Observations on Theology, Culture and the Hosier family

Thursday, 27 August 2009

BOOK REVIEW: MOVING IN THE PROPHETIC

Moving in the Prophetic by Greg Haslam

In the interests of full-disclosure I need to acknowledge that Greg is someone I know, like and admire – he is a colleague and friend. I officiated at the marriage of his eldest son, who is also someone I like and admire very much. I have preached at Greg’s church.

Reviewing a book written by a friend is different from reviewing one by a stranger.

This is a helpful book. If I have a criticism, it would be that Greg has probably written two (or even three) books here. At nearly 400 pages long this is a fairly hefty volume, and the sections on finding vision for your life and how local churches should function (chapters 9 to 13, comprising over 100 pages) could profitably have been published separately – the content of these chapters is good, but doesn’t seem to me to be tied clearly enough to the title and main thrust of the book.

OK, that quibble aside, what is good about Moving in the Prophetic?

It is thorough! Greg is well known for working through subjects methodically, and here he gives us a comprehensive survey of what the prophetic gift is and how it should function. Even if you were not to read the whole thing cover to cover, every believer would benefit from picking out the chapters and sections relevant to them.

Greg is very open – passionately open – to the Spirit of God moving among his people to release prophetic gifts, but he is also crystal clear about how prophecy needs to be properly used in the church, and how we are to avoid charismania. I would love to get this book into the hands of some of the people I’ve had dealings with over the years who have pursued prophetic cul-de-sacs and in their desire for the spectacular have failed to develop any kind of real spiritual maturity.

I also like the way Greg describes the variety of ways in which prophecy can come – through preaching, through song, through wordplay, and so on. Through it all he emphasises again and again the importance of being soaked in the Scriptures. Genuine prophecy must be firmly grounded on the infallible word of God.

Greg illustrates Moving in the Prophetic with many stories from his own experience. Some of these stories are very powerful, while many of them are very funny. They serve both to stir up a hunger to experience more of the presence of God and to warn against abuses of the prophetic gift. Greg’s own breadth of reading and cultural interests are revealed in his encouragement to those wanting to grow in the prophetic to allow their emotions to be stirred by reading authors ranging from John Donne to John Steinbeck.

This book would be invaluable for the pastor leading a church which has never experienced prophecy. It provides a theological rationale and framework for the gift, and answers many of the objections of those who claim that spiritual gifts do not operate in our day. It would also be invaluable for the individual wanting to grow in their prophetic gift – it is packed with practical insight and wisdom. The three chapters on Learning to Prophesy, Delivering a Prophetic Word and Testing a Prophetic Word are particularly good. These chapters should be required reading for anyone wanting to prophesy, and it would be very helpful if they could be published in a separate pamphlet which could be given out at church membership classes!

Greg has served the Church well with this book. Read it, and stir up the gift!

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