Academic Life(style)

WTC Theology: Week 5: The Holy Spirit (@WTCTheology)



“The term pneumatology comes from two Greek words, namely, pneuma meaning “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit” (used of the Holy Spirit) and logos meaning “word,” “matter,” or “thing.” As it is used in Christian systematic theology, “pneumatology” refers to the study of the biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Generally this includes such topics as the personality of the Spirit, the deity of the Spirit, and the work of the Spirit throughout Scripture.”

Pinnock, Clark. Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit.

Understandingthe anointing of the spirit is more central than much theological study makes it. The Spirit was visible in all of Jesus’ life and mission – he was anointed, and a man of the Spirit.

Logos Christology has ‘towered’ over other interpretations, the divine word became flesh.

Spirit Christology – views Christ as an aspect of the Spirit’s mission, rather than the Spirit as part of Christs.

“The Almighty has inserted himself into history and humanity in Jesus – as weak, powerless and dependent on the Spirit – in order to become what we were meant to be, the communion of God and humanity. By the Spirit he has also become through resurrection the first fruits of the new humanity.” (p81)

Jesus coming opened a dfoor for humanity to enter God’s presence – transformed and glorified – unity with God, which is the destiny of creation

The Spirit is not subordinate to the Son, the two are partners in the redemptive process.

Luke, in describing the birth of Jesus, describes the Spirit of God hovering over Mary – reminders of the Spirit brooding over the waters of creation. (Lk 1:35). The Spirit has aways been present/working in the world. Jesus offered the same grace that has always been there, but is being explicitly offered – unambiguously.

Creator Spirit? Brought forth intelligenct creations for communication and fellowship with God – capable of appreciating more dimensions of the sound. The Spirit is working to orient people towards the ‘mystery of divine love’.

(p84) As shown in the story of the prodical son. “Love is not forced on the beloved, who is allowed freedom to make his own choices, even if it means siding with the darkness.” In having ;allowed’ evil, God made salvation available, creating hope, reissuring an invitation to glory. We can see evidence of the Spirit in the Old Testament – rescuing Israel from danger and distress again and again. Jesus in coming to earth made himself as dependent on the Spirit as everyone that he was living with[and us].

Jesus rarely spoke about the Spirit, but demonstrated its reality (rather than developing a doctrine). The conception of Jesus was an act of new creation. There is a fresh start for humanity, restored into communion with God.

Baptism of the Spirit in water … baptism … Noah and Jesus’ anointing – see the spiritual and the physical flowing together. Jesus’ time of temptation – the Spirit led him down the path of suffering, as with us, not “let” to avoid it. Jesus was only able to resist temptation because of his dependency on the Holy Spirit (was not play-acting, or living as a God = fully human) – modelling a lifestuyle of faith and trust for us all. Defining Kenosis: “He emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”.

The Spirit enabled Jesus to live within the limits of human nature – to be ‘truly human’, rather than drawing on divine attributes. The Spirit was clearly with Jesus in his Ministry – providing healting – “a God who wills human wholeness”, setting people frree from entrapment, bringing hope, and liberating relationships. Because the relationship between the Spirit and Jesus is so critical, those who dismiss/discredit it (or see it as Satanic) are judged harshly. Miracles, etc. were not performed to impress, but for salvation of the body and soul – demonstrating the entrance of the Kingdom into the present. Jesus’ activities of liberation were powerful, but a threat to the status quo – leading to the Cross, where Jesus had to rely on the Spirit to get him through, and the Spriit enabled the Resurrection.

Spirit/Logo Christology are complementary, not antiethical. Logos = the Person, Spirit = his work. Neither are subordinate to the other, but reciprocal.

Why did the outpouring of the Spirit/Pentecost wait until Jesus’ death? “End time salvation could not come into play until this mission was completed and this representation had taken place.” Salvation == becoming one person with Christ, dying with him to sin and sharing the promise of his resurrection. Jesus’ death was an act of atonement that includes us (not excludes) rather than replaces us. “Christ became what we are in order that we might become what he is.” It can hard to grasp that Christ came to stand alongside us, as we tend towards individualistic thinking. Others act on our behalf all the time – e.g. govt leaders.

Soteriology is the study of the doctrine of salvation. Soteriology discusses how Christ’s death secures the salvation of those who believe. It helps us to understand the doctrines of redemption, justification, sanctification, propitiation, and the substitutionary atonement.

Theologically – “once we grasp the fact that we are saved by Christ’s life, we may be open to fresh thinking about how we are saved by his death.” (p99). Too much theology focuses on the idea that we are saved byChrist’s DEATH on the Cross, whereas it’s his resurrection that saves us… his power OVER death. Both sin and death are problems for humankind, because death entered the world with sin. The RESURRECTION is not just proof of God’s divinity, but cause for salvation and transformation as we share life with him.

“We were created in the image of God, with a view to growing into the likeness of God”. Lost with Adam, Christ restores this likeness., is our representative on the journey.

