Franklin Camp’s Book on the Holy Spirit: Reviewed by James R. Cope

By James R. Cope

Six hours of daily Bible study for 36 years is the background of The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption, 274 pages, cloth bound, by Franklin Camp. This production. lays the axe to the root of every aspect of “Pentecostalism” inside and. outside the church. Unlike many writers, the author ignores no difficult passages. For example, he devotes a full chapter of 43 pages to the Eighth Chapter of Romans. The basic thesis of this work is that Joel 2:28-32 is the background of every New Testament reference to the Holy Spirit from Acts 2 forward and inferentially includes every statement Jesus made about the Holy Spirit in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and is, therefore, “the key to understanding the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.”

The author points out that revelation, inspiration, and confirmation always go together. He declares that the Holy Spirit miraculously revealed God’s mind to man, guaranteeing the purity of the truth, and then miraculously confirmed the revelation lest it be “impossible to distinguish between a genuine revelation and a counterfeit one.” Since revelation is completed and confirmed by the Holy Spirit, there is nothing which the Holy Spirit now reveals or does apart from or in addition to the written Word. Camp unequivocally denies that saint or sinner receives the Holy Spirit miraculously or non-miraculously or that the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian miraculously or non-miraculously.

The following expresses the author’s sentiment very clearly:

“In the study of the Holy Spirit and His work, it is vital to remember that at one time there was no written revelation. The Spirit revealed the Word directly to the apostles and others that had received miraculous gifts. It is easy for one to read passages that belong to this period of time and equate these passages with the time after revelation had been completely revealed and confirmed. This is obviously a fatal mistake because now we have a complete, written revelation. It is difficult for us to think in terms of a time when there was no written revelation. When passages that have to do with this preceding period are confused with the time afterwards when revelation was completed, it results in a complete misunderstanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion and sanctification . . . . It is absolutely necessary to keep clearly in mind passages and their contexts which have to do with the miraculous while revelation was being given, and not apply them to present-day when we have a written revelation …. We have no problems generally in leaving miracles in the apostolic age. Since the reception of the Spirit and the miraculous belong together, why not leave the reception of the Spirit in the apostolic age with miracles? Someone may ask, But what do we receive today?

We receive the gospel, the teaching of the Spirit. Is the gospel complete? If so, what could the Spirit supply today apart from the gospel? If the Spirit supplies something apart from the gospel, then it must be evident that the” gospel is not complete. If the gospel is complete, and the Spirit does not furnish anything apart from the gospel, would not the reception of the Spirit be a useless reception? It seems to me that our problem has come from the attempt to make a distinction where there is none in the New Testament. We can leave the miracles in the apostolic age where they e ong, but then we attempt to make a distinction between the miraculous and the non-miraculous reception of the Spirit. This is a distinction that the New Testament does not make. This is the source of the confusion.”

The author points out that every reference to the Holy Spirit in Acts, yea, in the entire New Testament, specifically states or infers the miraculous. Convincingly he argues that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 2:38 was miraculous just as miraculous as was “the gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 10:45. He distinguishes between “the gift of the Holy Spirit” and “baptism” in the Holy Spirit but believes both terms express supernatural power. He denies, therefore, that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” was immediate upon baptism for remission of sins and was in every instance except upon the apostles (Acts 2) and the house of Cornelius (Acts 10,11) imparted by the laying on of an apostle’s hands (Acts 8:17; 19:6). Camp takes the position that the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. is not only proof of the New Testament’s inspiration and God’s final witness to the divinity of Jesus but that this event also marks the cessation of miracles and the end of the “age” (world) of Matthew 28:20. He further argues from the Book of Revelation and other scriptures that Revelation was written prior to the fall of Jerusalem.

Time and again the reader finds himself asking, “But what is Camp’s answer to ‘this or that question?@ only to find as he reads on that the author overlooks few, if any, objections which have been or may be filed against his position.

One may not agree with all of Franklin Camp’s conclusions, but he who reads his book on the Holy Spirit will have a stimulating mental exercise and a refreshing spiritual experience. I consider it the outstanding book on the subject ever to come to my attention. Maybe I like it because the author says many things I have believed for many years. If, however, I disagreed with most of it, I would still say that it is the most thought-provoking work on the Holy Spirit that I have seen. I believe that any person who wants a simple detailed analysis of many difficult-to-be-understood scriptures can profit greatly from a careful study of this work. I predict for it a wide distribution. Order from Truth Magazine Bookstore, Box 403, Marion, Indiana 46952. Price: $6.95.

Truth Magazine, XVIII:39, p. 2
August 8, 1974