"Tongues Of Fire" is a refreshingly bold approach to the study of the Holy Spirit. Stroman explores in depth the various manifestations of the Holy Spirit from that "wild, weird day" of Pentecost to the characteristics of the Spirit's activity today. He maintains that what has followed from that New Testament experience of the Holy Spirit has been a well-disciplined maturity by the church through the ages in which the embarrassing earlier irregularities no longer appear. In that process, he says, the present church has lost something. The spontaneity of the Spirit has been replaced by the accommodations we have sought to make between the Christian life and middle class cultural values. Comparing the strength and vigor of the early church with the confused and sometimes feeble performance of the divided church today, he acknowledges that the early church was open "on the Godward side of life" that is unknown to Christians today.
Stroman examines the patterns that came out of the experience of Pentecost and discovers what meaning they have today. He finds that it is not a question of the Holy Spirit's activity in our midst, but our awareness of where that activity is taking place.
Toward the end of the book is a chapter on the Trinity. After all, a book on new life in the Spirit must deal with the Trinity. Christian theology begins, continues, and ends with the inexhaustible mystery of God. It helps deal with this mystery and is basic to understanding the Christian experience.
John A. Stroman is senior pastor of Pasadena Community Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. His work has appeared in "The Christian Century," "Expository Times," and "Circuit Rider." His books include "Thunder From The Mountain: The Ten Commandments Today "and "Bread For The Journey." He holds a master of divinity from Crozer Theological Seminary and a doctor of theology from Boston University School of Theology.