Review of The Spiritual Gifts Handbook: Using Your Gifts to Build the Kingdom by Randy Clark and Mary Healy


Genre: Spiritual Growth/Charismatic Interest


Leading charismatic ministers Randy Clark (Protestant) and Mary Healy (Catholic) co-write this book to reveal the unity of the Spirit and charismatic experiences within these distinct ecumenical traditions. Their shared desire for the activation of the Body of Christ in the Spirit is beautiful, and their unique yet harmonizing perspectives are inspiring and informative.

I expected this might cover the range of spiritual gifts (i.e. the five-fold ministry gifts, motivational gifts, and manifestations of the Spirit). However, the focus is on the manifestations of the Spirit (charisms), primarily from 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and also mentioned in other verses. On these spiritual gifts, this is a solid introduction, beginning with a foundation of the theologies of salvation, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and of the Spirit’s movement in Scripture, and church history, through the most recent spiritual revivals. The historical details were most inspiring to me as it was edifying to hear stories of the Spirit’s manifest power throughout the Church.

The authors also provide focused attention to the manifestation gifts, grouped by the revelation gifts (word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and discernment of spirits), power gifts (faith, healing, miracles), and gifts of speech (prophecy, tongues, and interpretation). Clark and Healy each share engaging stories to illustrate these gifts in practical use, and provide supporting scriptures of similar biblical experiences.

Overall, I was hoping the book would be a bit more thorough with the whole of spiritual gifts, and how they work together–and also that it would provide more depth and practical attention for those already working in the charismatic gifts. However, I also really enjoyed the unique dialog of Protestant and Catholic perspectives and the many personal stories, and would recommend this resource to those beginning to explore the charismatic spiritual gifts, or those looking for encouragement and activation in this area.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Chosen.


Review of Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt


Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: The Silent Years: A Novel of the Maccabees

Not Recommended.

The silent years is one of my favorite parts of history, and this novel is well researched and descriptive, but didn’t come together for me overall. While I enjoyed the historical details, the narrative was slow and felt unfocused. I struggled to finish reading it (although I’m glad I did as the end was much better than if I were to have stopped half way through).

The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Judah Maccabaeus and his (fictitious) wife Leah. Leah’s character is the best developed as she undergoes some interesting shifts, particularly toward the end of the novel. However, Leah’s story and the historic battles felt like competing rather than compatible plot lines. The awkward rhythm of dueling climaxes and resolutions left me disoriented and wanting more cohesiveness between the physical and emotional levels. Meanwhile, Judah lacked the complexity required of his experience. I also wanted a better flow between the light romance of the story (at the beginning) and the seriousness of the grave political climate. Much more could have been developed within this historical setting; but the story came off flat as the emotional plot did not align with the many physical twists and turns. I have enjoyed many of Angela Hunt’s other novels, but did not care for this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book fromĀ Bethany House.