How dangerous is it to offer to review a book written by someone you know, when you have no experience of their writing or teaching? He didn't ask me to – I just volunteered! As I picked up the book to start reading it, I realised what a foolish thing I had done – what if the book was rubbish? Just because my wife and I really liked this couple it didn't mean he could write! What if the book propagated teaching that was totally wrong? Did I need to come up with an escape strategy?
I was relieved that the angst was without cause! The book is a very good read indeed. Yes, the book is written by a York based Methodist minister whom I know, Mark Davies. He and his wife might best be described as renewed-Methodists, who both have a wonderful heart for the church and the lost.
As I started to read I was reminded of a style of book that I read a lot in the 70's and 80's from people like Trevor Dearing and Colin Urquart. It is a book detailing Mark's own journey of renewal and his experience of the Holy Spirit, in parallel with a historical perspective of great moves of revival in the church.
There is a definite expression in the book of desire for renewal to break out in the Methodist church, but it is clear that Mark is supplying a context for all Christians to think again about the Holy Spirit. Mark speaks out of his passion, referring to great revivals of the past and more recent moves of God such as the ministry of John Wimber, Toronto Airport Fellowship and the current move of 24/7 prayer
as described in the book 'Red Moon Rising'.
One of the issues of our day is the desire by some people to just have wonderful worship times with all sorts of manifestations and excitement, Mark is quick to point out the need for a Biblical foundation. On the issue of 'prophecy on demand' – automatically seeking out a prophet when you need to hear from God – Mark advises first to "read your Bible, honour your marriage, work hard, love your neighbour, give generously, think things through."
To the reader who is unsure of these things Mark says "The whole area must not ultimately be judged by our worst ever models of what somebody said or did but by our best ever models of how the prophetic dimension can light up God's ways, his truth and his love." I am sure that no one with an open heart could fail to be encouraged by this book . Mark and Heather are clearly still on their journey and if I have a reservation about the book it is only that there is more to be written yet.
"Our Impassioned Calling" ISBN 1-905363-76-1 is £6.99 from Exposure Publishing and can be purchased here.