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Rodman Williams: The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today: Background

8. Though the procession of the Holy Spirit is from the Father alone (as we have observed).

9. ” …our testimony was not about tongues; not even primarily about the Spirit. But wherever we went, our talk was about Jesus Christ …” Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan, Catholic Pentecostals (New York: Paulist Press, 1969), p. 42. The words quoted refer to the first small group of Roman Catholics in the contemporary spiritual renewal.

10. It is obviously Trinitarian. From what has been said in the above paragraphs, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equally involved. This needs emphasis especially in light of the importance of Christian experience attesting to the fullness of the divine reality. On the matter of the focus being on Jesus Christ—which is universally true in the renewal of our time—there is some misunderstanding by critics who view the renewal as a shifting away from Christ to the Holy Spirit. (For example, see F.D. Bruner, A Theology of the Holy Spirit [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970], who speaks of how in Pentecostalism faith is “directed primarily to the Holy Spirit,” p. 115. Though Bruner is dealing in his book mainly with classical Pentecostalism, his viewpoint also includes Neo-Pentecostalism, or the charismatic movement). Actually, the focus remains throughout on Christ within the context of a Trinitarian frame of reference.

11. That is, the pre-incarnate Son who is eternally with the Father. Jesus speaks in John 17:5 of the “glory” He had with the Father “before the world was made.” Surely the Son was, is and will be forever glorious; but His exaltation follows upon His resurrection from the dead.

12. Accordingly, this movement of renewal is not simply a form of “Christ mysticism” in which there is personal identification with Jesus Christ—a being caught up in His mystical presence. To be sure, there is the sense of Christ-relatedness, even Christ-identification, but this is consequent to the experience of redemption through Him.

13. On the matter of the work of redemption in connection with the gift of the Holy Spirit, the reader is invited to see my book, The Era of the Spirit (Plainfield, NJ: Logos, 1971), especially pp. 51-53. Herein I emphasize that whereas the Holy Spirit is active in the work of redemption “applying the work of God in Christ and making new life an actuality,” there is also “a movement of the Spirit beyond redemption, …” The Era of the Spirit was my first attempt to express in writing what had been recently happening to many people, and to follow this up with some theological reflection.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptural quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today: Dimensions (Chapter 2)

The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today by J. Rodman Williams, was published in 1980 by Logos International. Used by permission of the author. Reprinted in Pneuma Review with minor updates from the author.

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2002

About the Author: J. Rodman Williams (1918-2008), Ph.D., is considered to be the father of renewal theology. He served as a chaplain in the Second World War, he was a church pastor, college professor, and key figure in the charismatic movement of the 1960s. Beginning in 1982, he taught theology at Regent University School of Divinity in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and became Professor of Renewal Theology Emeritus there in 2002. Author of numerous books, he is perhaps best known for his three volume Renewal Theology (Zondervan, 1996).

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