Free «The Holy Spirit» Essay

The Holy Spirit

The Purpose Statement: The main purpose for critiquing the journal article The Holy Spirit by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. is to understand and analyze the author’s theological perspective regarding the work of the Holy Spirit. 

Article overview: In his article Gaffin brings out the significant development and growth in the work of the Holy Spirit within Systematic Theology over the past 20 years. He notes that it was initially regarded as “forgotten member of the trinity.” The author, Gaffin, points out that much has developed within the Systematic Theology since the Christological period of contemporary theology to pneumatological period of intense demand to test the work of the Holy Spirit. He then reexamines the impact of the major contributors to the exposition of the work of Holy Spirit within the Systematic Theology.

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Brief Summary

Article Thesis: Gaffin’s article focuses on the assumption that the work of Holy Spirit can solve the growing disillusionment in the society, and the emergence of West irrationalism in Eastern religions and thus satisfy human needs and aspiration.

Article Summary: Gaffin calls for clear reassessment of charismatic movements in the pneumatological period in the field of Systematic Theology for a better understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit. He explains that what Warfield, Calvin, and Augustine among others take as distinctive theological contribution on the work of the Holy Spirit is rather predestination of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in theological science. This has seen the doctrine of churches being emulated from the theological contribution of Calvin and others. Therefore what is critical is to restructure the Systematic Theology in addressing the unwitting quest, expectation, and contribution of the work of Holy Spirit.

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Critical Interaction

Critical Points: Gaffin notes that the need to restructure Systematic Theology was attributed by the growing demand to eliminate the anti-theological biasness that had marked the doctrine of churches thereby undermining the work of the Holy Spirit. According to him, charismatic movement has since redressed this doctrinal neglect on the work of the Holy Spirit from the dominance of Karl Barth in Christological period to the pneumatological time. This has been made possible through the doctrine of isolation that has not only challenged church life and experience, but rather instilled congregation with unwitting quench, expectation, and contribution towards the work of the Holy Spirit.

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Gaffin’s assertion that the practice of Systematic Theology has been a regular part of reformed Christians’ spiritual diet seems to be anchored by Gritters. According to him, reformed Christians, especially from Dutch extraction, have continued to enrich their spiritual experience through regular administering of Heidelberg Catechism preaching. Similarly, Grudem notes that this concept has not constructively helped people in understanding the work of Holy Spirit.Therefore, Gaffin’s intention is to restructure this reformed tradition in order to illustrate the work of the Holy Spirit.

The strength of his arguments tends to form the flow of Biblical Theology to Systematic Theology. For instance, Gaffin points out that the relationship between Pentecost, Christian, and the work of Jesus Christ as indicated in the New Testament denotes the Holy Spirit as an accomplisher of the prophecy of redemption. However, he does not discuss how the reversed theological flow can secure and communicate the gift of Holy Spirit to their congregation. Hence, only reverent individual’s intellectual on Systematic Theology can support the work of the Holy Spirit.

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Summary: Gaffin has effectively expressed his overall interest of restructuring reformed church tradition through his goal of reassigning the contribution of contemporary movements in Systematic Theology. His impeccably cross-cutting references on the scholarly articles of key theologians such as Warfield, Calvin, and Augustine has enabled him to successfully demonstrate that Systematic Theology has undermined the work of the holy spirit.

Unanswered Questions: Gaffin’s article leaves one asking certain underlying question pertaining to the significance of restructuring Systematic Theology. That is whether reconstructing Systematic Theology would ultimately make the Holy Spirit to benefit Christian life and whether it will harbor the mission of churches to serve the Lord.

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