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Practicing the Power by Sam Storms … (A Guide for Charismania In Your Mainstream Church)

News Division

Practicing The Power: Welcoming the Gifts Of The Holy Spirit In Your Life

By Sam Storms

Foreword by Matt Chandler

Page Count: 272

Format: Softcover

ISBN: 9780310533849

Published by HarperCollins Publishers/Zondervan Academic

Copyright: 2017 by Sam Storms

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
Psalm 19:7-9

From the opening moment of His ex nihilo creation of the world, there has been a fundamental understanding about not only the infinite power of God’s Word but also the total sufficiency of His Word.  Adam and Eve were the first to know the power, the purpose and the reliability of His Word, and incur His righteous judgment for disobedience to it. Throughout the history of the Old Testament, it’s evident that obedience to God’s Word brought blessing; disobedience brought curse.  Just ask the nearest Israelite.  King David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, penned the words of Psalm 19 (and also the epic Psalm 119) that give testimony to the preeminence of God’s Word. What God says is utterly sufficient.  It was sufficient for David, for Israel, and, in the bulk of its’ two-millennia, post-Pentecost history, that Word has been sufficient for the church.  The sufficiency of Scripture, of God’s very Word, is a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith.

But, if you flip open Sam Storms newest book to the opening page of endorsements, you’ll find that the first one is offered from a guy who holds a blatantly unorthodox view of the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture.  In fact, he calls what David believed, and what the overwhelming majority of Christians throughout church history have known as true, a doctrine of demons.

“In order to fulfill God’s highest purpose for our lives we must be able to hear his voice both in the written Word and in the word freshly spoken from heaven … Satan understands the strategic importance of Christians hearing God’s voice so he has launched various attacks against us in this area. One of his most successful attacks has been to develop a doctrine that teaches God no longer speaks to us except through the written Word. Ultimately, this doctrine is demonic even [though] Christian theologians have been used to perfect it.” Jack Deere (As quoted in Strange Fire by John MacArthur)

Contrast Deere’s anti-biblical proclamation with the inimitable and orthodox insight of Justin Peters:

“Anything that divorces people from their reliance upon the Word of God is not the work of the Author of the Word of God. Anything that diverts our attention away from Scripture is not coming from the Author of Scripture. It is coming from the enemy.” Justin Peters

But Jack Deere’s words effectively establish the unspoken premise of Sam Storms’ Practicing The Power. As in every excess of the charismatic movement, the underlying presupposition is that Scripture is not sufficient. Though adherents to continuationism – the belief that Pentecost-like signs and wonders gifts continue in the church today – won’t often be so blatant as Deere, the movement itself testifies that the Word of God is simply not enough. Proponents of these gifts may not always affirm Deere’s assertion, but their behavior reflects it.

For those who might agree with the continuationist premise – particularly pastors – Storms has penned this book as a practical resource for “a local church in the twenty-first century that is committed to the centrality and functional authority of the Bible and to the effective, Christ-exalting operation of all spiritual gifts.”

Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church – which is tellingly described by Chandler in his foreword as “a seeker-sensitive (Willow Creek model) [Southern] Baptist church” – lauds Storms’ efforts in the book. “It is not an exaggeration,” writes Chandler, “to say I have been waiting for this book for fifteen years.”

Indeed, Chandler may have waited a decade and a half for this “how to” book on charismania, but there’s a divinely pragmatic reason for his wait. Those throughout orthodox church history who held God’s Scripture with authentic centrality and exaltation in their lives, ministries, and churches were incapable of providentially penning a such a text that would explicitly undermine their allegiance to that Word.

Such a book that aggressively promotes spiritual gifts that have remained dormant for the overwhelming entirety of non-catholic orthodox church history – some 19 centuries – could hardly have been penned with any hopes of mainstream acceptance any time prior to charismania’s birth at the beginning of the twentieth century. Though Storms is cautious in his text to promote the organized, responsible exhibition of spiritual gifts in the local church, the fact is his book is itself evidence of how rapidly charismaniacal error has spread from the excessive fringes of Christendom into the mainstream, once more moderate church that may just be down the street from you. Chandler’s church, after all, is a Southern Baptist one.

