The Holy Spirit and the Mind of Faith
In this book Jack Levison speaks a fresh prophetic word to the church, championing a unique blend of serious Bible study and Christian spirituality. With rich insight, he shows Christians of any church or denomination how they can take the Spirit into the grit of everyday life. Levison argues for an indispensable synergy between spontaneity and study, ecstasy and restraint, inspiration and interpretation. Readable and relevant, winsome and wise, Levison’s Inspired sets a bold agenda for today’s church that will replace quick-fix spiritualities with a vibrant, durable experience of the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Jack Levison’s newest entry on the place of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the Christian life is a tour de force. Professor Levison is, in my experience, the most competent scholar and clearest writer on the Holy Spirit that I have known.
But he is far more than a scholar; he is a Christian who is passionate to bring biblical clarity and understanding to the church, world-wide, which may be on a course toward two Christianities, Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal, rather than one. The polemical dividing line seems to be whether Christians think the spirit appears in a spectacular or in a steady spirituality. He wants to bridge the widening divide without sacrificing the distinctive at either end of the spectrum. His method is primarily exegetical, searching the scriptures of Israel, Judaism, and Christianity. The result, in his words, “embraces a symbiosis of ecstasy and comprehension, spontaneity and study.”
I have been on the lookout for colleagues like this for the 54 years I have been a pastor as I also have worked to counter the dichotomizing of the church over Holy Spirit issues, not without success. Dr. Jack Levison has become for me the major voice, thoroughly scriptural and totally non-combative, in this company.
—Eugene Peterson, author of The Message
A brilliant line of argument that is lucidly and almost affectionately delivered—brilliant in that it scintillates with insight after insight and connection after connection, lucid in that Levison writes with the simplicity and directness of genuine authority, and affectionate in that he approaches both his content and us as his readers with the warmest regard.
—Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence
Levison’s careful study of the Old Testament, early Jewish, and New Testament understanding of the Spirit, the fruit of twenty years of research, signals something of a revolution in contemporary understanding of the Spirit of God. If (human) spirit is the divine breath of life already in a person, what does it mean to receive the Spirit or to be filled with the Spirit? Do only Christians and the Church ‘have’ the Spirit? Furthermore, is there a place for ecstasy without comprehension in Christian spirituality? And what constitutes inspired interpretation of scripture? Levison’s discussion will instruct those open to learn afresh and provoke fruitful discussion.
—James D. G. Dunn, Lightfoot Professor Emeritus at the University of Durham and author of Baptism in the Holy Spirit and Jesus and the Spirit
Jack Levison probably considers himself neither a prophet nor the son of one. Yet he does what prophets do – identify the presence and activity of the spirit of God in the world, and discern with remarkable clarity the implications such work can and should have for our future. Inspired, aptly titled, will not only inform readers about the spirit but activate, nurture, and enable a spirit-filled way of life, learning, and virtue.
—Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology & Dean, School of Divinity, Regent University