The Contemporaries Meet The Classics on the Holy Spirit is the second in a series by Howard Publishing; the first is The Contemporaries Meet the Classics on Prayer. This is obviously not a theological treatise intended for in-depth study. Rather, it is interesting series of snapshots that require discernment to sort through. The theological backgrounds of the contributors are varied, and because a particular writer is said to be a theologian, scholar, or prolific writer, does not mean that what he has to say is worthy of acceptance.
Some of the names in the book will be familiar: Oswald Chambers, John Stott, John Calvin, Chuck Swindoll, Martin Luther, Jim Cymbala, and others. Their teaching on the Holy Spirit will also be familiar, though perhaps differing from each other in some ways. Then there are writers that are less familiar. Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) was a female mystic who wrote about her visions. Karl Rohne, a Catholic theologian writing in 1963 and noted for his metaphysical style was, I thought, more incomprehensible than some writers of the 14th century. Jurgen Moltmann wrote about the holiness of the earth. Even apart from the content, his writing style struck me as an attempt to sound overly esoteric: “The new creation doesn’t abolish bodiliness. It renews it for eternal livingness.” (p. 52) St. Basil the Great refers to Holy Spirit as “It,” a practice I have never seen before. Even Augustine calls the Holy Spirit “the bond of love which joins the Father and Son.” (p. 68) Much of what is contained in these excerpts sounds more like Shirley MacLaine than the Scriptures. Thankfully Randall Harris wrapped up this volume with Spurgeon and Stott!
I would have preferred the divisions in the book to be chronological, not topical. I also thought it would helpful to have the biographical sketches of the various contributors at the beginning of each excerpt rather than at the end. This would have provided a better framework for what was to come; a preview of the writer’s perspective before delving into the material. Nonetheless, it is an interesting survey for anyone with a solid background in pneumatology who would not be confused or led astray by some of the less orthodox material. – Pam Glass, Christian Book Previews.com
The second in a unique series, The Contemporaries Meet the Classics on the Holy Spirit is a thought-provoking blend of essays by renowned authors from the past and present and offers insightful perspectives on a subject that most wonder about, but few understand. A descriptive study of who the Holy Spirit is, His purpose within us, the many ways He works and much more are at your fingertips for an easy reference in a beautifully designed format.
Each writer is introduced in his or his historical context so readers are not only stretched to think about the Holy Spirit in new ways; they are given a deeper understanding of the gift whom God has given his children, with an encouragement to recognize the fullness of the Holy Spirit in their lives.