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Keep in Step with the Spirit (second edition): Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God [Paperback]

J. I. Packer

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Book Description

16 Sep 2005
New edition of a classic title in which J. I. Packer maps the Holy Spirit’s work, assesses versions of Christian holiness and the charismatic life, and shows how Christ must always be at the centre of true Spirit-led ministry.

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J.I. Packer’s study of the work of the Holy Spirit has become a classic since its first publication in 1985. -- David McKay, Covenanter Witness, May 2006

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New, expanded edition of a classic book with ongoing relevance and significance.

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Help for Holy and Wholly Living 7 Jun 2000
By Brian G Hedges - Published on Amazon.com
Dr. Packer lives up to his name and "packs" this book full of important information about the biblical teachings on Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, along with a healthy dose of history and a fair, yet critical, look at modern trends regarding the Holy Spirit. Most helpful of all is his chapter outlining the basics of biblical holiness. His main points are as follows:
1. The Nature of Holiness is Transformation through Consecration 2. The Context of Holiness is Justification through Jesus Christ 3. The Root of Holiness is Cocrucifixion and Coresurrection with the Lord Jesus Christ 4. The Agent of Holiness is the Holy Spirit 5. The Experience of Holiness is one of Conflict 6. The Rule of Holiness is God's Revealed Law 7. The Heart of Holiness is the Spirit of Love
His exposition of those points is worth its weight in gold. Then his application of those principles to the various schools of thought regarding sanctification (Augustinian, Wesleyan Perfectionism, and Keswick "Higher Life") is perceptive and accurate.
Chapters 5 and 6 focus on the charismatic movement, in which Packer ventures both positive and negative comments. His critique is helpful, though maybe not as stout as some Reformed types would like. His attitude remains benevolent throughout.
All in all, this is a good book and worthy of being read by the thoughtful, Biblically-based reader. I would recommend that it be balanced with some other conservative treatments on the Holy Spirit.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A ballanced book! 1 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This is a book I'd like to recomend for three reasons.
1. It has deepend my knowledg about The Holy Spirit; Who He is and what He does.
2. It has given me a desire to live a holy life. It is not a teoretical book about the issue. Packer writes as a mentor!
3. It has ballanced my views about some cotroversial issues such as baptism in The Spirit, the second blessing, 'The "Wretched Man" in Romans 7'.
John Stotts book "Baptism an fullnes" is also a very good book I would like to recomend!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biblical View of the Holy Spirit and His Works 2 Nov 2004
By Seeking Disciple - Published on Amazon.com
Dr. J.I. Packer is known as a remarkable theologian. Some of his books have impacted my life in powerful ways like his classic's KNOWING GOD or EVANGELISM & THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD. KEEPING IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT is no different! It is a remarkable look at the person and work of the Holy Spirit while Dr. Packer gives a graceful look at various other Christian views on the Holy Spirit and His works.

If for no other reason, I would urge Christians to purchase this book for chapter 4: Versions of Holiness. This chapter alone is worth the read. Dr. Packer dives into various Christian views of how Christians are to live holy lives. He then proceeds to offer the positives and negatives of other views. He ends by leading the disciple to a deeper understand of what it truly means to keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crucial and Vital 19 Sep 2013
By D. T. Kleven - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Understanding the Holy Spirit is a crucial task for Christian theology at all times. For where the Spirit's ministry is studied, it will also be sought after, and where it is sought after, spiritual vitality will result." (p. 235)

"CHRISTIANS WAKE UP! CHURCHES WAKE UP! THEOLOGIANS WAKE UP! We study and discus God, Christ, body life, mission, Christian social involvement, and many other things; we pay lip service to the Holy Spirit throughout (everyone does these days), but we are not yet taking Him seriously in any of it. In this we need to change." (236)

This is Packer's purpose and theme throughout the course of this book, and this is indeed the effect that this book has had in my own life in the last month or so. written almost 30 years ago, it carries the same weight today, and his analysis is still spot on. At nearly 300 pages, this book is thorough. Packer seeks to lay out for us a Biblical understanding of the Holy Spirit, without leaving anything out. He wants us to view the Spirit and emphasize the Spirit the way the Bible itself does. He does so clearly and powerfully.

Along the way, he addresses various views and alternately critiques and commends them. Packer is at his finest here, his charitableness and finding things to praise are admirable, and to be emulated as we disagree theologically with others. The first main area of differing views is the area of "holiness" in a believer's life. He evaluates the Reformed view, the Wesleyan view, and the Keswick/Higher Life view. This analysis is excellent, and is the first place where I've seen a thorough evaluation of Keswick theology (other than the e-book "Let Go and Let God?" by Andrew Naselli).

The second area of differing views is the gifts of the Spirit, and the charismatic movement. This section was incredibly helpful to me. Packer is no charismatic, but he is so charitable in finding commendable things in the movement, even while critiquing what he disagrees with. Take this for example:

"If the charismatic handling of all these problems fails to grab you, what is your alternative? Any who venture to criticize charismatic practices without facing these questions merit D.L. Moody's retort, a century ago, to a doctrinaire critic of his evangelistic methods: "Frankly, sir, I prefer the way I do it to the way you don't do it." The charismatic movement is a God-sent gadfly to goad the whole church into seeking more of totality before the Lord than most Christians today seem to know. Face the challenge!" (232)

I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to better understand the Holy Spirit, different views of holiness, and the charismatic movement. It has also been republished with an extra chapter added in as: Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God. I wanted the book in hardcover :-)

Also recommended: Martyn Lloyd-Jones - Joy Unspeakable, also published with Prove All Things in The Baptism and Gifts of the Spirit
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on the Holy Spirit I've ever read. 29 Dec 2004
By Mark Marshall - Published on Amazon.com
I'm so glad this is still in print. It is simply the best and most balanced book on the Holy Spirit I've ever read. Packer's critique of the Charismatic movement is especially balanced and perceptive. I will pound the table and recommend this book for any serious Christian.

(The first chapter is a bit dated though, if my recall is right. If it has not been revised, it may be safely skimmed.)

Mark Marshall

author, God Knows What It's Like to be a Teenager
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