SPIRIT CHRISTOLOGY: A PENTECOSTAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE TRINITARIAN DISCOURSE
AbstractIn reply to Jesus’ question to his disciples, “Who do you say I am?”, the early church used the biblical symbol of God as Spirit to explain how God is present and active in Jesus and the contents of Jesus’ divinity. By the second century, the Apologists responded to christological controversies such as adoptionism, monarchianism, docetism and modalism, as well as the introduction of the gospel to a Greek-speaking audience that required the utilisation of hellenistic philosophical terms. As part of their contextual hermeneutical endeavour, they introduced Logos Christology, with its focus on Jesus as the word (Logos) of God incarnate, who also speaks the word of God, emphasising his divinity to the neglect or diminishment of his humanity. It is argued that Western Christology can benefit from the supplement of Spirit Christology, which is evaluated at the hand of certain criteria useful in evaluating a valid Christology. Because of the influence of its growth and its emphasis on the Spirit, especially in the global South, Pentecostalism is ideally situated to introduce Spirit Christology as a productive systematic christological addition to the christological discourse. The essence of pentecostal hermeneutic, defined as the hermeneutic in which the Holy Spirit is involved in the interpretation of Scripture, lies in its pneumatocentric emphasis. It emphasises the fundamental need for an existential relationship with Christ that represents the experience of the presence of God through the Spirit that is christologically and pneumatologically inscribed. It views the three persons of the Trinity within the context of the economy of salvation to explain their inter-trinitarian relationships. It requires that the filioque view be rejected because it presupposes that the Father-Son relationship is a primary relationship of origin and subordinates the Spirit to the Son, which cannot be accepted. Lastly Pentecostalism’s general view of God falling outside the human frame of reference is illustrated by their practice of speaking in tongues. Spirit Christology supplements the use of intellectual reason with the exercise of discursive and intuitive reason to form a conception of the hidden super-essential Godhead of the Bible.
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