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Edmund Rybarczyk’s The Spirit Unfettered, reviewed by John Miller

From Pneuma Review Fall 2012

The Spirit UnfetteredEdmund J. Rybarczyk, The Spirit Unfettered: Protestant Views of the Holy Spirit (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2010), 162 pages, ISBN 9781557256546.

Edmund Rybarczyk, Professor of Historic and Systematic Theology at Vanguard University, introduces eleven significant theologians, starting with Luther and sixteenth century Protestant theologians, and ending with Welker in the twenty-first century. Each of the eleven chapters gives the reader a brief biographical sketch of each particular theologian and a concise summary of their major contribution to pneumatology. Rybarczyk describes how each theologian builds on the ideas of his predecessors in order to demonstrate the development of Protestant doctrines on the Holy Spirit. The Spirit Unfettered serves as a quick read (roughly ten pages for each theologian), providing the new student with a contextual point of reference to introduce each theologian, and to remind the seasoned student of the historical development of pneumatic doctrines.

I write this review as a pentecostal college professor who is always looking for textbooks for his students. Rybarczyk has provided an inexpensive and simple book, which would be easily read by the average college freshman. It moves quickly and does not use too many difficult words to describe the theologian or his theological position. In some ways it skims the surface, yet gives the student a vista to see the whole theology-of-the-Spirit landscape without becoming bogged down with so many details that one becomes disoriented in the process. Rybarczyk has added a glossary of terms and makes reference to this in the pages of the book, which will guide the new student to understand any terminology that might be new or unfamiliar. Equally, he gives a sufficient amount of information in the endnotes for the curious student to look deeper. Here we are tempted to critique his use of secondary sources in the endnotes, but will refrain because he accomplishes his purpose of making introductions and overviews of the theologians and their ideas.

Reviewed by John R. Miller

Find a sample of The Spirit Unfettered online:


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Category: Fall 2012, In Depth, Pneuma Review

About the Author: John R. Miller is an ordained minister with Elim Fellowship of Lima, NY and serves as Pastor of Education with Living Word Temple of Restoration, Rochester, NY. He has a degree from Elim Bible Institute, a B.Div. (Trinity Theological Seminary), C.P.E. (University of Rochester), M.Div. (Northeastern Seminary), and Ph.D. (Regent University). He teaches at Regent University and Elim Bible Institute & College.

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