In barely one hundred years, the behaviors of charismania have found themselves in ever-increasing demand in churches that have allowed the experiential, subjective ambitions of the modern-to-post-modern mindset to creep into congregations. (In many cases, such as with Chandler’s church, culture hasn’t merely crept in, it has been intentionally escorted to the stage and ushered to a comfy pew.) Charismatic experiences mesh nicely with a culture that emphasizes subjective feelings over objective truth. So Storms’ book couldn’t have hoped to find traction, or acceptance, in perhaps any other time in church history.

Storms’ introductory chapter is called “God Going Public,” not at all meaning that God has been progressively revealing Himself throughout the entire corpus of recorded Scriptural history, but that God is now broadcasting Himself in extra-biblical, supernatural ways. “[Spiritual] Gifts are God going public among His people,” writes Storms. The underlying premise of the insufficiency of Scripture is evident.  God’s Word as evidence for His creation-forward self-revelation seems less compelling, perhaps, than the supposed Spirit-given, experiential gifts of 1 Corinthians 12-14.

Sams Storms

Sam Storms is, according to his self-titled website, “an Amillennial, Calvinistic, charismatic, credo-baptistic, complementation, Christian hedonist.”   These descriptive points can be gleaned throughout Storms book with some, such as the obvious charismatic adjective, being more blatant than others.  The biographical sketch from the book’s back cover identifies him further as “founder of Enjoying God Ministries, senior pastor of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, and a former professor.”

In the introduction and the book’s first chapter, Storms lays out his objective to encourage the responsible implementation and complete exhibition of the full range of spiritual gifts and show how they may be incorporated within the context of a local church.  Though he’s careful in the opening pages to stake a claim for Scriptural priority over the gifts – “Our responsibility is to obey God’s Word” – he enters into much the rest of the book with a “be willing to take a risk” attitude relative to the supernatural gifts.  Storms contends that churches should be able to establish an environment in which the gifts may be safely and responsibly experienced and encouraged.

(Writing in chapter eight, “Principles for Prophecy Today,” Storms advises leaders of small group gatherings to “explicitly and frequently inform those gathered that this is a ‘safe’ environment in which everyone should feel free to take risks.”  In the book’s Conclusion, Storms’ says, “Be willing to put your reputation on the line.  Don’t fear looking foolish.”  He then affirmingly cites Jack Wimber, founder of the charismatic Vineyard movement, who Storms says “was fond of saying that FAITH is a four-letter word spelled: R-I-S-K!”)

“I can’t guarantee that my prayers for the sick will result in healing,” writes Storms.  “I can’t promise that my word [of knowledge] to you will be spot-on accurate.  But I can control whether or not I am willing to step out and take a risk.” (Emphasis original)  Storms also cites Jack Hayford (who is an elder in Robert Morris’ Gateway Church and a recognized “apostle” in the New Apostolic Reformation movement) in teaching him a valuable lesson – “we don’t have to be afraid of spiritual gifts, even if someone does it badly.” (Emphasis original)

“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1

Compelled by 1 Corinthians 14:1, Storms spends two chapters emphasizing prayer and fasting as necessary means to acquire the “spiritual gifts.”  Throughout the remainder of the book, Storms will refer back to this verse as well.  Yet Storms curiously identifies what is a common, worthy, and providentially administered reality about the historic absence of spiritual gifts in the two millennia old record of the church.  While encouraging his readers to pray and fast for the gifts, in presumed accordance with Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians, Storms writes:

“I believe that one of the reasons why spiritual gifts are less frequent in certain seasons of church history than in others is due to the fact that people didn’t seek, pursue, or passionately and incessantly pray for these gifts.”

Storms’ belief that a lack of “earnestly desiring” the gifts is why they are so infrequently seen in church history seems to be contradicted by his inclusion of an article in the book’s appendix in which he cites “the testimony throughout most of church history” that “the gifts did not cease or disappear.”  He proceeds to provide “examples” of proponents of, or practitioners in, the supposed exhibition of the spiritual gifts.

Though he acknowledges the vast lack of evidence as to the continuation of these gifts throughout church history, Storms’ appendix includes a large number of charismatic examples drawn nearly exclusively from Roman Catholicism’s mystic history.  In responding to the expected retort to this – that “these are exclusively Roman Catholics” – Storms advises that “we must not forget that during this period in history there was hardly anyone else.”

