Dr. James Goll of Franklin, Tennessee is president of Encounters Network, an international outreach ministry. He has written 35 books, including his latest, Releasing Spiritual Gifts Today, which is the topic of this column.
The book is published by Whitaker House publishers and is in the Christianity/Pentecostal & Charismatic categories. I like how his book is readable. While it covers deep theological matters, it is approachable for the average reader; one does not have to be a seminary student.
(PODCAST LINK. LISTEN TO JAMES GOLL TALK ABOUT SPIRITUAL GIFTS: http://www.spreaker.com/user/followersofthecross/work-with-the-holy-spirit)
The word “today” in the title Releasing Spiritual Gifts Today is important, Goll told me during an interview in June at the International Christian Retail Show.
Goll said he first wrote the book and called it Releasing Spiritual Gifts. However, “It seemed flat.” He prayed and the word “‘today’ was just alive in me. And I go, ‘Oh my goodness. I have to rewrite this book.’ So in a three-day period I go through and I rewrote the book. And I brought in a lot more storyline, and I updated it with a ‘now tense’ which makes it more enjoyable reading as well as scripturally grounded.”
Addressing spiritual gifts, Goll said, “I don’t believe spiritual gifts are limited to an elite group.”
Galatians talks about such gifts as love, peace, patience and self control. If those are available to every believer, and Goll believes they are, then why aren’t the gifts of the Holy Spirit available to every Christian? They are, he said.
“The Holy Spirit Himself, He is a gift of the Father and the Son.” Jesus said He would leave but send a helper. That helper is the Holy Spirit.
Goll said he tries to weave together certain strands of truth every time he speaks or writes. First, it is biblically grounded. Releasing Spiritual Gifts Today has over 200 scriptural references.
Second is precedence in Jewish and church history. He will give examples of a particular gift of the Holy Spirit as modeled in the life of Charles Spurgeon, for example. He also gives examples of people who are using the Holy Spirit’s gifts today.
Goll said another point to consider with gifts is that you do not only receive them, but you should release them, or share them.
“A lot of people receive, but they leave their hands in their pockets. Jesus said you shall lay hands upon the sick” to heal.
“As you sow you reap.” In other words, your gifts will be multiplied, he said, if you use the gifts you already have. “The more you give of what God has given to you there will be a multiplication.”
In one chapter he lists out every single gift of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Bible. His book talks about how people elevate some gifts above others. However, having one particular gift does not make a person a “super Christian.” Being faithful to your gift brings increase.
Goll said he also encourages people not to place their identifies in their gifts, which can change over time, but to place their identity in Christ alone.
There is much more in the book, but I willl not give it all away. For more information on Goll, go to jamesgoll.com or encountersnetwork.com. The book is available on Amazon or from Whitaker House at http://whitakerhouse.com/DeskTop.aspx?page=ProductInfo&item=537400.