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Philip and the Revival in Samaria

Author
Category Articles
Date December 16, 2005

Reviews of Geoff Thomas’ book ‘Philip and the Revival in Samaria’

In these days when the seeker-sensitive church emphasises all sorts of earthly benefits of salvation — above the righteousness of God as a remedy of our sinfulness — Geoff Thomas’ book provides a timely antidote. Through the events in the life of Philip recorded in Acts 6-8, the author reminds us of glorious truths we would do well to heed.

This is not a book about revival but rather an account of the sovereign workings of the Spirit — applicable to us regardless of whether we are allowed to experience revival or not.

We are first introduced to Philip through his work as a deacon — a man whose practical righteousness was the result of a Spirit- filled life. His display of Christian love was at the sharp, unglamorous end of Christian service but it reaped benefits that would last.

The book provides useful insights from the narrative. There is a clear analysis of the work of the Spirit, emphasising his sovereign operation in the lives of believers. There is an insightful examination of the historic relationship between the Samaritans and Jews, which provides not only a helpful context to the revival in Samaria but also to other parts of the New Testament.

A sensitive approach is taken to the admitted theological difficulties presented by chapter 8 in relation to the believers at Samaria and the incident with Simon the Sorcerer.

The book is well grounded in Scripture, with many Bible references, and refers liberally to lives as varied as George Whitefield, William Carey, Thomas Boston and Sarah Edwards. Throughout, Mr Thomas displays (and encourages us to have) a high view of the gospel, of preaching and preachers, and of the kingdom and sovereignty of God.

We are exhorted not to take our Christianity in neat little capsules but to live for the glory of God. Read this book if you want to be encouraged to lead a biblical, Spirit-filled life.

Jonathan Morris

[This review is courtesy of Evangelical Times September 2005]

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In these pages the author traces the ministry of the evangelist from his appointment as a servant (deacon) to the wider and more challenging campaign in Samaria. To most, taking the gospel to the despised Samaritans would have seemed a daunting task, but Philip’s ministry there was signally blessed. In this book several important issues are addressed. The diaconate is seen as the official expression of the Church’s compassion for the needy. It is not just a committee with a different name. There is a clear explanation of what it means to be ‘full of the Spirit’ as Philip was (Acts 6:3). Thomas faces the difficult question of how it was possible for Samaritans to believe in the Lord Jesus without having been baptized by the Holy Spirit, given that baptism occurs when a person is ‘born again’ (John 3:6, 1 Corinthians 12:13). In a convincing explanation Thomas considers important aspects of that situation that are often overlooked. The presentation in these pages is lucid and cogent, and supremely sane. Any Christian would benefit from reading it. Students for the ministry, and ministers, regardless of age, ought to read it.

Frederick S. Leahy

[This review is courtesy of The Covenanter Witness June 2005]

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This book (ISBN 085151 8990) retails for $9.99 (US), £6.00 (UK and ROW) and can be purchased from the website (go to the book catalogue).

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