Monday, May 05, 2008

Tell me how I am wrong

I have a 12-15 page paper due this week about a constructive theology on the Holy Spirit. So I have an outline of sorts that all I have to do is unpack and put some meat on and my paper will be done. I know at least one person with a MDiV reads this, and most of the few people who read this are smarter than me, so I want your help. Please take a look over my outline and let me know if it works. You don't have to agree with what I am planning on arguing, but I want to make sure that my positions are sustainable and arguable. I also want to make sure that my major arguments support my thesis, and there are not anything I am missing, so let me know what you think:

Theological Assumptions:
1. God is Triune in nature, and that the Holy Spirit is fully part of God
2. Scripture is divinely inspired by God and can be treated as authoritative.
3. The world is broken and fallen. Because of that all people become corrupted by sin, totally depraved, and cut off from God.
The Holy Spirit is highly relational, and only by being in relationship with the Holy Spirit can people truly know God and be used to bring about God’s purposes in the world.
1. In typical Weslyan fashion, scripture is my primary source but the authority contained in scripture can only be properly understood by relying on experience, tradition, and reason. I personally, put more reliance of experience over tradition and reason. The tradition that I will primarily rely on are the writings of John Wesley.
2. Since the thesis deals with relationship, and since I have a high emphasis on experience the approach I plan on using is systemic instead of systematic. Systematic theology values order where as systemic theology values relationship. Instead of focusing on the order of how theological concepts connect, I will focus on how the ideas relate.
3. In regards to pronoun usage, I plan on using both the masculine and feminine. Since my thesis states the Spirit is relational, using the pronoun it or no pronoun does not adequately communicate the radically relational nature of the Spirit. The Spirit can be understood in both masculine and feminine terms, so both pronouns are appropriate.
Major Arguments (need help in ordering these):
1. The Holy Spirit seeks relationship with all individuals. Before an individual is justified, that is saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit seeks relationship through exterior means. This is previenent race, the love of God made available to an individual before the individual accepts that love. When an individual becomes justified they are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit seeks relationship internally.
2. The nature of an individual’s relationship with the Holy Spirit is best understood as sanctification. Sanctification is the process through which one becomes holy. I agree with John Wesley when he wrote that the Holy Spirit is “the immediate cause of all holiness in us.”
3. An outward sign of sanctification is maturation of the fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Because humans are depraved creatures in a fallen world, the attributes listed as the fruits of the Spirit can only be truly obtained by the enabling of the Holy Spirit.
4. Only through having a relationship with the Holy Spirit can an individual partner with God to bring about God’s realm on earth. I agree with Clark Pinnock: “Each believer should focus on the power of God at work in his or her life and expect God to make him or her an instrument of the kingdom.” This partnership is marked by spiritual gifts. The numerous Spiritual Gifts mentioned in scripture and flow only from the Holy Spirit. The actual practice of the gifts only happens because of an empowering of the Spirit.
5. The Holy Spirit communicates with believers through a variety of means. The Spirit communicates with the individual to guide, enable, empower, comfort, and convict.


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