One of the most exciting recent developments in theology has been an unprecedented interest in the person and work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, Veli-Matti Karkkainen describes this phenomenon as a "pneumetalogical renaissance." But such discussion should be informed, he contends, by two overarching principles. First, we must acknowledge the variety of approaches to the experience of the Holy Spirit ecumenically: "No church can claim a monopoly on the Spirit, and no tradition is specifically 'spirited.'" Second, talk about the Spirit must always be contextual and therefore culture-specific: "The spirit of God . . . indwells believers and creation in specific and tangible ways."
Working from this perspective, the book introduces readers to pneumatology, the theology and spirituality of the Holy Spirit, in current international theology. As such, the work offers a biblical, historical, and theological assessment of the Third Person of the Trinity. However, unlike most textbooks on pneumatology, Karkkainen takes a fresh, innovative approach. Rather than focusing on any single topic, his aim is to chart the various territories of contemporary writings and reflections on pneumatology.
Consequently, the volume examines various theological and denominational understandings of the Spirit (all major Christian traditions are reviewed), assesses key contemporary theologians of the Spirit (e.g., Pannenberg, Moltmann, and Pinnock), and inquires into several contextual approaches (e.g., liberation, feminist, and green). These distinctives and the emphasis on the contemporary global scene make this a unique volume.
An up-to-date survey of the most noteworthy and theologically pregnant orientations to the Spirit in the worldwide ecumenical and intercultural scene, this work will guide readers in discerning the Holy Spirit's activity at the beginning of the third millennium.
--discusses ecumenical, international, and contextual pneumatologies
--ecumenical emphasis ranges from Eastern Orthodox to Pentecostal/charismatic
--international scope gives voice to African and Latin American perspectives
--covers major pneumatologies
--provides a comprehensive bibliography
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (D.Theol., University of Helsinki) is associate professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and also holds teaching posts at the University of Helsinki and Iso Kirja College in Finland. He has published seven books and is active as an ecumenical theologian serving on three working groups of the World Council of Churches.