This is an important and timely book, which I hope many will read and take to heart the rich teaching contained in it. This is a book with a prophetic edge to it and the author does not claim infallibility but in a refreshing way sets forth what he believes God is saying, the whole style of teaching encourages us to test everything by the plumb line of the Holy Scripture. I think it would help at the outset to say that I have been reading this book with the apostle Paul’s injunction in mind,
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but examine all things; hold fast to what is good. (1 Th 5:19–21).
We need to be open to the Holy Spirit at all times but we must test everything and only hold onto what is good. At the moment some of the predictions found in this book cannot be confirmed it will be a matter of waiting to see what happens.
Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised that I say that the Preface to the book by John Paul Jackson is of high importance, his warnings and his call to us to test everything by the Word is much appreciated. His call to have the right relationship between Word and Spirit is to be applauded. I found the preface so encouraging it was worth paying the price to just read that.
In the first part of the book Loren Sandford lays the foundation of all that is to come, the first chapters are about having the Father’s heart and this is vital teaching for the present moment. It moves us beyond the self centered focus of much renewal teaching. If we have the Fathers heart, we will hear what he is saying and we will want to renounce self. It is time to move away from concentrating on the gifts of God to really worship the Lord himself. We are reminded that our God is a gentle God, yet an awesome and majestic one at the same time. As we read this book we need to do it with an open heart to what God will say to us through these pages. the importance of repentance is highlighted at many points throughout this book.
Chapter 3 Toward a genuine revival, is spot on it analysis of where the renewal movement is at the moment ( This applies as much to the UK as to the USA, this is not just a book for the American church but it applies just as much here in the UK) We need to remember the teaching here because it faithfully reflects Biblical teaching and calls us to a greater understanding of the purposes and glory of God.
Part Two introduces us to Amos and the close parallels between our days and the days of Amos, these are not the preacher reading back into the text but rather a reminder of the relevancy of this part of the word of God. This may be strong medicine to take but we need it. In this section we are challenged to how we are going to live in these troubled times. The chapter on Repentance is of vital importance. The chapter on the revealing of the sons of God, is one of sober teaching and full of vital truth. I was so glad here to see the clear warning about William Branham’s false teaching which has ensnared so many people in the renewal movement. The teaching about the revealing of the sons of God is challenging and edifying. This section also contains important teaching about the spirit of Baal as well as a call to strategic prayer. Chapter 11 needs to be read carefully, with the question in our minds are we following the cloud or are we stagnating?. We are here challenged to follow the Lord our whole heart. This book challenges and equips at the same time if wwe are willing to receive both.
Chapter 12 deals with various false teachings that threaten the renewal movement, I agree with all that is said in this chapter and I believe that others will be called to expand on these critiques for the benefit of the body of Christ.
Chapter 13 shows how a generation has given up its revolutionary passion but also hold out the hope of recovery.
Chapter 14 deals with some of the themes from the book of Revelation,such as natural disasters, pollution of the environment,sexual immorality and the increase of demonic activity but we also given the hope of our god’s way way of equipping us to minister in the midst of darkness.
Part 3 of the book deals with several short themes such as Islam and the Looming threat of war.
This book is one that repays careful reading and should also call us to prayer and action. It is highly recommended.
My heart response to this book is best summed up in Charles Wesley’s words,
O Thou who camest from above,
The pure celestial fire to impart,
Kindle a flame of sacred love
Upon the mean altar of my heart.
There let it for Thy glory burn
With inextinguishable blaze,
[or, Unquenched, undimmed, in darkest days,]
And trembling to its source return,
In humble prayer and fervent praise.
Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire
To work and speak and think for Thee;
Still let me guard the holy fire,
And still stir up Thy gift in me.
Ready for all Thy perfect will,
My acts of faith and love repeat,
Till death Thy endless mercies seal,
And make my sacrifice complete.
This hymn is one that God has used to speak to my heart over many years now and I often find myself reflecting on them. As I read Loren’s book these word kept coming to mind.