The Holy Spirit: Ancient Christian Traditions recounts the efforts made to understand the Holy Spirit by the early church, and the subsequent doctrines that arose from that effort. Stanley Burgess explains and documents the efforts of Church Fathers, from the 1st generation following the Apostles up to the up-to and including Augustine. Moreover, Burgess' chapter on the fascinating contributions of the Cappadocian Fathers, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzen, and Gregory of Nyssa are of particular excellence.
In The Holy Spirit: Ancient Christian Traditions (formerly titled The Spirit and the Church: Antiquity), the first in a series of three volumes devoted to the history of Christian pneumatology, Stanley M. Burgess recounts Christian efforts from the end of the first century to the end of the fifth century AD to understand the divine Third Person.
The Christian centuries have witnessed a tension--sometimes waxing, sometimes waning, but always present--between the spirit of order and the spirit of prophecy. In the ancient church, representatives of institutional order, in an effort to keep the development of Spirit doctrine within a recognizable tradition, muffled the immediacy of religious experience. Prophetic elements came to be viewed with distrust and remained in the institutional church only at the cost of severe internal tension. In this work, the author recognizes the wealth of Spirit theology and activity in both traditions, and the need for modern Christians to gain a deeper and wider vision of the workings of the Holy Spirit in history and in our own generation.
Stanley M. Burgess is distinguished professor of Christian history at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
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