(This view that authentic New Testament Christianity disappeared during the rise of the increasingly, and now thoroughly, apostate Roman Catholic church is altogether an erroneous one. For an excellent study of the orthodox faithfulness of Word-centered church leaders from the second century forward, I would suggest engaging in Dr. Nathan Busenitz’s Historical Theology from The Masters’ Seminary.)

Storms’ defense of the historic continuation of supernatural spiritual gifts, by citing their presence in the apostate church of Rome, can hardly be viewed, one would think, as substantive and cite-worthy.  If the intermittent practitioners from Roman apostasy are to be served up as legitimate historical forebears for modern charismatic gifting and behavior, one might also, with equal credibility, cite the frequency of kundalini spirits, or the ecstatic, trance-induced hysterics of pagan cults, or even the erratic behaviors of the demon-possessed found in the practices of voo-doo, shamanism, and animism. That gospel-void and apostate Roman Catholics engaged in the presumed exhibition of such gifts is not a commendatory credit for charismatic proponents.  Rome is no more Christian than the tribal witch doctor or the spiritist of Santeria, but such behavioral exhibitions of presumed gifting are also seen duplicated in other religous arenas that are distinctly non-Christian.

Practicing The Power finds Storms speaking to the predominant spiritual gifts being exercised in the modern charismatic church. Storms includes a single chapter focused on “Practicing The Power of Healing” A notable line from this chapter, and a subsequent caution from Storms, reflects his certain belief that the gift of healing is active today. “I’ve had the opportunity on numerous occasions to meet people who have what appears to be a healing anointing for one particular affliction.”

Storms’ point is that some possessors of the gift of healing are given malady-specific healing effectiveness, the gift being exercised by prayer. “Some are able to pray more effectively for those with back problems while others see more success when praying for migraine headaches.” The implication of Storms’ comment is that the gift of healing varies based on the malady, that its prayer-incanted efforts are not always effective, and that we shouldn’t “accept the erroneous idea that if anyone could ever heal, he could always heal.” Emphasis original.

This approach to healing does not even closely resemble, and certainly does not replicate, the use of this gift shown in the New Testament apostolic period. Richard Mayhue, writing in The Masters’ Seminary Journal, notes the obvious lack of Biblical parallel between Storms’ presumption about healing and the healing events recorded in the Book of Acts. “All the healing in Acts occurred instantaneously; they required no recuperative period. The afflicted experience immediate restoration to full health.” In addition to the immediacy of healing recorded in Acts, the remainder of the New Testament nowhere speaks to the gift of healing being given in an affliction-specific manner. The apostles practicing the divine gift could immediately heal any and all afflictions. A healing specialist was not needed to target specific diseases.

Storms’ book does not spend much time on the most prevalent feature of charismania seen in the movement today – the gift of tongues. This gift is treated rather assumptively, though Storms gives minimal guidance in this book on how to incorporate tongues during a worship service. Perhaps most telling, though, about Storms’ treatment of tongues comes from an Amazon review of his book, in which the book’s positive, five-star reviewer says:

The only subject I wish Storms had spent more time on was advice for those pursuing the gift of speaking in tongues. There seems to be very little such practical, concrete advice for those who are committed to the word of God—the very word that says, “I want you all to speak in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:5). Many seem to shy away from this particular gift, I believe, because it is so unusual and, quite frankly, because it embarrasses us. Please don’t misunderstand me: I don’t think Storms shied away from this issue—and certainly not out of fear or embarrassment. He addresses his experience at length in his book Convergence: Spiritual Journeys of a Charismatic Calvinist. But I would love answers to simple questions such as: Should I just ask for this gift and simply wait for it to happen to me in silence—or should I try speaking whatever syllables come to mind? What are some signs that I’m truly speaking in tongues and not simply speaking gibberish? Is it possible to think that I’m not speaking in tongues when I actually am? (Source)

The reviewer’s comments reflect the intrinsically unbiblical nature of the gift as seen throughout the broader charismatic movement and as tacitly accepted as legitimate in Storms’ book. Practitioners and would-be practitioners of tongues have no way of knowing whether they are “truly speaking in tongues and not simply speaking gibberish,” as the reviewer posits. The very need to ask that question is itself an indictment as to the illegitimacy of the practice.

