like that. For the God of the Bible wins! But such a weak view of God is the ultimate consequence of denying his eternal sovereignty.
On the heels of open theism is the notion that we can virtually make God do anything. We can “decree absolutely true that God promises to bless the tither (Mal.3:10) – for we cannot out-give the Lord (2 Cor.9:8), beware of those who pitch this point of view mainly to advance their personal ministries. Some leaders go so far as to claim that their “words of knowledge” are superior to Holy Scripture. Some deny the Bible as being the complete and final revelation of eternal truth. One leader said, “If the Apostle Paul had my faith he would not have had a thorn in the flesh”. I’m sorry, but this kind of doctrine has emerged in Charismatic and Pentecostal settings. Be wise to teaching that exalts any man or woman and even appeals to a person’s greed. They emerge from strange fire, teachings that are alien to Holy Scripture.
We are selling Holy Fire at the discount price of $11.99 this month!