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Surprised by the Power of the Spirit [Paperback]

Jack Deere
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Jun 1994
This book presents both personal and biblical reasons why God still speaks and heals today.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Kingsway Publications (3 Jun 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0854764941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0854764945
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 337,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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From the Back Cover

What caused a former Dallas Seminary professor to believe that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit are being given today? What convinced someone skeptical about miracles that God still speaks and heals? A dramatic change took place in Jack Deere's life when he took a fresh look at the Scriptures. He discovered that his arguments against miraculous gifts were based more on prejudice and lack of personal experience than on the Bible. As soon as Deere became a seeker instead of a skeptic, the Holy Spirit revealed himself in new and surprising ways. In Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, Deere provides a strong biblical defense for the Spirit's speaking and healing ministries today. He also describes several reliable cases of people who were miraculously healed or who heard God speak in an unmistakable way. Finally, he gives sound advice for using spiritual gifts in the church. Written in a popular style, with the care of a scholar but the passion of personal experience, this book explores: the real reason Christians do not believe in miraculous gifts, responding to charismatic abuses, whether miracles were meant to be temporary, and why God still heals. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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In my most undisciplined fantasies I would never have dreamed that a single phone call would alter the course of my life-and not just my life, but a number of others in my circle. Read the first page
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get over your cessationist beliefs! 2 Jun 2009
If you believe God no longer heals, or gifts his people with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and no longer speaks to His people, and that all these went out with the apostles, then you are in the same boat that former "cessationist" reformed thelogian Jack Deere was in until the early 1990s when God turned his experience and then his theology the right way up. This book is both a very interesting auto-biography of change and a tightly argued theology of the ongoing powerful activity of the Holy Spirit. It will not leave you indifferent.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Book slightly discoloured 9 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While the book did not show signs of wear it was quite discoloured (ie, yellowed) so looks to be quite an old book. However I am happy enough with it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read 12 Mar 2014
By Dave
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I quite enjoyed this book as it clearly explained what and why many charistmatics believe.

However, you may not agree with a lot of it.- it depends on your POV.

There are though, some interesting and profitable applications to some of the things that Deere says.
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5.0 out of 5 stars exellent book 8 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very good book, easy to understand and full of theological truths, excellent argument to support the continuist view. And also reveal how the cessationist doctrine is not grounded in scripture.

a good book for those of us that believe none of gifts of the Spirit have not ceased,but are still active in the church today, and the reason for us believing this is because we believe the bible.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  80 reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Made a Difference in My Life 2 Nov 2002
By John Windsor - Published on
I read this book back in 1994 just after my wife and I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Our personal experience of the Holy Spirit had made believers out of us; a pesky quarter-sized "mosaic" verruca that my wife had tried to rid herself of for years withered away two weeks after she had received prayer to receive the fullness of the Spirit. I experienced an unusual number of opportunities in the following days to give some kind of Christian witness or other. So we were ready to learn more.
And learn we did! Jack Deere's book answered intellectually what we already know was true experientially. Deere begins with his personal journey from his professorship at Dallas Theological Seminary, a bastion of cessationism, through some rather amazing experiences, to understanding that the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit are still for today. In the latter part of his work, he shifts his approach and turns to the intellectual issues. He forcefully demolishes the cessationist position of John MacArthur, one of the leading proponents of that view, and answers in a very satisfactory way the objections raised by its advocates. (By the way, the reader should not ignore the footnotes/endnotes, especially in the later chapters of the book. Some of Deere's most powerful insights are found in the fine print.)
In my opinion, the most valuable quality of Surprised by the Power of the Spirit is the void that it fills within charismatic/pentecostal literature. For far too long, charismatics and pentecostals have been treated by other traditions within Christianity with a degree of supercilious diffidence. Indeed, many have emphasized emotionalism at the expense of sound biblical exegesis. Jack Deere brings to the charismatic/pentecostal camp a brilliant, penetrating mind that will be of great value in presenting a scholarly, intellectual apologetic for the continued existence and operation of the gifts of the Spirit.
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Scriptural View of Miraculous Gifts 29 Jun 2000
By D. Simeone - Published on
This book provides a strong Biblical case for miraculous gifts both historically and for today. It looks at several passages that are usually fluffed off by cessessionist who commonly rely on the lack of historical events relating to the manifestation of miraculous gifts to write of the gifts. Deere looks at the Bible. No matter what your view is on this subject, this book is worth reading. This book could have been rated higher if Deere would have stayed away from references to other leaders that share his view. Unfortunately, some of these leaders can be called into question on other views that they hold. Deere should have stuck with just looking at the Bible itself instead of aligning himself with these other people. As a result, I can see where other reviewers are classifying his writing as being emotional. But with regard to Scripture, he presents a strong case (unless of course you disagree with him). Overall, it is refreshing to read this book from a well studied individual (i.e. Dallas Theological Seminary) who was educated from a conservative perspective. Usually, the only option for looking at opposing views on this subject is to read the plethera of resources by cessionist or read resources from charismatic perspectives on this issue. I think that there are abuses regarding this issue from both the cessionist and charismatic viewpoints. Our challenge should be to inductively view what Scripture is actually saying and not hold our own denomination, seminary, upbringing..etc in a higher view than Scripture. This book will challenge your view!
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Imperfect but worth reading... 28 Aug 2007
By Chad Oberholtzer - Published on
I stumbled upon Jack Deere's account of his rather dramatic mid-1980s transition from cessationism to continuationism as I was doing research for a seminary paper on cessationism. I was immediately gripped by his engaging story-telling and quickly surprised by the compelling nature of his arguments.