Storms’ spends the bulk of his book featuring what is becoming the preeminent modern exhibition of gifts in the charismatic movement, shifting from a focus on tongues to the presumed gift of prophecy. Storms’ defines prophecy “as the human report of a divine revelation. Prophecy is the speaking forth in merely human words of something God has spontaneously brought to mind.” While emphasizing that “all genuine prophetic ministry is based upon or flows from a ‘revelation’ from God,” Storms attempts to caution the reader on accepting any and all claims to the prophetic as genuinely authentic.

“Now, let’s return to the example I mentioned earlier of the individuals who come to me after a service feeling impressed or moved or touched by a song or biblical text or event in the church service. Could it be that they have been the recipients of revelation that is the basis for a prophetic utterance? Yes, it’s possible.”

As with the confusion of the “tongues” reviewer cited above, Storms and his charismatic practitioners’ inability to recognize the authenticity of a presumed prophetic revelation received from God directly reflects the erroneous nature of the presumed gift. Is it possible – or shown anywhere throughout Scripture – that God isn’t able to fully, completely, and sufficiently convey His revelation to His chosen spokesperson? Scripture nowhere records such an occurence, but Storms goes further in clarifying any claim to the prophetic.

“Yes, it’s possible. But more times than not, I suspect what they’ve experienced is the Spirit working to enlighten or illumine them concerning some truth or ethical principle in Scripture.”

Storms’ caution on this point ought not to be merely well-heeded by those seeking to discern authentic modern prophecy from inauthentic. Rather, his advice should be heeded and applied to any and all contemporary prophetic claims. The ministry of the Holy Spirit was made clear by Christ when instructing His disciples just prior to His crucifixion. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-14)

What is “the truth” to be illumined by the ministry of the Holy Spirit? Jesus defines it in His epic claim of John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Furthermore, sometime prior to AD 70, the Spirit-inspired author of Hebrews reaffirms this Messianic claim, “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” (Hebrews 1:2)  We do not have to risk to discern Truth.  It has been given to us in the Word.

The featured gift of prophecy in Storms’ how-to manual is guided by the author’s initial focus on Acts 21 as the Scriptural starting point. Calling it a look at “real-life practice,” Storms says, “Here we come face to face with the way prophecy functioned in the concrete affairs of life and ministry.” However, considering the fundamental rule of context (When interpreting Scripture, the rule of context is that CONTEXT RULES, FYI.) with regards to Biblical hermeneutics, Storms disregards even Luke’s implicit intent to continue recording in Acts the history of “all that Jesus began to do and teach” which he had originally begun in the Gospel bearing his name. Luke was writing narrative history, both in the Gospel and in the Book of Acts. He was not writing an ecclesiological instruction manual in either inspired undertaking.

Yet, despite Storms claims to holding a high view of Scripture, his comments on the “real-life practice” of prophecy yield a view of Scripture that seems not quite so lofty as historic orthodoxy has esteemed it. Citing Acts 21 Storms writes that “This narrative is especially helpful in that we find in it an example of how the gift was used in the first century together with the proper response to prophetic words from the Lord and how to process minor mistakes.” (Emphasis added)

The “minor mistakes” Storms cites as instructive for the exhibition of prophecy in the church today features notably the charismatically-popular claim that the prophecy of Agabus in Acts 21 was wrong. Storms’ claims that Agabus’ prophecy about Paul’s impending arrest in Jerusalem contained error.

“First, ‘the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt,’ and second, they, the Jews, will ‘deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. (Acts 21:11) In both cases, Agabus was wrong.” (Emphasis original)

Though Luke does not write the account of Agabus in Acts 21 with any qualifying context that would effectively alert the reader that “intentional error follows,” Storms reads the text against Paul’s subsequent incarceration by the Romans as inherently erroneous prophecy. But, since Luke did not indicate such an error, Storms’ attempt is less to reconcile what Paul himself actually claims happened, such as in his testimony before Agrippa, with Agabus’ revelation than it is Storms’ attempt to necessarily read and accommodate error into the account in order to validate the prevalence of error replete throughout the modern charismatic movement of which he is a part. “If Agabus was wrong, we can be wrong, too” is the argument, augmented with the assuaging allowance that “it’s okay to be wrong.”

