D. A. Carson has a pastor’s heart. In everything that I have read and heard from him, I have seen great evidence of his care and love for God’s people. So when I saw Showing the Spirit at Worship God 09, I made sure to pick it up because it looked amazing.
Carson’s exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 is excellent. He delves deep into the discussion between charismatics and non-charismatics, trying to find some middle ground where we can understand each other and be united in the bonds of peace.
However, it is a very weighty piece. Multiple times through out his writing, Carson goes into the Greek to discover what was truly being said by Paul in this section of Scripture. His knowledge is shown well in the first four chapters which deal primarily with the exposition of the text, and his heart comes out the most in the last chapter which deals well with the practical application of counseling through debates and what the real issue is.
However dry it may be at times, this book is worth it just for Carson’s explanation of the body (1 Corinthians 12) in chapter one. His constant emphasis is that the body of Christ, in order to be healthy, requires every member. Put another way, if you are a believer, you are a member of the Church, and we are called to look past petty differences. He also confirms why love is vital in the Church and seeks to lead people to understand what love is according to God’s Gospel.
In the last chapter, Carson gives the call to unity and discipleship. He says:
In short, the church must hunger for personal and corporate submission to the lordship of Christ.
Such is our mission and goal. Christ is Lord, and we must submit to him (and thus show great brotherly love and affection) in order to effectively build His kingdom. Without Christ and His Church, the gifts of the Spirit have no purpose.