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The Foreword to "Understanding Spiritual Gifts: A Comprehensive Guide", by Craig Keener

Because the Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity, learning to depend on the Spirit is crucial to the Christian life. And because biblical teaching about gifts of the Spirit points us to dependence on God’s Spirit to empower us to serve one another in the various ways that God equips us, it is teaching crucial for today’s church. Few things could be more central than learning to depend on God, in our various distinctive ways, to build up fellow believers as fellow members of Christ’s own body.

Those who caricaturize charismatics as biblically naïve or theologically misinformed don’t know Sam Storms. Sam is a sober-minded exegete committed to follow wherever Scripture may lead, a biblical scholar who is also a pastor, a balanced and respected voice. A gracious and patient dialogue partner, he knows thoroughly both sides of the cessationist/continuationist debate firsthand.

In this book, Sam argues his case logically, point-by-point, and especially with respect for Scripture. This is the Sam we would expect if we have read his other books or listened to his presidential address, regarding the gift of prophecy, to the Evangelical Theological Society several years ago.

Rarely do two scholars agree on every point, and this book is no exception. But I do agree with the vast majority of it, and the points where I differ, I do so respectful of my friend’s careful arguments. I hope that others, too, who disagree on some points will, like me, do so respectful of Sam’s irenic tone, careful reasoning and above all commitment to the authority of Scripture.

Today many churches emphasize either the Scriptures, which pervasively attest to the centrality of the Spirit’s ministries in our lives and assemblies, or the Spirit, who inspired the Scriptures that model and should guide our own experience of the Spirit today. By emphasizing merely intellectual information, as if knowledge were enough, we risk missing the experience to which Scripture invites us. By emphasizing merely experience, we risk missing understanding and embracing the right experience. In this time when unbiblical extremes are reacting against each other--either throwing out spiritual gifts or abusing them--Sam Storms's book is superbly timely.

We need Word and Spirit together, and few are as equipped as Sam to provide that balance. I highly commend this exegetically excellent and preeminently practical book.

Dr. Craig S. Keener
F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies
Asbury Theological Seminary

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