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As the renowned scholar Thomas Oden noted, “No subject of Christian teaching is more prone to fanaticism and novelty and subjectivism than that of the Holy Spirit.” The Bible’s own metaphors for the Spirit are as elusive as they are evocative―wind, oil, flame, water, dove―making pneumatology a mysterious study. But shying away from the topic is no solution.
Gordon Smith encourages us to seek both fresh understanding and fresh experience of the Spirit through openness to learning more, no matter what our theological tradition. In this way, as we hold biblical convictions firmly but gracefully, the guiding principles of discernment and humility will help us intentionally live Spirit-responsive lives day by day.
Welcome, Holy Spirit is a much-needed master class with a trustworthy and encouraging teacher. How can we cultivate an understanding of the Holy Spirit that helps us experience the presence of the Spirit in worship, in witness, in joy and sorrow, in seasons of blessing and times of difficulty alike, all the while honoring the fullness of the Trinity? That is the objective of the reflections in this book: an attentiveness to the Spirit, not to replace Christ as the focus of our lives and worship but to bring us truly into the presence of the living and ascended Lord.
It is to this end that we pray, “Welcome, Holy Spirit.”
In the early church, miraculous workings of the Holy Spirit were normal and normative. Today an ever-increasing number of Christians worldwide self-identify as Pentecostal or charismatic. William A. Simmons argues that this means the church needs a Spirit-centered interpretation of Scripture informed by a Pentecostal lens.
In The Holy Spirit in the New Testament, Simmons provides an accessible New Testament introduction that discusses themes and passages of particular interest to Pentecostal readers. Each chapter explores the presence of the Spirit in a biblical book, then offers devotional applications to help readers respond to the text. In Matthew, for example, we discover that there is no Messianic era apart from the Spirit. For Paul in Romans, the Holy Spirit is the authenticating power and emotive heart of God. And Revelation is permeated with the illuminating voice of the Spirit from beginning to end.
A Spirit-centered reading breaks down divisions between reason and spirit, mind and emotion. This book opens a dialogue between the academy and the church, demonstrating how sound exegesis speaks to Spirit-filled Christians. In the world and writings of the New Testament authors, we continue to encounter the revelatory presence of God.