Book Review: There Is More by Randy Clark
The following review is based on a free copy of the book, There Is More by Randy Clark that I received from Chosen Books, a division of Baker Books in exchange for a book review.
The subtitle of this book is, “The secret to experience God’s power to change your life.” I must admit that I am always a bit leery when I read a title such as this and I will admit that I am a bit reluctant to read a book that seems to suggest that there is more to what we already have in Christ.
That said, let me give a brief review of this book. First I will give the positives and then the negatives.
I appreciated Clark’s honesty. He shares story after story about his own move from being a Baptist pastor to being a full-blown charismatic evangelist who focuses in healing, signs and wonders. He speaks honestly of his struggles with this move. It was not an easy move for him.
I also appreciated the focus on the Holy Spirit and not upon the works of the flesh. Clark is quick to make sure his readers understand that all power comes from God. This power is not found in ourselves or in our wisdom but in the Lord God. He makes his basis Acts 1:8.
I appreciated Clark’s emphasis upon the reality that God is with us. He is not far from us (John 1:14). As Psalm 46:1 says that God is our very present help in trouble (ESV). Clark shows us that God is not distant and He does care for us. He longs to be with His children.
I appreciated Clark’s emphasis on prayer. Oh how we need to pray! Jesus taught His own disciples to pray (Luke 11:1) and we should seek God earnestly not for things but for who He is (Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:14-15). Prayer is not a religious ritual for the true child of God but is a living relationship with God (Matthew 6:5-8).
I appreciated the desire of Clark to see the people of God hungry for God. We should long for God (Psalm 42:1). We should desire to see Him glorified in all that we say or do (Colossians 3:17). Our passion should be to exalt Him as Lord (Philippians 1:20-21).
Let me say that no book, apart from the Bible, is perfect. All authors are tainted by sin and by their own views which may or may not be inline with Scripture. This is why we must judge all things by the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). We should not blindly accept teaching just because we believe the person to be a child of God. We should pray for discernment (Proverbs 2:3 NASB) and allow the Lord to teach us from His Word so that we can know whether something is biblical or not (Hebrews 5:11-14). Experience is not useful to determine truth since experience is always subjective in nature (Matthew 7:21-23). Truth must be based on the final, ultimate truth of God’s inerrant and infallible Word (John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). So, my negatives are to be tested in light of Scripture as Clark’s book should be as well. I am not the final authority but God’s Word is.
Experience and Truth. Several times in the book Clark mulls the water by making experience the basis for truth. At least twice he does this outright. First, Clark states that his first major involvement with the “laughter movement” came when he went to see Rodney Howard Browne at Rhema Bible Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Rhema is Kenneth Hagin’s church and Clark admits that he had major doctrinal issues with Hagin but while there, he says, the Holy Spirit rebuked him for his doctrinal differences and rebuked his pride. He humbled himself and was touched by God. Frankly, I find this hard to believe that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth (John 15:26), would lead Clark to a heretical church for a subjective experience and rebuke Clark for holding to firm doctrine when the Spirit has said to do this (Titus 2:1). The other time that Clark mentions subjective experience over the Scriptures is when he writes of the charismatic renewal in the Roman Catholic Church. Clark should have rebuked the RCC for denying the biblical doctrines of salvation including justification by faith alone but instead he accepts them based on their common charismatic experience.
Clark spends too much time telling stories of subjective experiences instead of teaching what the Bible says about the person and work of the Holy Spirit. This book is supposed to be about God and about the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives but most of it is based on experiences from Clark or others but little is based on teaching from the Word of God.
Finally, the topic of impartation. Frankly, these words have more in common with witchcraft than with biblical Christianity. The words never appear in the Bible. You’ll find nothing to suggest the teaching other than isolated events such as Elisha and Elijah. While the Apostles did lay hands on people for the receiving of the Spirit (Acts 8:17) or for healing, we find Paul writing that Timothy should not be hasty to lay hands on others (1 Timothy 5:22). Why would Paul say this if he believed like Clark? The charismatic teaching of impartation seems to flow from witch doctors and Voodoo instead of the Bible. It is a practice not seen in the teaching of the New Testament nor does any of the NT letters exhort the disciples of Christ to find an Apostle or some other saint of God and ask them to lay hands on them and pray for them to be anointed. This is merely a creation of bizarre charismatic teachings.
In closing, I would not recommend this book. There are much better books on the work of the Holy Spirit such as by Dr. Anthony Palma or by Dr. Stanley Horton. This book focuses way too much on personal experience and not enough on biblical truth.