Ultimately, Deere makes a very solid case that cessationism, though espoused by those committed to the Bible (rather than charismatics who are supposedly more committed to experience and emotion), essentially stands on very shaky biblical ground. Deere suggests that a novice Christian, placed in a room with a Bible for a few days or weeks, would inevitably emerge a committed continuationist, never a cessationist. Cessationism requires careful theological and rhetorical tricks and must be trained into a person. And after searching for the biblical basis for cessationism from Warfield, Hodge, and others, I found his point to be well-founded. Quite frankly, cessationism seems to require significant extrapolation beyond the text of the Scriptures.

Though I enjoyed Deere's writing style and found his approach to be insightful, I have two primary and significant critiques. First, just as cessationists tend to argue against a charismatic straw man who doesn't actually exist, Deere seems to often make the same mistake and argue against a heartless, intellectually-obsessed cessationist that is surely the rarest of exceptions, rather than the norm. It was disappointing when he stooped to the level of arguing with a straw man of his own construction (though his situation as a former cessationist does give him the unique insider information to actually construct arguments against his former self).

I was also disappointed with the conclusions that he drew concerning the next steps for anyone in the midst of this theological conundrum. Quite honestly, his tone was sometimes rather condescending and arrogant in relation to cessationists. Though he was careful at other times to maintain a humble spirit, he seemed to ultimately suggest that anyone who doesn't fully embrace his newfound theological position isn't really experiencing an authentic expression of Christianity. It's one thing to try to help people discover something valuable that God has shown you. It's another thing, and decidedly less helpful, to imply that anyone who doesn't make the jump with you is silly or unintelligent or unspiritual.

Ultimately, I'm glad I read this book. I began the book without a firm position on the issue, but I would have considered myself a practical cessationist. After reading it (and reading from several cessationist authors, as well), I no longer find cessationism to be a teneble, viable position. Regardless of your personal stance, I recommend this book for all thoughtful Christians who want to wrestle with the implications of how the Spirit empowers us to live in the here and now.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most balanced book I have read on "charismatic" gifts 5 Jan 1998
By G. Codrington - Published on
Jack Deere's book was recommended to me in June 1995. A few days later I saw it on a bookstore's bookshelf and bought it for mine - but there it remained for over a year. That was my loss!
This book is one of the most balanced theological books I have ever read, on any issue. Using a wonderful blend of narrative testimony and theological explanation, Deere recounts his shift from a theological professor who believed that the so-called charismatic gifts (such as tongues, healings, miracles, prophecy) had ceased with the deaths of the first-century apostles, to someone who now believes that these gifts are not only available to the church today, but should be actively encouraged and used.
The book takes the reader through the same process of experience and Biblical investigation that Deere went through as he grappled with the issues of charismatic experiences and spiritual gifts. It is an insightful book, Biblically based, clearly reasoned, humbly written, and worth every penny. It should be read by every Christian.
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are an evangelical, read this book 14 Sep 2003
By Robert Wynkoop - Published on
No one can surpass Jack Deere in his exegesis of biblical text. Written in a highly readable style Surprised by the Power of the Spirit is investigation of how God speaks and heals today. Unlike many charismatic writers, Deere rejects the anecdotal approach to proving the power of God. Although Deere punctuates his book with anecdotal stories, he pursues a relentless investigation of the Scripture and with lawyer like skill, deals with objections with a keen wit. Case in point: When Deere talks about establishment of a healing ministry within the local church, he points out that the most common objection is not theological, but emotional- people worry how they will look if they pray for the sick and those prayers are unanswered. Deere retorts: Worrying about how we look when we pray for the sick is not a very effective way of getting our prayers answered. Then, he follows up with an exposition of Scripture, followed by his personal experience. It is a very effective way of communication.
I would be hard pressed to find fault with this book without resorting to theological nit picking; it is simply that good. If you have serious questions about the efficacious of gifts of healing in the contemporary church, read this book. Deere has a way of dealing with the questions, fears and misunderstandings we may have about the power of the Holy Spirit. His humor and ability to laugh at himself is appealing. If you are a serious Bible student who has not been presented a serious case for discovering how God speaks and heals to day, this is the book for you.
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