The Presents of God by Mark Stibbe
A good starting place for someone enquiring about spiritual gifts
The Presents of God (Discovering your spiritual gifts: a practical guide)
By: Mark Stibbe
ISBN No: 978-1-86024-862-7
Reviewed By: Jeannie Kendall
Like, I suspect, others may, I initially misread the title as “The presence of God”. This was not as far out as might be anticipated, since an underlying premise of Mark Stibbe’s book is that the gifts of the Spirit are a tangible sign of the presence of God.
The outline of the book is simple: taking the nine gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12, Mark gives a chapter to each, blending anecdote, explanation, and practical challenge: each chapter ends with the question “What am I going to do as a result of what I’ve learned in this chapter?”. In addition each chapter has boxes for the reader to fill in parts of their story or response to what they are reading.
There is helpful background here about the original language without becoming a dry academic thesis, in what is an accessible and in many ways simple book. Themes from other books he has written (such as God as Father) will be familiar to those who know his writings, and he has done well in capturing the feel of a generous God wanting to give gifts to his children. His practical suggestions serve to demystify the gifts without detracting that these are from God and His to bestow.
Not everyone (particularly cessationists!) will agree with all his theology, but presumably would not want to read the book! Occasionally I wished for stories that I could identify with more, or more examples of the gifts in use in the Bible.
I’d never come across his view on interpreting tongues (that it must always be adoration rather than prophetic in nature) and was not completely convinced by his argument.
However as a starting place for someone enquiring about spiritual gifts, it is definitely an excellent place to begin.
Jeannie is co-minister of Carshalton Beeches Baptist Church, a former visiting lecturer at Spurgeon’s College and a District Minister in the London Baptist Association