Archives For Holy Spirit


Who is the Holy Spirit?
A Brief Review of

Here In Spirit:
Knowing the Spirit Who Creates, Sustains, and Transforms Everything
Jonathan Dodson

Paperback: IVP Books, 2018
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Reviewed by Alisa Williams
In this brief book, author Jonathan K. Dodson invites the reader to discover who the Holy Spirit is and to come to know Him better. “The most meaningful, creative, satisfying life possible is one lived here in Spirit,” writes Dodson in the introduction (5).

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“God Does Not Leave Us Comfortless.”
A Feature Review of 

Open to the Spirit :
God in Us, God with Us, God Transforming Us
Scot McKnight

Paperback: Waterbrook, 2018
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Reviewed by Julie Sumner

            Let it come, as it will, and don’t
            be afraid. God does not leave us
            comfortless, so let evening come.

                                    -Jane Kenyon

In Kenyon’s poem, “Let Evening Come,” she touches on a belief deeply held by Christians from all streams of the church: that God does not leave us without comfort. In each church that I have been a part of, whether Southern Baptist, Reformed Presbyterian, Episcopal, or non-denominational, that comfort is seen as a characteristic of the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. And yet despite this belief, as widely held as it is in the church, there is a pittance of instruction given about how to engage this comfort, this power, this person, that is otherwise so deeply affirmed by so many.

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Who is the Holy Spirit?
A Review of

Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in Creation, Redemption, and Everyday Life
Michael Horton

Hardback: Zondervan, 2017
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
Reviewed by Alicia Brummleler
Recently, while discussing the final paper for her senior Faith and Culture class, my daughter posed a question that I think many Christians have wondered at different points. Mom, what is the role of the Holy Spirit?

Often, there is an ease and comfort with which we discuss the role and attributes of the Father and the Son. But when we mention the Holy Spirit, we find ourselves, well, pausing and perhaps struggling to find the right words to describe who he is. As Michael Horton, the author of Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in the Creation, Redemption, and Everyday Life (Zondervan, 2017) aptly acknowledges, “Who exactly is the mysterious third person of the Trinity? Why does he seem to posses less reality or at least fewer descriptive features than the Father and the Son?” (13).

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

The Hollow Men: A Novel

Rob McCarthy


 Read the starred review from Publishers Weekly



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Inspiring to Your Imagination
A Review of 

The Face of the Deep:
Exploring the Mysterious Person of the Holy Spirit

Paul Pastor

Paperback:  David C. Cook, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Rebecca Johnston
In this debut book from author Paul Pastor, the author sets out to explore the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Paul Pastor is an editor pastor, and professor. He lives in Oregon and throughout the book it becomes obvious that he loves his home state and his life, adventures, and home provide stories that frame the backdrop of this narrative on the Holy Spirit.  For a debut, Pastor has made an admirable step into a deep and complex topic. His insights are often profound and thought provoking and he is willing to wrestle with difficult theological and faith principles. Throughout the book there is a tension between finding a distinct answer within The Face of the Deep and allowing the conceptions of the Holy Spirit to remain mysterious and reverent.

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One of this week’s best new book releases
is Paul Pastor’s excellent book:

The Face of the Deep:
Exploring the Mysterious Person of the Holy Spirit

Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]

Here are two helpful videos that Paul made to introduce the book:


Video #1:  Do We Forget the Holy Spirit?

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Today is the Feast Day (in the Eastern tradition of the Church) for Gregory of Nazianzus, who died on this date in 390.

Gregory of Nazianzus ( c. 329 – 25 January 390), also known as Gregory the Theologian or Gregory Nazianzen, was a 4th-century Archbishop of Constantinople, and theologician. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age. As a classically trained orator and philosopher he infused Hellenism into the early church, establishing the paradigm of Byzantine theologians and church officials.

Gregory made a significant impact on the shape of Trinitarian theology among both Greek- and Latin-speaking theologians, and he is remembered as the “Trinitarian Theologian”. Much of his theological work continues to influence modern theologians, especially in regard to the relationship among the three Persons of the Trinity. Along with the brothers Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, he is known as one of the Cappadocian Fathers.

Gregory is a saint in both Eastern and Western Christianity. In the Roman Catholic Church he is numbered among the Doctors of the Church; in Eastern Orthodoxy and the Eastern Catholic Churches he is revered as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs, along with Basil the Great and John Chrysostom.

He is also one of only three men in the life of the Orthodox Church who have been officially designated “Theologian” by epithet,the other two being St. John the Theologian (the Evangelist), and St. Symeon the New Theologian. (via Wikipedia)

[ Read a brief biography from The Catholic Encyclopedia ]

As Gregory’s greatest contribution to theology was likely his work on the Holy Spirit, we are pleased to offer here, his Oration on the Holy Spirit.

The Fifth Theological Oration
On the Holy Spirit

Gregory of Nazianzus

Parts I – V

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“Knowing Him Comes Gradually”

A review of
Giver of Life:
The Holy Spirit in Orthodox Tradition

Fr. John W. Oliver.
Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Josh Wallace.

