Changing Convictions About the Holy Spirit? 1996/2011 (2)

[How, if at all, have my views about the Holy Spirit changed in the past 15 years? This is the sixth of a series of six posts on how my faith convictions have changed (or not) since I have been a college professor. Not long before leaving congregational ministry to begin teaching I did a series of sermons describing in concise terms what I understood to be key Christian beliefs. I posted an excerpt from my sermon on the Holy Spirit here. Now I will reflect on my current convictions about the Holy Spirit. Here are links to the first four posts—the first two are on my views of God 15 years ago and on present-day thoughts about God. The third and fourth are on, first, my thoughts from 15 years ago and then some current thoughts on Jesus.]

Ted Grimsrud—July 17, 2011

When I addressed convictions about the Holy Spirit in my 1996 sermon, I followed what I imagine is a common pattern. I did that sermon not so much because of any deep-seated interest that I might have had in that particular topic but mainly because I assumed one shouldn’t talk about convictions about God and Jesus without also including the Holy Spirit.

We see this pattern as far back as the Apostles’ Creed. After statements on God and Jesus that contain significant, if tightly packed, content about those two themes, the Creed turns to the Holy Spirit with a statement remarkable for how little it actually says about the Holy Spirit: “I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.”

I did say a bit more about the Holy Spirit in my sermon than the Apostles’ Creed does. I like what I said, as far as it went. But more recently, I have some more substantial thoughts. I have been trying to think more deeply about what actually our understanding of the Holy Spirit might contribute to our broader theological perspective. Rather than being a kind of add on to a theology grounded in other motifs, what if we genuinely took our understanding of the Holy Spirit as one of our generative themes? Continue reading “Changing Convictions About the Holy Spirit? 1996/2011 (2)”