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Amos Yong’s Who is the Holy Spirit?

From the Fall 2013 issue of Pneuma Review.

Amos Yong, Who is the Holy Spirit? A Walk with the Apostles, a Paraclete Guide (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2011), 215 pages, ISBN 9781557256355.

Amos Yong has written a fresh and comprehensive guide concerning the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. This work has profound implications for contemporary audiences regarding the topic of the Spirit in the Acts narrative. Who is the Holy Spirit will resonate with anyone wishing to discern the winds of the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.

This book is divided into eight parts and thirty-nine chapters. The first part illuminates the ramifications of the Spirit’s outpouring, as well as the kingdom promise and the Spirit’s outpouring. This is followed by an overview of the economy of salvation, including the gifts, fellowship, mission, politics, and charismatic dimensions of the Spirit (part two). Part three underscores the economics of the Spirit in Judea, and part four examines the theological work of the Spirit in light of the story of the people of Israel. The fifth part addresses the movement of the Spirit into Samaria and the highways of Palestine. Part six enumerates the relationship between the Spirit and the Gentiles. Part seven, the prophetic and political overtures of the Kingdom-empire, in addition to the relationship of the Spirit to the world. The final part explores the witness, resurrection, nature, and sacramental dimensions of the Spirit.

According to Yong, the empowering witness of the Spirit outlines how to live faithfully in a pluralistic world. Whether government, society, or the global economy, the demands on our lives will consume us if we are not equipped with the power of Spirit. As Yong proposes, following Zaccheus, our response might also extend “the new economy of salvation so as to reconcile people, opposing and correcting the unjust structures of our world” (p 28). Yet as he explains, there is fellowship, warmth, and healing in the Spirit. This indeed is a sign of the messianic promise and “the redemption, reconciliation, and release long associated with the year of the Lord’s favor” (p 44). Whither the economics of the Spirit? If we fully embrace the Spirit’s power, and overcome our self-centeredness, then we will have the full embodiment of the Holy Spirit upon our lives. Above all, the Spirit filled life in the Acts narrative is about spiritual formation, or perhaps even better, transformation. There is resurrection power in the Spirit and in the Spirit the ability to traverse foes and powers of darkness.

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Category: Fall 2013, Spirit

About the Author: Paul J. Palma, PhD, is a professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministry at Regent University and a credentialed minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He is the author of Italian American Pentecostalism and the Struggle for Religious Identity (Routledge Studies in Religion series), Embracing Our Roots: Rediscovering the Value of Faith, Family, and Tradition (Wipf and Stock), and Grassroots Pentecostalism in Brazil and the United States: Migrations, Missions, and Mobility (Palgrave’s Christianity and Renewal series). Amazon Author page. LinkedIn page. Facebook.

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