Just as in the case of Agabus, suggests Storms, “we should always be open to the possibility that no matter how clearly we think we have heard from the Spirit – like Paul’s companions – we may be wrong.” In the case of the modern charismatic movement, being wrong is the overwhelming status quo. (Another endorser of Storms’ book, the “apostle” Mike Bickle, admits that some 80% are indeed wrong.) In light of such massive error though, Storms doesn’t find a need for caution about the very presence of the gift. Instead he says, “We must cultivate prophetic humility.” (Emphasis original)  In light then of Bickle’s admission, we must only presume that charismatics are icons of a “humbler than thou” lifestyle, for so frequently are their prophetic attributions to the Holy Spirit erroneous.

An astute and biblically-informed response to the ready acceptability by charismatics, like Storms, of human error in receiving prophecy from the Holy Spirit – which necessarily implies that the Holy Spirit is somehow unable to secure the accuracy and delivery of His presumed revelation – comes from Phil Johnson. Johnson’s message at the Strange Fire Conference, entitled “Is There A Baby in The Charismatic Bathwater?” addresses this precise issue.

“The very best theologians,” writes Johnson “continue to justify the practice of encouraging people to proclaim prophecies that are unverified and unverifiable and which frequently prove to be dead wrong.” Johnson also cited Bickle’s unabashed claim to the error rate in modern prophecy but continued by stating that the charismatic movement’s eagerness to tolerate, and even endorse, known prophetic error “is a sinful gullibility and it fosters more sinful gullibility and therefore it undermines true faith.”

“Confusion about whether God has really spoken or not is the most dangerous threat to faith I can imagine.” Phil Johnson, Strange Fire Conference

Storms includes a chapter on how to implement a “user-friendly deliverance” ministry in the church. Emphasizing again his willingness to go “extra-biblical” Storms admits that “There is no explicit reference in the New Testament to a spiritual gift of deliverance. I must say, however, that I have known several individuals who have demonstrated a powerful, extraordinarily authoritative, and undeniably effective ministry in helping others find freedom from demonic oppression.” This is done, he claims, by “taking advantage of that authority given to all Christians in the name of Christ.”

The illicit techniques of charismatic spiritual warfare, such as binding and rebuking Satan or demons and utilizing “power encounters” are affirmingly referenced by Storms. He cites the charismatic false teacher Neil Anderson as a positive resource for learning how to effectively administer a deliverance ministry. Storms even includes a recommended proclamation that the believer might use when confronting a demon in a deliverance session:

”Look directly into their eyes and say: “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and through the power of his shed blood and resurrection life, I take authority over any demonic spirit either present in or around ____________(name of person). In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command any and every demonic spirit to leave ___________ (name of person) and never return.”

Practicing The Power concludes with chapters that emphasize the perpetually pursued ambition of the charismatic movement as a whole … the Holy Spirit. Where Scripture has given us teaching that the Holy Spirit always points to Christ, the charismatic movement has reversed the Biblical emphasis instead utilizing Jesus as a means to get the Spirit. Storms’ concluding chapters, “Do Not Quench The Spirit!” and “Manipulation or Ministry”, as well as “The Importance of Worship in the Spirit” do nothing to quell this Biblical inversion by charismatics.

Indeed, Storms makes the claim that “cessationism as a theology quenches the Spirit” because “it restricts, inhibits, and often prohibits what the Spirit can and cannot do in our lives individually and in our churches corporately.” Such a claim seems surprisingly inconsistent coming from a soteriologically Calvinistic continuationist who claims to maintain a high view of the sovereignty of God. Does he, or anyone who rightly apprehends what they can of God’s sovereignty in all things, actually believe that we have the ability to “quench the Spirit” by closely adhering to the teaching of Scripture? Does he believe that theologically reformed cessationists actually have this power over God in the church that Christ is building? We can, somehow, thwart the power of God?

Based on Paul’s “do not despise prophecies” line from 1 Thessalonians 5:20, Storms states, with emphasis, “It is a sin to despise prophecy. This is a divine command.” Doing such quenches the Spirit, he posits. “It doesn’t matter how badly people may have abused this gift,” writes Storms, “there is a real, live baby in that murky distasteful bathwater. So be careful that when you throw out the latter [the bathwater of erroneous prophecy] you don’t dispense with the former [the authentic Spirit-given prophecy].” Storms’ stance seems to be one that, while charging non-charismatics with “quenching the Spirit,” is itself the one that is actually attributing implicit error to the Spirit. The Spirit is, following Storms’ argument to its logical end, unable to transmit genuine, uncontaminated prophecy to the church and to believers today.  As with the uncertainty about the authenticity of presumed tongues by the book reviewer cited earlier, so too is the legitimacy of prophecy fatally flawed when believers must – outside of Scripture – seek to identify the authentic from the abundantly bogus.