(p101) “Humans are open to the future. They make plans and strive to realize goals. But we are mortal, and ultimately the future lies in God’s hands.”

Representation/solidarity – God entered deeply into the human situation to overcome all our alienation. Spirit Christology – centralises resurrection – conceptulise the cross as recapitulation, and give the Spirit back the world of atonement.

Popular view sees Father as Judge and Son as victim, rather than understanding that this was a united action.. the enemy defeated by an act of defenceless love. Jesus did not give himself as an appeasement, but surrendered himself to God on our behalf. C.S. Lewis spoke of Christ as the carrier of good infection – we need to get close enough to catch the virus of new life. Delicate topic = “divine wrath” – but Christ was both victim and victor on the Cross. Strange theologically as grace then appears conditional upon penal satisfaction… but it was the Father who took the initiative in reconciling the world. Jesus was not the solitary victim but representative of the whole of Adam’s race.

Vindictive anger … no … God’s saving action = serving grace. The Cross and resurrection is a trinitatarian event. Doesn’t discount, but wants to raise the question of a judge that loves us and desires our friendship – the two can work together.

Fee, Gordon D. Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God. (Chapter 2 ‘ God Revisits his People.’

[Interesting in a digital age] – presence (what people miss, and what cannot be taken place by any form of media (phone calls, photos, etc) – for shared life, loved ones need to be present. God made us in his own image because he is a personal, relationship being – we have lost our vision of God, and therefore our relationship with God. For Paul – the coming of Christ/the Spirit changed this forever. The Spirit represents both continuity and discontinuity between the old and new covenants. The Bible focuses a lot on Presence – from Genesis to Revelation – The Israelites saw themselves as a people of Presence, among whom God had chosen to dwell on earth. Old Testament = Tabernacle/Temple = where God is seen as most Present. The Fall of Jerusalem – lost the presence of God in their midst. For Paul it was important that this was seen as the Holy Spirit.

If people reject Paul’s call to holy living, they are essentially rejecting the Holy Spirit in the New Testament – as this is where the New Covenant is. .. the Holy Spirit will indwell in individuals – who are the new temple(s)? The gathered/corporate church is God’s temple in the community = incredibly important.

Hellenistic dualism – understanding amongst the Corinthians about the distinctions between physical, material reality and the immaterial, invisible realm – the human spirit not affected by what is happening with the body. God, however, created us in his image – in body as well as spriit. We have been purchased by God, and therefore minds/bodies are not their own to do with as they please. The Spirit filled life is not just contemplation, but the ethical life that the Spirit produces. The Spirit has removed the veil – between us and God, so that we can face the glory of God in full. We are in the image of God in the ‘now but not yet”.

The Spirit is not an impersonal force or influence or power – it is the fulfilment of the promise that God would once again be present with his people. Do we therefore need to downplay the impersonal images of wind & fire, etc and think instead of the Spirit as the personal presence of the eternal God.

Session 5.1: The Spirit in the Gospels

Jesus doesn’t have a God-switch to turn on e.g. miracles – he does his works through the Holy Spirit as he is fully man. Jesus wants us to know that it’s to our advantage to go away… if we wanted to meet him face-to-face we may be able to meet with him once in our lifetime, queing with billions of others – because the Holy Spirit means that He lives in each of us individually.

Session 5.2: The Holy Spirit Given

We will go on to be God’s representatives within the world – looking at various readings from Acts to show how the Holy Spirit of God can be received by all.

Session 5:3: The Spirit’s Love Gifts

Some of the gifts include actual people? (Ephesians) These people are sent to help equip us and train us to represent God. Ministries (1 Cor), Spirit’s graces (Romans). The Holy Spirit characters – love above all (1 Cor) and fruits of the spirit (Galations). If not giving to the poor/information/knowledge, etc. but if it’s not done through love, it’s pointless. Fruits of the Spirit are more than ‘emotions’. The character of Christ imparted to us as we grow – so we can deal with those we don’t like, want to hit, etc. but still deal gently and lovingly with them.

Session 5.4: The Spirit in Luke and Paul

We are given the Holy Spirit at conversation as a gift of the New Covenant, (baptismal) although Pentecostals would note a ‘second blessing’ for those who were already believers. The Holy Spirit as character, but also ‘being filled with’ (is it given, came upon, them, received it, , etc.) .

Session 5.5: The Spirit and Christian Identity

The Nicene Creed – we believe in the Holy Spirit (the triune God). In some churches known as a troublemaker, in heaven he’s known as God. When I’m praying, am I praying as me, or is the Spirit praying – once we can’t tell, that’s a good place to be. Is our flesh in communion with God’s spirit, or in communion with the world? We have each been anointed, and have the teacher within us… relationship not mediated through the Bible, priests, etc (which may help), but within you. 1 John 2 – identifying discernment. There are Christians or false prophets – as all Christians have the prophetic Christian spirit within them.