The Holy Spirit

terry l. cross introduction

The bane and bog of most evangelical theology for the last century has been the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Within the evangelical movement it has either bogged down in the sinking quagmire of debate or hovered emptily in the stale air of banality.1 To be sure, part of this dilemma is shared by all Christian theology in the West, namely, that the Spirit has been portrayed in Scripture without a face or with non-personal characteristics (such as a dove, wind, fire). The result is that theological consideration of the third article of the creed lacks depth and nuance.2 In some ways, this is fitting since the Holy Spirit points to Jesus Christ (John 15:26) and "will not speak on his own'' but only what he hears (John 16:13; TNIV). The Spirit will glorify Christ because it is from Christ that the Spirit receives whatever he makes known to the disciples (John 16:14). Hence, one prominent scriptural image that we receive concerning the Holy Spirit is this manner of deflecting glory and attention to Jesus the Christ. Such a deferential move may be one reason why Christian theology has added very little to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (ad 381): "And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and life-giver, Who proceeds from the Father and Son, Who is worshipped and glorified together with the Father and Son, Who spoke through the prophets.''3

Introductions such as the paragraph above have become predictable. In 1956, George Hendry noted this problem: "It has become almost a convention that those who undertake to write about the Holy Spirit should begin by deploring the neglect of this doctrine in the thought and life of the Church today.''4 Yet three perspectives of help and hope will be woven throughout this chapter. Whatever a person's response to Pentecostalism, a surge of interest in the Spirit has been spawned by this movement. While Pentecostalism is in its adolescence, so to speak, in writing discursive theology, it does offer some fresh considerations for the Spirit's role in

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