Storms’ stance seems to be one that, while charging non-charismatics with “quenching the Spirit,” is itself the one that is actually attributing implicit error to the Spirit. The Spirit is, following Storms’ argument to its logical end, unable to transmit genuine, uncontaminated prophecy to the church and to believers today.  As with the uncertainty about the authenticity of presumed tongues by the book reviewer cited earlier, so too is the legitimacy of prophecy fatally flawed when believers must – outside of Scripture – seek to identify the authentic from the abundantly bogus.  Certainly our sovereign God is more than omnipotent enough to ensure the accuracy of any revelation He chooses to give.  After all, He’s done it throughout the entire corpus of written Scripture.  Why can He suddenly not do so now?

Storms also contends that “outside of charismatic churches, there are virtually no opportunities for expressions of spontaneous praise,” a condition he bemoans through falsely equating “spontaneity” of worship with “authenticity” of worship. If churches lack, for example, what he calls “prophetic singing” – a spur of the moment revealing by the Spirit something to a person who then puts it to music – the result is the effective, church-induced quenching of the Spirit.

Recognizing the first-century context in which “Paul is describing a situation far in advance of the printing press and hymnbooks,” Storms cites the apostle’s “spiritual songs” comment in Ephesians 5:19 as dictating “prophetic singing” in the church today. “These various expressions of singing were an invaluable means for transmitting and inculcating Christian truth.” Yet, again, given the providential transmission of the written, closed canon of holy, inspired truth in Scripture remains, apparently, an inadequate means for “inculcating” that truth today.  Though it is now widely available, God’s Word is not recognized for its sola Scriptura glory, authority, sufficiency, or infinitude.  Word-informed praise is relegated to a level of equality with the melodic stirrings of a pew-sitter who claims to be receiving harmonious modern revelations from God.

Practicing the Power is a text offered with the unabashed presupposition that spiritual gifts – tongues, healing, exorcisms, prophecy, etc – are a necessity in the modern church and are intended by God to be a prevalent feature – alongside Scripture – in it. While Storms peppers his teaching on how to orderly manage these gifts within the local church with examples drawn from his own church’s experience, he does so with a tone that smacks much like the equivalency of Scripture and Tradition so devoutly held to by Roman Catholics. Utilizing the gifts, for Storms, seems to find an equal standing alongside the readily available and perspicuously apprehensible propositional Word of God.

Storms’ book, while a well-written treatise, is founded not on a continuation of authentic first century, New Testament gifts, nor a continuation of consistently practiced behavior that has been found prevalent throughout orthodox church history. What Storms is seeking to continue and to normalize in the modern church is a continuation of a movement that is barely a century old.

While Storms is cautious to seek to tie both charismatic gifts and their public expression within the church to Scripture, his efforts to do so necessarily require an often unusual interpretation of Biblical texts, a willingness to read historical Scriptural narratives as didactic sources, and a tolerance for and expectation of certain error to follow the exhibition of those gifts, particularly with prophecy.

For pastors like Chandler, also willing to forego a firm allegiance to the providentially provided boundary of God’s Word, Storms’ book will be extolled as a worthwhile how-to manual for it not only seeks to normalize aberrant charismatic behavior, but it also tacitly embraces the post-modern culture’s zealous pursuit of subjective experience over objective, propositional, and absolute divine Scriptural truth. Such a marriage of cultural passion with the naturally legalistic tendency of humans who were made to worship, will doubtless serve well the seeker-sensitive and niche-oriented churches whose measure of success is overflowing crowds in the pews rather than increasingly sanctified souls edified through the sound doctrine of the Word.

As Tim Challies summarily noted in his review of Practicing The Power, “I read this book carefully, taking copious notes. I believe it has given me a deeper and more accurate understanding of charismatic practice. Ironically perhaps, it has deepened my cessationist convictions and my confidence in cessationist practice. While acknowledging and appreciating the book’s strengths, I still found it concerning and unconvincing.”

Like Challies, I find Storms’ book to be “concerning and unconvincing,” and summarily un-endorsable.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book through BooklookBlogger in return for my honest review. I was not required to give a favorable review to the book.)

[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]