Empowered by the Grace of God
by Garth W. Black, Tate Publishing, © 2014,
164 pages, $15.60 (paperback), ISBN-13: 978-1-63418-805-0
For over 45 years I have been talking to people about the existence of God and the validity of Christianity. During that time, I have frequently had the subject of the Holy Spirit brought up by skeptics as an example of a foolish belief that causes people to do and say things that are destructive. Whether it is Charles Manson or a recent murderer of innocent people, the Holy Spirit is frequently a scapegoat for irrational behavior. On a less dramatic note, we see religious fundamentalists attributing everything from tongue speaking to spirit dancing to the activities of the Holy Spirit. Some forty years ago I taught several classes on the Holy Spirit using a little booklet by Garth Black. It was intelligently written, scripturally correct, and presented in a way that everyone could understand. Unfortunately, that little booklet went out of print. This book is an updated and expanded version of the old book, and we wanted to let people know about its availability.
Black introduces the book by telling of a young man who said he could not become a Christian because he could not measure up to the standard necessary to live a Christian life. Black points out that the failure, in this case, was a failure to understand the Holy Spirit and how he empowers us. The book is divided into 13 short chapters and has an appendix dealing with the error of denying the indwelling of the Spirit.
The nature of the Spirit, his role in the Old Testament, in nature, in people, and in prophesy is followed by a study of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Garth Black explains the way the Spirit works in a Christian and how he helps us through the word. The gift of the Holy Spirit is studied in the history of the church. There is great emphasis on how each individual is blessed and guided by the Spirit. This is not an apologetic for the existence of the Holy Spirit, but a careful, logical, biblical explanation of how the Spirit fits into our lives as Christians.
We recommend this book as a unique explanation of a badly misunderstood biblical concept. Believers will find it helpful and motivating, and non-believers can come to a better understanding of the Holy Spirit's role in the Christian faith.