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Power from on High to Bear the Fruits of the Spirit

 

Chapter 7 investigates many philosophical and theological arguments concerning creation, and science. Yong first explains that he is doing a Spirit theology of creation rather than of nature (pp. 284). Modern science has not acknowledged the spiritual world. Pentecostal and conservative Christians try to subordinate science to divine revelation. However, as science and theology work together, there is wholeness in how each works for the greater purpose of human beings, and God. Being open to the supernatural work of the Spirit, Pentecostals can be a role model to the scientific community. “The challenge for theology in the late modern world, with its scientific assumptions about the closed nature of the universe, is to make sense of the claim that human beings can experience the divine” (236). Yong admits that interpreting truth from a theological and philosophical perspective is hard work; nevertheless, it is important if we are to value both science (nature, creation), and the spiritual realm (God).

Yong’s discussion of semiotic (theory of signs) was hard to understand. I believe he is encouraging Pentecostal students not to shy away from philosophical arguments. Yong states, “Hence what I call the eschatological character of semiosis as inquiry in the infinite long run which anticipates that reality will eventually reveal the truth behind all interpretants&quot’ (288). Yong states this as he explains how interpretation is complex and that ” …given the qualitative open-endedness of the process of interpretation, one cannot predict when future events may call the ‘settled’ interpretant into question” (286). Even though, interpretation is hard, there is hope that someday we will know for sure. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (NIV, 1 Corinthians 13:12). From a Pentecostal perspective, the experience of the Sprit enables us to discern the work of God in our lives and in creation.

Yong elaborates on Donald L. Gelpi’s work concerning how we experience the Spirit of God in our lives. Yong outlines experiences of the Spirit working in humans. “The Spirit enables human freedom by gifting human experience with the genuine opportunity to collaborate with the divine offer of grace; there can never be a simple dualistic opposition between divine and human willing in a triadic metaphysical framework” (pp. 294). Yong further develops his pneumatological theology of revelation, and he outlines how revelation is experienced from the Pentecostal perspective. He explains the distinctiveness of the pneuamatological approach to the doctrine of revelation. When he states, “First, revelation is transcendental: the Spirit breaks through into the human condition from beyond ourselves” (298). Later on Yong explains what he means, he says, “the (Spirit) who breaks the established habits of sin and replaces them with the living realities of Christ, and who opens up to the transcendental, uncanny, and eschatological in-breaking of the kingdom” (pp. 299).

 

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Category: In Depth, Winter 2007

About the Author: Rony M. Reyes, Th.M. (Winebrenner Theological Seminary, Findlay, Ohio), has pastored churches in urban and rural settings in Indiana and Illinois. He is a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. Pastor Reyes is the author of Apocalyptic Anointing (Emeth Press, 2008).

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