Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Primal Fire by Neil Cole

            I had heard Neil Cole's name mentioned a few times in reference to church planters and church planting movements, but I had not read any of his writings prior to acquiring a copy of his latest release "Primal Fire". So, I was very interested to read it and learn about him when I was offered a copy for free from thhe book review program for bloggers, available at This book evoked a variety of responses from me. I'll explain what I mean below.
            Neil Cole is the founder of Church Multiplication Associates and is a seasoned church planter, author and leader. Primal Fire is a discussion of the five gifts of Jesus, given to the church, that are found in Ephesians 4:11. At first, when reading, I was not understanding his viewpoints, much of which challenges the traditional Biblical models of church. At that point, I would have rated it 2 out of 5 stars. But, I kept reading...
            After the opening few chapters where we rediscover these gifts of Jesus, he then begins with a 'reinterpretation' of each individual gift - Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. And this is the section where I found myself agreeing with strongly. So I moved my rating up to a 3 out 5 stars. But, I kept reading...
            In the final section of the book, he gives a fresh look at reimagining the gifts in practice. And I found this a good way of combining all of the teachings into a coherent synopsis with vivid illustrations, that allow the reader a different perspective on how these gifts can (and sometimes do) function today.
            This was not a book to bash the church or to say that everything is wrong, though I thought at first that it might be. It is a way to evaluate in the light of scripture whether or not  we see the five ministry gifts being appropriated today as Jesus intended. If you don't believe that all five of these gifts are valid for today, or that the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 are valid for today, then you won't like this book. But if you want to be challenged to think through what you believe and why you believe it, then Primal Fire may open your eyes to a realm of new possibilities. By the time I finished reading, I gave it 4 stars out of 5. And I hope to see more books from Neil Cole in the future.

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