Wednesday, January 18, 2006
My Most Favourite Book ... And Why!?
Hugh from New Covenant Church, Swansea (and fellow blogger!) has asked the question that has plagued me for years ... which book has changed my life the most and why? It's an excellent but very hard question as I mentally scan my library shelves!
I think I would have to opt for "Joy Unspeakable" by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I was baptised in the Holy Spirit when I was in my first year of nursing training at Birmingham University and it was quite an emotional time. So imagine my confusion when I learnt that some people don't actually believe that there IS an experience called the baptism of the Holy Spirit! I learnt that Dr Lloyd-Jones taught clearly into the experience that I received by reading Dr John Piper's amazing biography at the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors. After reading that and Piper's comments on it, I tracked down the book and brought it from the USA.
Dr Lloyd-Jones, to me, has produced the most exegetically defensible book I have read on the subject. Obviously it was originally a series of sermons on John 1:26, 33 but in book format - I have yet to read someone who has taken the Doctor to task seriously and rebutted his arguments. Not only does he produce a yet-unarguable statement for the baptism of the Spirit being clearly a distinct and definite experience - he also preaches passionately and powerfully into the fact that it is a "foretaste" of our inheritance - indeed, he would argue, the same thing as the Sealing of the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).
In typical Lloyd-Jonesian fashion he does not leave it as a personal experience, but goes on to teach on revival - he would believe that revival is a corporate experience of many people being baptised in the Holy Spirit at the same time. When one closes the book, we are left with a desperate hunger that God would pour out His Spirit on His barren church again.
An additional bonus is that Doctor Lloyd-Jones provides a treasure-trove of Puritan quotes and extracts from his vast knowledge and expertise in this area showing irrefutably that the Puritans held a strong experiential theology of belief that the Spirit acts in this way.
It makes for a powerful, potentially life changing read and I cannot recommend it highly enough!