I often find myself in the last scenes of John’s Gospel. First I am with Jesus’ followers in the upper room, bewildered by the ordeal of Jesus’s crucifixion, hearts harboring the faintest hopes of a rumored resurrection. Suddenly, though the doors are bolted shut, Jesus stands among us, raising wounded hands to bless us. And though the doors are bolted shut, he sends us out with the same purposes for which his Father sent him.

Next, Jesus breathes on us the Spirit, to comfort and encourage, to authorize and to empower. “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit, the ongoing presence of Immanuel, God with us, our share in Christ’s baptismal anointing, the love of Christ which compels us to unlock our doors and go out as ambassadors of reconciliation. Jesus’ has given us his Spirit.

Then I read chapter 21: Peter says, “Let’s go fishing.” Commentaries on this passage tell me that the apostles (for Jesus has indeed sent them) needed time to understand the full significance of their commission. Apparently. Only after Jesus shows up on the beach, after he shares breakfast with his friends, after he pulls Peter aside for a private conversation do we begin to realize with Peter the Spirit’s work: Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me” (John 21:19).

Two thousand years later, I am still with Peter on the beach, slowly coming to realize who this Spirit is, his intimate participation in the life of God, the life of Christ. Father John Oliver in Giver of Life: the Holy Spirit in Orthodox Tradition leads his readers in a similar patient, gradual unveiling of the Spirit’s significance. Continue Reading…


A review of

Creator Spirit:
The Holy Spirit and the Art of Becoming Human.

Steven R. Guthrie.
Paperback: Baker Academic, 2011.
Buy Now:
[ Amazon – Paperback ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

Review by Sarah Winfrey.

While working on my novel the other day, I had an unusual experience. My characters were talking along, when one of them said something profound. It wasn’t the profundity of her words that surprised me, but rather the fact that what she said wasn’t something I knew, or at least wasn’t something I could have articulated before she said it. In fact, her words seemed to come from someplace other than myself, somewhere outside of me.

Artists and other creative people, as well as those who enjoy their works, have long touted the close relationship between spirituality and creative endeavors. This is especially true among Christians, who like to talk about creativity coming directly from the Holy Spirit, as one of His many gifts. According to these people, what happened with my character wasn’t as unusual as it felt in that moment, but is actually commonplace among those who spend much time practicing art.

In Creator Spirit, Steven R. Guthrie attempts to examine these creative experiences, not necessarily to illuminate the creative process, though some of that happens along the way, but to see what we can learn about the Spirit through these experiences.

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231361: Holy Spirit and Salvation: The Sources of Christian Theology

A Brief Review of

Holy Spirit and Salvation:
The Sources of Christian Theology

By Veli-Matti Karkkainen
Paperback: Westminster John Knox Pres, 2010.

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Reviewed by Chase Roden.

Holy Spirit and Salvation is the second book in the “Sources of Christian Theology” series published by Westminster John Knox Press. The series provides a curated overview of the primary sources for Christian thought and theology on the topic at hand, edited by an expert in the field. In effect, this book is a collection of extended quotes from influential and important works on the Holy Spirit, with each quote concisely introduced and placed in context by Fuller Theological Seminary professor of systematic theology Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen.

Holy Spirit is an excellent resource for students of theology and a reference for those who are already very familiar with the topic. Kärkkäinen’s selections are thoughtful; the reader will encounter not just the expected names, but also many lesser-known figures whose writings have been vital. Useful not just as an overview of thought on theologies of the Holy Spirit, it also introduces readers to a selection of secondary literature. Despite the necessarily abbreviated nature of Kärkkäinen’s source quotes, the editor does not shy away from sources which discuss the Holy Spirit metaphorically or poetically. These quotes are appropriately introduced, and their inclusion enriches the collection greatly.

The book is divided into two major sections — one each on historical and contemporary thought — and in both the author attempts to avoid an overemphasis on the Western church or the first world. Specifically, there is a subsection on the “global south” which surveys major trends in African, Asian, and Latin American pneumatologies, along with chapters on feminist theologies, use of the Holy Spirit in environmentalist thought, and a more general chapter on “the Spirit in the sociopolitical arena.”

Those with Anabaptist or Radical Reformation interests will find the movement is covered somewhat minimally. The historical section quotes only Thomas Müntzer and Menno Simons. Kärkkäinen disclaims his selections by noting that the two figures are both “representative examples” and that “their writings are … easily available in English.” One wonders if this is a helpful note for the English-speaking reader, or an admission of unfamiliarity with Radical Reformation sources. The contemporary section’s discussion of Anabaptist pneumatology uses Thomas Finger’s Contemporary Anabaptist Theology, in addition to official documents from the Mennonite General Assembly. Using Finger is natural here, since his recent work is the most comprehensive of its kind, but the particular selection is unusual — Kärkkäinen quotes Finger’s suggestion that that the Orthodox concept of theosis could be integrated into Anabaptist charismatic theology. In a more thorough treatment of Anabaptist thought this would be unquestionably useful, but since so little space is devoted to the topic here, it seems unusual to choose the most controversial and synthetic part of Finger’s work.

Other than quibbles about selections — and no book of this nature will please every reader — the only other notable flaw is that the index is not as useful as it could be, including only references to individuals quoted but not to topics or quotes from institutional documents. The book is well-organized, however, alleviating this problem somewhat. Overall, Holy Spirit will be well-used in seminary classrooms and serves as an excellent reference on its topic.