How do you see the Holy Spirit at work in the world today? That is the question the Seedbed staff set out to answer. In part three of this series, we are featuring the responses of Greg Boyd, Nicky Gumbel, Will Willimon, Pete Greig, and Timothy Tennent.
Greg Boyd – President of Christus Victor Ministries, author of more than 20 books, Senior Pastor at Woodland Hills Church, and he was ranked #4 on Superscholar.org’s Most Influential Christian Scholar’s list.
“I am most excited about the way Holy Spirit is giving people a fresh vision of what the post-Christendom Church will look like. All around the globe, and from a remarkable diversity of tribes, the Spirit is calling people into the beautiful, humble, counter-cultural, other-oriented, enemy-loving, cross-carrying, servant Kingdom of God.”
Nicky Gumbel – Vicar at Holy Trinity Brompton, popular and award-winning author of several books, and is most well known for developing the Alpha course.
“The Holy Spirit is working in many amazing ways today. In particular, there is a sense that the Holy Spirit is lowering church and denominational barriers, bringing Christians together. This is a wonderful answer to Jesus’ prayer that we might be one in order that the world will believe.”
Will Willimon – Bishop of the North Alabama Conference UMC and popular author of more than 60 books and 600 articles.
“One of the reasons why I have so much enjoyed serving the UMC as a bishop is that my job gives me a front row seat to watch some of the Holy Spirit’s most impressive work. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of Jesus Christ and his continuing salvage operation in a fallen world. In dozens of little out of the way crossroads in Alabama, I have seen the Holy Spirit calling forth and empowering otherwise ordinary folk to be a vanguard of his Kingdom. The work of the church is miraculous — a gift of a living God who accomplishes, through us, that which we could not accomplish on our own.”
“I see the Holy Spirit mobilizing the church in prayer on an unprecedented, global scale. I also see him reconciling historic divides; between charismatics and evangelicals, between evangelism and justice and between marketplace and ministry. I see fresh innovation, new wineskins, new worship, new connections globally and renewed confidence in the gospel flowing out of the developing world to provoke those of us wrestling with the challenges of post-Christendom. The spirit is moving!”
“The growth of the Pentecostal movement is probably one of the most remarkable historic developments in the 20th century, given the fact that simultaneous Pentecostal revivals broke out in North America (at Azuza Street in Los Angeles in 1906) in Korea ( in1902 and is called the Korean Pentecost), in West Africa (Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria) and also in two parts of India in 1906 (Kashi Hill, N.E. India and Pune, India at Mukti Mission) and, of course, the famous Welsh revivals of 1904-1905. So, within a five-year period the world experienced a global explosion of renewal and vitality that has now mushroomed to over one billion new Christians. This is a major movement, second only to Roman Catholicism in size. But it also spun off major renewal movements within Roman Catholicism, within the Protestant movement, and even within Eastern Orthodoxy. So, the 20th century has witnessed a remarkable global revival which is unprecedented in the history of the world. The emphasis was on the power of the Holy Spirit to make believers holy and to empower them for service in the world. These are both themes which were dear to John Wesley and the Wesleyan tradition. Our tradition has emphasized the role of the Holy Spirit, the importance of discipleship, and the second blessing. So when Pentecostals talk about phrases like “baptism in the Holy Spirit” or “baptized by fire,” those are the kinds of things we have been talking about since the 17th century, though our precise language was different. The point is, Christians need to not only be delivered from the guilt of sin, but be delivered from the power of sin. That is where the doctrine of sanctification enters into Christian experience and this is part of the work of the Holy Spirit. The 20th century has also seen a major emphasis on pneumatology and Trinitarian theology in the Christian academic world. So, we are seeing a renewed emphasis on the Holy Spirit from both popular Christian movements as well as reflective scholarship and new insights from the study of Scripture. In the Western academic world, we mostly discussed the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity. Less reflection has taken place on the Holy Spirit as the living presence of God in your life to transform you, to make you holy, and to equip you for faithful witness. And so that is exactly what we are seeing today and I believe that the Wesleyan conversation on that will strengthen the global movement. We bring an historical perspective on this, and considerable reflection on what it means for the Holy Spirit to come into the life of the believer, both to make us holy as well as to empower us for witness. We live in very exciting times and I am so thankful to be able to live and see the mighty works of God in the world today.”
Leave a comment below and tell us how you see the Holy Spirit at work from your perspective. We might pick your response to feature in the series!