Skip to main content

Pneumatalogical Approach to World Religions

God’s Spirit in Creation

Moltmann describes the Holy Spirit as the “Spirit of life.” [1] and “suggests that every experience ‘can possess a transcendent, inward side … grounded theologically on an understanding of the Spirit of God as the power of creation and the wellspring of life.’”[2]

Religion as a Response to the Holy Spirit

This may be, but sometimes it may be a fearful response to demonic activity, trying to appease evil spirits etc. Following discussion of Gunton’s position that “the Spirit allows for the Spirit’s work in creation outside the church”[3] Lord stresses, “we need to deal with the Fall and the need for discernment.”[4]

Recognizing the Spirit’s Presence

He is recognized by “’experiences of awakening and disclosure,’ annunciation experiences.”[5] One Muslim young man in Bethlehem related that while walking, looking at the grass, the sky, enjoying the day, he saw Jesus. He said it casually as if it was an everyday occurrence. Sometimes the evidence of the Spirit’s work is more subtle, such as an interest in God.


Lord suggests asking the question, “What characterizes the work of the Spirit?”[6] Through scripture and our faith experience, this is a good reference point. Yong suggests one approach revolving around “divine presence, absence and activity”[7] and another based on “foundational categories … more appropriate to a consideration of other faiths.”[8]

Which Position?

Inclusivists … balance the biblical emphases on …universal intent of God’s salvific action in Christ (1 Tim. 4:10; 2 Pet. 3:9) …the Old Testament covenant economy (Gen. 9:8-19; 12:3), and the fact that a balanced view of Scripture reveals God at work in all peoples and in all cultures, in blessing and in judgment.[9]

Inclusivists believe in unlimited atonement, more congruent with God’s love.

This view resonates with me, after working with Muslims in the Holy Land. Opportunities to share the faith abound if one is willing to build bridges, not walls. Colin Gunton’s “understanding of the Spirit allows for the Spirit’s work in creation outside the church—whatever ‘enables the creature … to join praise of the Creator’ is the work of the Spirit.”[10]

Inclusivism facilitates ecumenism, evangelism and the church, helping in outreach without attacking, recognizing God’s work in people’s lives before we meet them.

Religions, Response and the Spirit

Fisher sites similarities among religions in religious response:

(1) It is an experience of what is considered Unseen Reality; (2) It involves the person’s whole being; (3) It is the most shattering and intense of all human experiences; and (4) it motivates the person to action, through worship, ethical behavior, service, and sharing with others in a religious grouping.[11]

[1] Andy Lord, “Principles for a Charismatic Approach to Other Faiths,” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies 6:12 (2003): 237.

[2] Jurgen Moltmann, The Spirit of Life in Andy Lord, “Principles for a Charismatic Approach to Other Faiths,” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies 6:12 (2003): 237.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] John V. Taylor, The Go-Between God: The Holy Spirit and the Christion Mission in Andy Lord, “Principles for a Charismatic Approach to Other Faiths,” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies 6:12 (2003): 238.

[6] Lord, 242.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] H. S. Horton-Parker, “Three Perspectives of the Salvation of the Unevangelized,” TMs [photocopy], 2002, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA, 2.

[10] Lord, 237.

[11] Mary Pat Fisher, Living Religions: Sixth Edition (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2005), 5.


Popular posts from this blog

If and If and If

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday, 10/1/17 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church and St. Mark Lutheran Church. The scripture text is Philippians 2:1-13

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is one of my favorites. It is full of positive, uplifting theology, like “RejoiceintheLordalways; again I will say, Rejoice (Phil. 4:4 ). It’s a feel-good kind of letter. Today’s passage from Philippians is chock full of great stuff and I could get at least 10 sermons out of

I'm Back & Giving Thanks

Sunday, 9/17, was my first Sunday back in the pulpit after 7 months. I am not completely healed from February's back surgery, but am mostly there. The doctor is letting me work only part time until our next visit. This is the sermon from Sunday, 9/17, preached at St. Timothy Lutheran Church and St. Mark Lutheran Church.  based on Psalm 103 1:-13.
When I read today’s lessons, I couldn’t take my eyes of of Psalm 103. This psalm is an individual psalm of one who was struggling in a desperate situation, who called out to God and God delivered him.This is my story too.
As most of you know, I had back surgery in Feb. and I too, received God’s deliverance. Following the back surgery, I contracted an Ecoli infection that nearly killed me. I am here today to declare with the psalmist: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits…”
The odd thing about this psalm is that it isn’t a prayer. It is not ad…

Flying Rebukes

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday, 2/25/18 at St. Timothy. Lutheran Church. The text was Mark 8:31-38. 

Immediately before today’s gospel reading, Jesus had asked his disciples who people say that he is. This is where the light went on for Peter and he made the confession, “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29). Peter certainly gave the right answer and was likely thinking of the attributes given to whoever would be the Messiah. The Messiah, people thought, would deliver them from the crushing rule of the Romans. The Messiah would fight their enemies. Basically, the Messiah was a strong king-like figure.
But, now Jesus fleshes out for Peter and others what that is going to look like. They were completely unprepared for the reality.
“Jesus began to teach them” (v. 31). Hadn’t he been teaching the disciples all along? Maybe, but this was different. This wasn’t teaching about miracles and healing. This is the turning point in Mark’s gospel, marking a new beginning.
“Jesus began to teach the…