If not for the dated nature (15 years old) of "Flying Closer to the Flame" I would surely give it five stars. In 1993, Chuck Swindoll, then President of the non-Charismatic, cessationist Dallas Theological Seminary somewhat shocked the Evangelical world by his authorship of this book.
As his title suggested, Swindoll was encouraging those who believe that the sign gifts have ceased to hold those theological views while remaining open to experiencing the full power and presence of the Holy Spirit today.
Non-charismatic cessationists teach that the sign gifts (such as healers, miracle workers, speaking in tongues, prophesy, etc.) ceased at the completiion of the New Testament canon. This has often caused them, according to Swindoll, to minimize the ongoing role of the Holy Spirit in the believer's life today.
With careful exegesis presented at the lay level, with careful balance avoiding extremes, and with an irenic spirit, Swindoll invites non-charismatics and charismatics alike to consider what the Bible does say about the Spirit's non-sign-gift-work today. He rightly teaches that there is much that the Bible promises about the Spirit's ministry that is still alive and well today.
Laying this foundational biblical theology, Swindoll moves into practical/pastoral theology of the spiritual life. He explores with readers the role of the Spirit in decision-making, guiding, and leading the believer. He examines the filling and fruit of the Spirit and how the Spirit produces spiritual maturity in believers today.
For readers wanting an updated and more scholarly focused study of the same topic from a cessationist perspective, "Who's Afraid of the Holy Spirit" by Wallace and Sawyer is the recommended text.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Beyond the Suffering," "Soul Physicians," and "Spirtual Friends."