the importance of pneumatology

friday night i had the privilege of going with a friend of mine to hear philip yancey speak in berkeley. it was really great. the man has bad hair, but he has great things to say.

one of the things he said was that it’s very interesting that today the evangelical church is known best for what it’s against, particularly abortion and homosexuality, two issues that existed in Jesus’ time but in much more egregious forms. babies were carried to term but then abandoned by the sides of roads. homosexuality existed primarily between older men and young boys, still illegal in most countries today. and yet, Jesus didn’t say a word about them. interesting. not that they’re not importan issues. just interesting. so the evangelical church spends a lot of energy and resources talking about something Jesus never mentioned.

i grew up in an evangelical tradition that did not emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit. obviously they acknowledged the Spirit’s existence, but didn’t make a big deal of it. there was a big reaction against pentacostalism so that people looked askance at anyone who even raised a hand during worship. there was not a lot of time spend trying to understand the Holy Spirit, which resulted in a weak pneumatology.

is it any wonder, then, that the evangelical church has decided to take on the Holy Spirit’s job?

in john 16 Jesus said, 7Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocatea will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong aboutb sin and righteousness and judgment: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

so, it’s up to us to go and make disciples and up to the Holy Spirit to deal with the world. i’m just saying…

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