Author: Sam Hunter
Publisher: High Bridge Books, Houston, Texas, 2019
For those of you that have read Lloyd C. Douglas’s 1948 epic historical novel called The Big Fisherman, this book will bring back memories. However, while Douglas’s book was more novel than history, Sam Hunter’s is more history than novel. In The Missing Link, Hunter takes poetic license in how he delivers scriptural texts—when, who, in what order, etc., but sticks very closely to words uttered by Jesus and the various apostles in the New Testament. With those passages, he takes the opportunity to let his main character, the Apostle Peter, share some personal (Hunter’s) views on key issues facing Christians and the Body of Christ today. I’ll let you discover them for yourself. But as a teaser, let me just ask you, “Where is the Biblical support for (local) church membership?”
The book is indeed an account of a journey or should I say two journeys.
The first and obvious one is Peter’s journey of life with Christ (what he learned and what he did not learn while Jesus was with the Disciples) as well his account of facing life without Christ after His ascension. It was at that time that he tried to understand what Jesus had meant when he uttered the words, “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” This first journey goes on to explain how that happened and what it meant to him, and to other followers of Jesus. Peter, now an old man in the story, provides a description that is historical in nature—all this had already happened.
The second and slightly less obvious, but still very intentional journey, is a portrayal of a potential or future journey—your journey and my journey of having the Holy Spirit live within us and allowing us to exhibit His Power. Some readers may already be on that journey and they will easily identify with what Peter shared about his journey. To others, it may be all brand-new thinking.
In the book’s prologue, again writing as Peter, Hunter makes several keys observations, but his main one (attributed to Pastor Jack R. Taylor) is this: The Holy Spirit “is, in fact, the only God left on earth.” If that doesn’t get you wanting to read the book, nothing will.
Hunter does a masterful job of developing a character that is like so many of us—we want to be in charge of our lives; we think we’re pretty good; we’re often in a hurry; and we get things done. And then he shows us, through “king Peter” that being like that does not work if our desire is to be Holy Spirit filled.
The majority of the book’s background is the account of the New Testament book of Acts which Hunter (through Peter) says we’ve misnamed it ‘the Acts of the Apostles’. Peter says a much better name would be ‘the Acts of the Holy Spirit’ and Hunter shows us why.
The author focuses on Christ’s instruction to His disciples to “wait” and tells us what we are to wait for.
In part two of his book, Hunter describes how seeking and receiving the Holy Spirit is not for the faint of heart. In essence, when the Spirit comes to dwell in you, the Enemy strikes back. In effect, he shows us that we have two choices when that happens. We can either react in fear or respond in faith. With great detail he describes for us what that looks like. This section of the book would not be complete without an account of Jesus’ challenge to Peter and to us—“Who do you say that I am?” With whatever answer we give, Hunter (through Peter) moves us on to a section of handling tribulation, suffering, even ‘flogging’ in Peter’s case and ‘stoning’ in Stephen’s case.
The third and final part of the book is an account of the conversion of the persecutor of Christians (Saul) to being one of the greatest proponents of Christ (the Apostle Paul), and Peter’s relationship with him. It is a fascinating section that gives us an interesting perspective on Paul’s early life after his conversion. The weight of his past acts is, to say the least, a heavy burden for him. Together, Peter and Paul and others learn about each of the Spirit’s Fruits.
And readers won’t want to miss Hunter’s treatise on the difference between ‘aphiemi’ forgiveness and ‘charizomai’ forgiveness. That alone is worth the price of the book.
If you, like many of us, are stuck in your spiritual life, and your relationship with God is not growing, this book will move you to the next step – no matter where you are in your journey. It is easy reading, but full of practical suggestions that could have a great impact.
Highly recommended. Very different from the other (at least 17 by my count) books out there with the identical or basically the same title.
—Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Feb. 1, 2020, www.accordconsulting.com