I often joke that 1 Corinthians 14:18 is my life verse. Though it is a joke, I'm such a truth oriented person that my humor often barely escapes being blunt honesty with comedic phrasing. I genuinely desire to speak in tongues as much as possible. My passion for this good and perfect gift from my Father above makes me incredibly grateful for Steve Bremner's down to earth apologetic for an accurate understanding of the presence and practice of the gift of tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit today.
Nine Lies People Believe about Speaking in Tongues presents an entertaining and readable explanation of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues, dismantling misconception after misconception with precision, tenacity, and a heavy dose of personality. Rather than presenting a succinct, academic answer for each lie or misconception, Steve Bremner weaves his own story of receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues as well as his encounters with each lie into his teaching. His journey from complete ignorance of the gifts of the spirit into cessationism and then into Pentecostal and Charismatic experience is bold and honest. The result is a highly personal, but effective argument for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues.
Though unexpected and jarring at first, I was immediately thrust upon a couch listening to a friend's impassioned arguments complete with exaggerated inflections of "Put that in your Bible and read it!" While at first riling, the transparency of the author's own personality and communication style quickly became what set the book apart. The book left me feeling that I received information in a very personal and oddly intimate way. The extremely familiar style creates an affection for the writer and the content and attaches a person to every argument. I never found myself thinking, "I agree with that," or "I disagree with that," but "I agree with you" or "I disagree with you." This may not affect all readers, but was tremendously impacting for me. I was moved to tears by Bremner's story of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and provoked when he brought up points that I had not thought of before. His personality was as much a part of the book as the arguments.
The weight of the verve in the prose keeps the book from being stuffy, and it also keeps the book from being for or from an "expert." This may be detrimental to readers who choose not to see the lucidity of the arguments over the flair. The content engages the reader immediately and is out to persuade with insights into Greek, exegesis, wit, imagination, comedy, and plain old rants. The variety of styles of argumentation, the witty storytelling, and the contemporary humor and attitude compelled me to finish the book in two sittings.
The book gets better as it progresses both in its arguments and its passion. Bremner moves from an explanation of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and a brief explanation of how this baptism relates to tongues, to common objections to the current presence and practice of tongues, teasing out the relationship between tongues and the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and exhorting the reader on the value of exercising the gift of tongues. I especially appreciated the later sections and appendices on receiving and helping others receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Though I received certain points within the book with nuance, I concur with the author's conclusions and was poignantly reminded that we don't know how to pray as we should, but that the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses with a good and perfect gift from heaven. I am tremendously grateful.
My thanks to the author for providing a complimentary review copy. I have given an honest review.