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Youngmo Cho: Spirit and Kingdom in the Writings of Luke and Paul


Youngmo Cho, Spirit and Kingdom in the Writings of Luke and Paul: An Attempt to Reconcile these Concepts (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2005), 254 pages, ISBN 9781842273166.

Youngmo Cho (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is currently an assistant professor of New Testament studies at Asia LIFE University, in South Korea. He has formerly been a pastor of an Assembly of God Church, as well as a missionary to the Philippines. He attempts in this book to explore the relation between the Spirit of God and the kingdom of God in the writings of Luke and Paul, which has been an uncharted territory up until now. The aim of the book is to depict the differences between Luke and Paul regarding their understandings, respectively, of the Spirit’s work. Cho dialogs, mainly, with three positions regarding the relationship between Paul and Luke, which could be characterized as them being in discontinuity with each other, in continuity with each other, or a mediating position of complimentarity with each other. In outlining these three positions, Cho interacts with three scholars prevalently: R.P. Menzies (an advocate of the discontinuity position), J.D.G. Dunn (an advocate of the continuity position), and M.M.B. Turner (an advocate of the complimentarity position). Menzies advocates that there are staunch differences between the pneumatologies of Luke and Paul, while Dunn advances the idea that they are the same but differently expressed, and Turner argues that the two are different but complimentary to each other.

Cho, however, diverges from all three of these generally recognized positions. He says that Paul’s pneumatology adds something entirely new to the pneumatology of the early church, as attested to by the gospel of Luke. He asserts that Paul speaks of the kingdom of God in new terms, primarily by speaking of the Spirit in a more comprehensive manner than Luke did. In so doing, Paul communicates the teachings of Jesus in a different way, focusing upon the works of the Spirit. He argues that Dunn’s position, which advocates the notion that the Spirit mediates the blessings of the kingdom in both Paul and Luke, is not precise enough to account for the texts in question. Instead, Cho argues that Paul develops the role of the Spirit more fully than Luke, arguing that the Spirit is the way that all people may participate in the kingdom presently. Cho maintains, however, that Luke asserts a more constricted view of the Spirit and the kingdom, one which only promotes the proclamation of the kingdom of God (as seen by, for example, tongues-speaking). Thus, Cho says that Paul taught that the Spirit is the source of life within the kingdom while Luke teaches that the Spirit merely enables proclamation of the kingdom.

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2009

About the Author: Bradford L. McCall, B.S. in Biology (Georgia Southwestern St. University, 2000), M.Div. (Asbury Theological Seminary, 2005), grew up on a cotton farm in south Georgia. A graduate student at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Bradford has particular interest in teleology, causation and early modern philosophy.

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