Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gaffin is Great

popPerspectives on Pentecost is one of those books that deserve frequent re-printings. Thirty years old now, the slim little beast has all appearances of being a lite, devotional-esque essay on the spirituality of New Testament Christianity - that, or an obnoxiously polemical little text against speaking in tongues and the charismatic movement. But it's just not that kind of book - and I'm loving it.

One of the first things I noticed about it was how deceitfully short it is. At 120 pages, one might expect it to be the sort of book one could stroll through in a couple of days. But it's just not that kind of book. I'm finding myself only making it through about 10-12 pages an hour, and not because of awkward prose or unintelligible jargon. Gaffin simply writes in a style that loads every sentence with a pointedness and depth of biblico-theological insight that turns out something not much different than wine, a thing to be carefully sipped and savored.

I do find it somewhat humourous, though, that the book supposedly was written with hopes of reaching a popular audience (this, at least, is why Gaffin said he dropped the footnotes). Only twenty five pages into it, between the untransliterated greek and a couple latin theological quips, along with a host of distinctively Vos-ian and Kline-ian (and Ridderbos-ian) (and thus, esoteric) assumptions, I'm fairly convinced that Gaffin was a little bit naïve.

Still, not even through the first chapter yet, I haven't found a paragraph that wasn't worth quoting yet, so I figured that demanded a wholesale endorsement to anyone vaguely interested in a biblico-theological approach to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

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