"ROD OF THE SPIRIT" Book Review by Dr. Tommy Davis
“Rod of the Spirit” is an excellent book that brings into perspective the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Danny Lovett, current president of Tennessee Temple University, steps onto pathways rarely undertaken by Baptists, and balances issues relative to the Holy Spirit taken to the extreme by charismatics. This book has encouragingly impacted my life and provided confirmation in respect to some things I already knew. “Rod of the Spirit” provides occasion to have a powerful ministry that glorifies Christ while at the same time acknowledging other roles the Holy Spirit undertakes in the believer’s life. I have read this book and desire to highlight some points of interest.
- The Bible often uses the rod as an emblem or symbol of authority which included protection, correction, and direction. Thus, we are saved from the penalty of sin. We are being delivered from the presence of sin; and we are being saved from the presence of sin. The rod is of very little use without the authority that exists behind it. On page 64, Dr. Lovett asks the question about the possibility of having every institutionally required credential without the necessary spiritual component which is the anointing of God.
- The believer has power because the Holy Spirit comes upon us as an equipping power to carry out the tasks we are commissioned to do (Acts 2). In the Old Testament, the rod demonstrated authority and was the object included in the performance of miracles. “Rod of the Spirit” indicates that a striking parallel can be drawn between the use of the rod in Old Testament times and the work of the Holy Spirit today (p. 39).
- The Holy Spirit exalts Christ. Jesus said, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26). “Rod of the Spirit” brings into perspective one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit. The Third Person of the Trinity does not bring attention to Himself. He simply magnifies the Christ and the full counsel of God (John 12:32). Those who are claiming to “hear” from the Spirit and are mistaken about Christ are not hearing from the Holy Spirit.
- Contemporary Christianity in America has taken on a style in worship and in ministry quite the contrast to the historical Christian tradition as reflected in the Scripture. On page 16, Dr. Lovett wrote, “I believe that if God chose today to entirely remove the presence of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, that ninety percent of all churches would continue to function as though nothing happened. Most Christians would continue with business as usual.” This presumptive observation I would have to confirm. Many in the visible church count on the Lord to impart the Holy Spirit for salvation, but do not count on Him for power.
- Dr. Lovett charged Christians to admit that they have done an injustice to the personal work of the Holy Spirit. We have refused the Third Person of the Trinity rightful place in our ministries and our personal lives. On page 102, “Rod of the Spirit” pinpoints that the Spirit of God does not come upon us with power to accomplish certain tasks and depart as He did in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit makes His abode within the believer on a permanent basis. Either the believer has the Holy Spirit, or he doesn’t.
- Our contemporary worship services have become a program without the presence of the Holy Spirit. We focus on the houses of worship more than the Person of the worship. As Dr. Lovett wrote: “It is not where we worship that counts but how we worship” (p. 16). On page 124, Dr. Lovett explains: “…there are services where, in the name of freedom of worship, there are eruptive and emotional outbursts that are merely carnal demonstrations of the flesh.”
CONCLUSION: “Rod of the Spirit” takes aim at those who deny the important work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian. It is possible to live lives worthy of our calling. It is not beyond reach to preach the Word of God in power and authority. Just as God used the rod to symbolize His power, so He demonstrates His power through the believer as we live lives of victory over sin. The Holy Spirit corrects us and guides us into all truth. “Rod of the Spirit” provides a striking balance where some have resulted to the extreme regarding the work of the Spirit in matters of function; and where others delegate His function to that of salvation without emphasis relative to the work of the ministry.