A Brief Chapter Summary from Books At a Glance
By Steve West
“The Holy Spirit” (Pages 58-78).
Due to the growth of the charismatic movement, nobody today can say that the Holy Spirit is the forgotten member of the Trinity. People are disillusioned with society and hungry for meaningful experiences. Some in Christian circles have been antitheological. Many in the Reformed camp are not inside the charismatic movement, but many of the Reformed criticisms of it have merit. However, it would be a shame if the Reformed only criticized others, rather than seeking to experience more of the Spirit. Calvin has been called preeminently the theologian of the Holy Spirit, so those in his debt should not ignore this emphasis. The Spirit is necessary for our knowledge of God and union with Christ. He gives new life and the gift of faith. The Reformed heritage is rich with theological reflections on the Spirit, and we must not overlook this reality. Today we need to ensure that we are listening to the Spirit and being faithful to God’s truth. If we are listening to the Spirit we will be focusing on God’s Word.
The vast majority of references to the Spirit in the NT come after the Gospels. When Jesus was on earth there was the promise of the Spirit, but after Christ ascended to heaven the Spirit was given as a present reality. This historical shift and development into fulfillment is very important for understanding Pentecost and the gift of the Spirit. Pentecost is not to be seen as about individual experience or a second-blessing, but about the risen Christ fulfilling his ministry by baptizing with the Spirit. Jesus’ earthly ministry led up to Pentecost, and the outpouring of the Spirit also has eschatological significance. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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ISSUES IN NEW TESTAMENT THEOLOGY: SELECTED ARTICLES ON BIBLICAL AND SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, by Richard B. Gaffin Jr.