Contemporary Issues in the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit Part I: The Holy Spirit in Divine Revelation -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 130:517 (Jan 1973)
Article: Contemporary Issues in the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit Part I: The Holy Spirit in Divine Revelation
Author: John F. Walvoord

Contemporary Issues in the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
Part I:
The Holy Spirit in Divine Revelation

John F. Walvoord

[John F. Walvoord, President, Dallas Theological Seminary, Editor, Bibliotheca Sacra.]


The twentieth century has witnessed an amazing revival in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Although biblical theology has been assailed by higher criticism and there has been widespread defection from traditional orthodoxy, two significant developments have characterized the twentieth century as the era of the Holy Spirit. The first of these has been the revival of Pentecostalism witnessed by the rapid increase in membership in Pentecostal denominations in the United States and extensive Pentecostal missionary effort throughout the world and especially in Central and South America.

Second, as a reaction against the sterile liberalism of the first quarter of the twentieth century, neoorthodoxy sparked by Karl Barth has revived interest in the doctrine of the Spirit in theological studies in our age.

From an evangelical point of view, both the Pentecostal movement and neoorthodoxy are to some extent deviations from what was previously considered as biblical theology. Both Pentecostalism and neoorthodoxy are based upon experience. In the case of Pentecostalism, there have been claims to revival of apostolic gifts—of miracles, healing and speaking in tongues. In neoorthodoxy there has been an attempt at a new approach to the doctrine of revelation which was restored by Karl Barth to a supernatural work of a transcendent God in communication to finite man. Both Pentecostalism and neoorthodoxy have been scripturally oriented in more specific terms than contemporary liberalism. Both appeal to experience, and to this extent

have departed somewhat from purely theological formulations based upon scriptural exegesis. They have, however, avoided the sterility of pure intellectualism, ritualism, and the emasculated theological concepts of liberalism. Regardless of how these movements are evaluated, they have served to focus attention on the theology of the Holy Spirit, elevating it to one of the major issues of the twentieth century.

The author has previously published a theological textbook, The Holy Spirit, setting forth the biblical doctrine in the Old and New Testaments. This present series of articles attempts principally to gather the major issues of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit being debated in contemporary theology. The discussion is intended to be understood by college and seminary students as well as lay students of biblical doctrine, and technicalities not essential to the study have been av...

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