BOOK REVIEW: Primal Fire

Primal Fire: Reigniting the Church with the Five Gifts of Jesus by Neil Cole

primal-fire“I want to be part of an unstoppable Jesus movement in our day–a wildfire of the Spirit that spreads rapidly and uncontrollably and leaves behind people who are transformed into healthy, mature, life-giving followers of King Jesus . . . I believe we are about to witness the eruption of a spiritual wildfire like nothing seen since the First Century . . . I have waited my whole life for this.  I believe it is inevitable and coming soon, and I’m willing to give my life for it.  Are you?”

Primal Fire is a well-written and thorough expose’ of the five core spiritual gifts in the church. Whenever the gifts of apostleship, teaching, pastoring, prophesying, and evangelizing are introduced, the author does a good job not only explaining what each gift encompasses but also what each is not and the dangers they all carry for the gifted.

After reading the first chapter of Primal Fire (a descriptive text on the five core spiritual gifts found in Scripture), I immediately went online and once again took an APEST test to determine my gifting. The answer (just as before when I took a like test) left me confused and slightly bewildered. Later in this review, I’ll explain how this book helped me better discern my own gifting.

The text starts by talking about being created to make a difference in our world and how we have each been entrusted with these gifts that are meant to build up and serve the church body. I love the fact that there is a good emphasis on the church not being a hierarchal institution with elders and deacons and the gifted in special authority or preference. Each gift is important and they all work together serving one another in building up the entire body of Christ.

The APEST test I took after reading Chapter One resulted with a tie between two gifts with another gift in close third place. The author of the text explained that as leaders mature and find themselves in new roles they will often develop other latent or hidden gifts. The results began making more sense to me and yet I continued to wonder about the test, it’s questions, and my gift(s) as a whole. That’s when I read that these gifts should NOT be discovered by tests or surveys or even personal preferences. Our APEST gifting is best discovered through our failing, hard work, God’s calling and verification from others who know us best.

I went through the gifts with my wife who verified my “top three” and my main strength or gifting. We concluded that it was apostleship, closely followed by teaching, and then shepherding. The only question I was left with after reading the book was how personality comes into play with the results and our giftings. My being an introvert probably affects the lower shepherding score despite my intense compassion for other people and their stories of brokeness.

I would highly recommend this book for all church leaders who want to help see each individual reach his or her full potential in building up the church body. Tyndale House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

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