This book, first published in 1990, is a delight. The preface emphasises the mysterious nature of the Holy Spirit who (quoting Kuyper) ‘leaves no footprints in the sand’.
The first chapter establishes that the Spirit is a person, the second that he is divine, while the third and fourth discuss the Trinity. These are perhaps the most taxing chapters in the book but none the worse for that, and refreshing in taking seriously (in a popular book) the place of the Spirit in the Trinity.
Sproul goes on to examine the Spirit’s role in creation and new creation (regeneration), and in sanctification, and then deals with baptism of the Holy Spirit. The final chapters are on the fruit of the Spirit and the Spirit as comforter/paraclete.
At all times the style is easy and lively, and sometimes provocative. On the fruit of love, for example, the author writes: ‘Love is not defined by simplistic abstinence from drinking, dancing, makeup, movies, card-playing, and the like. It was envy that required the cross, not lipstick; it was covetousness that demanded the atonement, not poker; it was pride that called forth the need for propitiation, not the cinema.’
The preface states that it is intended for the ‘serious layperson’ who is seeking a ‘deeper spiritual life’. Don’t be put off by that. ‘Clerics’ would benefit from it too! And probably the Christian who could most usefully read it is precisely the one who is not seeking a deeper spiritual life.
This book would be high up on this reviewer’s list of books to give to young Christians or to mature Christians wanting a ‘refresher’. It is about the sanest, most easily readable, stimulating and edifying work on the Holy Spirit, for its size available. We should be grateful that it is back in print.