A Christianity Today Book of the Year In what may be regarded as his magnum opus, Clark Pinnock here turns attention to the vital Christian doctrine of the. In what may be regarded as his magnum opus, Clark Pinnock turns attention to the vital Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Writing out of both wide learning and . Flame of Love has ratings and 12 reviews. Adrian as hismagnum opus, Clark Pinnock here turns attention to the vital Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

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In the wake of Clark Pinnock’s death I thought I’d dig up a seminary “reflection paper” that I had to write in after reading his Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit. Here it is in its entirety, for those who may not have ever read the man, or who want a bit of a reminder of one of his theological clarl.

I am not going to bother saying at the outset whether I now fully agree with everything I said then, but I have highlighted some key statements, and if you read this and want to discuss the content further I will more than happy to take such things up there. Mostly I just post this as a tribute to Pinnock’s legacy, at least where it touched one person in the Canadian Christian wilderness. It is indicative of both the influence of the author and of the rapid changes in theology that Clark H.

A Theology of the Holy Spirit have now pinnocm a comfortable home in theological discussion. Pinnock displays a sincere desire to better understand the mysterious and oft-overlooked yet presumably not completely incomprehensible Holy Ot.

He presents a punnock and refreshing vision of the Spirit and also explores its ramifications for other areas of theology.

As the basis for his inquiry into Spirit theology, Pinnock focuses intently on the relational dynamic of the Godhead as testified by the incarnate Christ and witnessed by the New Testament. Pinnock feels that Trinitarian theology is not containable in human propositions nor reducible to human analogies, but is significantly comprehensible to those made in the image of Flamme.

As a result we expect to better understand God by thinking of Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and we expect to better understand each flaem these three persons by thinking of them within this Unity; this perfect communion of three persons. Since God is Triune, in fact, He can not really be known without all three.


With this in mind Pinnock seeks a clearer profile of the person of the Spirit. He asserts that this is a biblical approach and that if there has been any accommodation to culture or philosophy in theology it came with those who insisted on viewing God as the Unmoved Mover: This is not the God of the Bible, and such a misapprehension of God may be partly to blame for the lack of Spirit theology, since Spirit is calrk God most directly interacts with humanity.

He shows refreshing candor in facing head-on the obstacles of spirit terminology in the Bible and the intentional aloofness of the Spirit. While the Bible does not always explain whether it is talking generally about God as Spirit or specifically about the person of the Spirit, Pinnock does not shy away from gleaning what it does have to say about the third person of the Trinity.

As a matter of fact, one of the most central attributes of the Trinity pinbock this self-effacing humility. Like Father and Son the Spirit clearly wishes to exalt the others above self, however, in the economy of the Trinity the Spirit seems even more disposed to fade into the background.

Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit – Clark H. Pinnock – Google Books

Rather than taking this as a reason to avoid the issue altogether, Pinnock rightly takes this and enfolds it into his understanding of the pknnock of the Spirit. Humble and self-giving in love, the Spirit has been for good reason confused with the force that brings the Trinity together. Taking his cue from the Scriptures Pinnock does not settle for such an impersonal concept and sees the Spirit as the person who lve the communion of the Trinity as well as the overflow of that communion into creation.

Although by virtue of His internal communion the Triune God is not dependent upon creation in any sense, it is out of His benevolence—even His playfulness—that God creates a cosmos and a people in His own image with whom He may share communion. At integral moments in this creation Spirit is present, hovering over the waters at creation and over the virgin at the incarnation; bringing cosmos out of chaos and a new creation out of the fallen one.


Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit

In this way the Spirit brings continuity to creation and redemption. The most controversial part of this book comes when Pinnock applies all this theology to our understanding of the universality of redemption. Pinnock would agree that the grace of God in redemption is unlimited in scope and pinock given.

Fpame, he would assert that God does require faith and does not coerce this faith from people. God provides prevenient grace to all in a way that awakens in them the possibility of saying yes to God, but does not force them to do so. God respects the free will of humans because it is integral to the communion that he created us to have.

This is a far more compelling and biblically cohesive understanding of redemption than those offered by the authors mentioned above. Pinnock is not quite as convincing in his treatment of universality, but makes a good argument for hope in the wider mercy of God.

Truly we do not know exactly what God may be doing in any human heart and it is entirely possible that God could choose to save people outside the church—even those in other religions. However, it is stretching the biblical warrant to suppose that we can lean kf this hope in a significant way. The New Testament presents us with a vitality and urgency of mission that is diluted somewhat by any sort of reliance upon this wider hope.

Having said that, Pinnock speaks a much needed corrective into the narrow-mindedness of evangelical Christians who often lack in listening skills and miss important bridges in sharing the gospel as a flae of a deficient appreciation of what the Spirit is doing in the hearts and lives of other people and cultures, and even religions.

For this and other insights, Clark Pinnock is to be thanked: What began as a risky idea experiment certainly blossomed into a helpful and inspiring approach to Spirit theology.

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