Account Login

Sign In  |  Register

Reviews | God's Spirit in Work and Word

God’s Spirit in Work and Word

Fred Pearce

Paperback or e-book (ePub)

136 pages

God’s Spirit in Work and Word

The Christadelphian review (from March 2002)

“God’s Spirit in Work and Word”

SEVERAL times since its publication in 1989 the comment has been heard that “Brother Fred Pearce’s book on the Holy Spirit should be better known and more widely read than it appears to be”. So here’s a review by an enthusiastic reader of the book, which shows why the book in question has been so helpful to a lot of people.

READING this book is constantly rewarding. Ever since its publication, it has been of more than considerable use to all those who have merely referred to it, let alone read it throughout. Only recently I found myself quoting from its substance when discussing with a lady in our Seminar classes the meaning of the phrase “being born of spirit”. To quote the author’s words on the verse in question, John 3:5:

“The Word of God conveys the Spirit of His mind; when the believer receives and accepts it, he has a new understanding, a new mind. A new spiritual creature is begotten by God’s incorruptible seed. He is a son (or daughter) of God, manifesting in mind and outlook the same spiritual quality as the Father”.

It is difficult to conceive of a higher theme than that.

Introduction

The late Brother Fred Pearce had a bold and lucid style, together with a clear way of setting out the ideas he had culled from the Word of God. Even in his introduction, he faces a fundamental question – “But how can we ‘have’ the Spirit of Christ … ?” It is easy for us to shy away from occasional verses like John 3:5, and even whole chapters like Romans 8, but Brother Fred avoids the shortsightedness of looking at occasional verses or even whole chapters in isolation.

Structure

The book itself is in two parts, the first of which tells us how and what we can learn about this wondrous subject only from the Word itself; the second comes to terms with a wide range of often misunderstood New Testament passages, particularly those which use “Spirit” and “Holy Spirit”.

Part One

To establish what the scripture reveals to us, the author begins by reviewing how our Father in heaven has revealed Himself through the books of the Old Testament. He draws our attention to a host of Old Testament passages to demonstrate how the power of God was at work in the lives of such giants as Moses, Joshua and Elijah.

Our minds gradually become focused, by a proper understanding of the Law, on the character of God Himself, full of mercy and loving-kindness towards His chosen people, ready always to forgive upon their repentance: “And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people …” (Numbers 14:17-20).

We are then taken to listen to the words of our Lord himself and we soon learn that his teaching was not dependent on his miraculous powers but on his understanding of the mind of his Father as revealed in that same Old Testament. The disciples, too, who on his ascension became apostles, were granted the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to give that authority to their teaching which was inherent in that of their Master. The signs they demonstrated were a confirmation of their words.

All the aspects of the work of God’s Spirit are presented as a sequence of seven cases of remarkable divine intervention: the ministry of John Baptist, the birth of Jesus himself, the bestowal on him of miraculous powers, his resurrection, the giving to the apostles of special powers, the spreading of the gospel message beyond the confines of the Holy Land and, finally, the bestowal of Spirit gifts on some members of the ecclesias throughout the Roman world.

Chapter 4, entitled “The Spirit and the Word”, sets out from Scripture exactly how it is that the Word itself is that cleansing and sanctifying influence working on the minds of men and women by which our Father begets His children. This chapter and the next are pivotal in the structure of the book and a sound preparation for what, for me, is the climax of the whole work, chapter 6, entitled “The Mind of the Spirit”.

Part Two

Over one third of the book helps us to appreciate more fully a whole range of New Testament passages and to gain insight into such phrases as “renewed in the spirit of your minds”, and to “have the mind of Christ”. Our thoughts are then drawn to what Scripture means when it tells us about the Father and the Son abiding in us: how by the development of our understanding of the spiritual mind of God and in our giving of ourselves wholly to Him in steady and consistent service, true fellowship can gradually and increasingly grow within us. Thus we can come to know by experience the meaning of such phrases as “If we love one another, God abideth in us” (1 John 4:12, RV).

Conclusions

Like all good teachers, Brother Fred tells us first what he is going to say, then he explains the full substance of what he is saying and, finally, in chapter 10 entitled “Conclusions”, he succinctly tells us again what he has said to us. The appendix and index are clearly set out in the very last three pages of the book.

“What is involved in this process is not just a stimulation of emotions, but a radical change in our personality, our character, upon the basis of our free choice. This essential work can only come about by our voluntary submission to the wisdom of God abundantly expressed in His Word of truth” (page 59).

This book should be more widely read amongst us for it enables us to come to terms with some of the most sublime thoughts in Scripture and, if our minds are truly renewed, to be able to live “by Spirit” (Romans 8:25, RV).

TREVOR PRITCHARD

Privacy |  Terms & Conditions |  Site Map |  Site by Quick By Design
Registered Address
The Christadelphian, 404 Shaftmoor Lane, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 8SZ
Registered charity in England and Wales (No. 240090)
A charitable company limited by guarantee
(Company No. 329186 - England and Wales)
Tel: +44 (0)121 777 6328
Fax: +44 (0)121 778 5024
loading loading...