Is the Holy Spirit the forgotten God?

In his article ‘Trinity of Life And Power: The Relevance of Trinitarian Theology in the Contemporary Age,’ in Spirit of Truth and Power: Studies in Christian Experience and Doctrine, David F. Wright, Ed (Rutherford House, 2007), Bruce McCormack writes the following about how the Holy Spirit and his “role” within the Trinity:

It has become commonplace in theologies written in the last thirty years or so to find the claim that the Holy Spirit has been, for too long, the forgotten member of the Trinity or the anonymous person of the Godhead. We have, it is said, unjustly neglected the Holy Spirit. We need to compensate for this deficiency through the elaboration today of pneumatology as a distinct locus in Christian Dogmatics. My own conviction, in the face of this challenge, is it is wrong-headed and ultimately does a great disservice to the Holy Spirit. While it is quite true, to a great extent anyway, that the Holy Spirit the anonymous person of the Godhead, this is not to be explained as an accident of history. The Holy Spirit has been this because he wills to be so. When we seek to know more what we are doing is the Holy Spirit to betray his mission, a mission which finds it’s centre in revealing and glorifying Jesus Christ (26-27).

So what do you think? McCormack argues for eternal subordination and asserts that any attempt to see totally equality in the Trinity as more ideological than theological. He sees the order of the Trinity as Father > Son > Spirit in that order. Not that that has to be a problem per se.

My main concern with this would be the implicational accusation that if we see the work of the Spirit as doing anything more than revealing and glorifying Jesus Christ we are akin too much of the Holy Sprit and I would disagree with that.

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3 responses to “Is the Holy Spirit the forgotten God?

  1. I wish I could take a look at the entire essay and see McCormack’s overall argument. The major question that I’d ask about your concern is what, if anything, could the Spirit do that didn’t reveal or glorify Christ? In other words, how could we possibly see the work of the Spirit as doing more than that when everything the Spirit does it does toward that end?

    • Nick, it is a book you’d want, it has a few articles on the Trinity in relation to the Spirit.

      I need to re-read it myself but I see the Spirit as also working out God’s will and purposes in the life of Christians and Christian communities through the charismata and such, and of course, these kinds of things can reveal and bring glory to Christ – bu I see what you mean.

  2. Pingback: [ad hoc] Christianity , Archive » Episode #20: Blogosphere roundup, May 18, 2011

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