A careful exploration of how the identity and mission of the Holy Spirit have been progressively revealed throughout Holy Scripture and then interpreted by the Church. The Progressive Mystery describes how the Spirit has been revealed, understood, and interpreted throughout the sweep of Holy Scripture and the ways in which the orthodox understanding of the mission of the Holy Spirit has developed. An ideal entrée into the study of pneumatology, it introduces readers to the complex history of the theology of the Holy Spirit. Ideal for students, it takes its place among other introductions to pneumatology, as a readable and reliable guide to an elusive topic.
A master scholar and teacher, Habets takes us on a journey of theological discovery as he carefully weaves together the grand story of the church’s progressive understanding and expression of the identity and mission of the Holy Spirit through the biblical writers of the Old and New Testaments, pro-Nicene early church fathers, and key theologians in the contemporary church. Deeply biblical, steeped in the Great Christian Tradition, strongly Evangelical yet ecumenically sensitive, and firmly set in the rich trinitarian trajectory of current proposals in Third Article Theology, Habets’ concise survey of the mystery of the Holy Spirit offers a wonderful contribution to the formation of all people interested in the serious study of theology. The author does not only introduce readers to the world of ideas about the Spirit, but invites them to see themselves as participants in the church’s experience of the Spirit throughout time.
—Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., Professor of Systematic Theology, Werner R.H. and Elizabeth R. Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Myk Habets has already established himself as a leading Spirit theologian. In his latest work, he competently explores the identity and mission of the Spirit in the bible and church history. The scope of the book is impressive and its content springs from his long-standing teaching experience on the subject and his personal journey with God. His ability to be lucid, informative and comprehensive yet not cumbersome and overwhelming is a remarkable achievement. The result is an accessible and knowledgeable introduction to the person and work of God the Spirit that each theology student and pastor must have in their personal library.
—Cornelis Bennema, Academic Dean and Senior Lecturer in New Testament, Wales Evangelical School of Theology, UK.
Myk Habets’ book offers us a rich journey through the study of the Holy Spirit. Habets leads us through such topics as the divine presence in creation and the power of the Spirit’s witness to the exalted Christ, the triumph of Nicene and Post-Nicene orthodoxy and Calvin’s inner witness of the Holy Spirit, Catholic discussions of the Spirit and Pentecostal and Charismatic renewal pneumatology—and even more. In every chapter, one gets a masterful exposure to both the overarching themes and the intricate nuances of pneumatology. This book is sure to be an enjoyable and enlightening read for students and experts alike, across the theological spectrum.
—Frank D. Macchia, Professor of Christian Theology, Vanguard University of Southern California; Associate Director, Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies, Bangor University, Wales.
“I shall use a variety of personal pronouns for the Spirit of God, ranging from ‘he’ to ‘it.’ The reason for so doing is due to the difficulty in many instances of deciding which personal pronoun would best be used. Ruach in Hebrew is feminine, pneuma in Greek is neuter, spiritus in Latin is masculine!” (Pages 10–11)
“Ruach can be synonymous with ‘mind,’ at other times parallel to leb (heart).42 ‘A distinction between them is that the ruach is God’s gift of life to humankind but what proceeds from a person’s own will comes out of that person’s heart (cf., Jer 23:26; Ezek 13:2–3).” (Pages 17–18)
“The mission of the Spirit is revealed in the Old Testament in ways which prepare God’s people for a fuller revelation of his identity in the New Testament; but already in the Old Testament the Spirit is a person, fully at work, and fully God.” (Page 2)
“A person or group’s disposition, attitude, mood, or inclination can also be the definition of ruach.35 Accordingly, to speak of someone’s ruach is to discuss someone’s character, nature, or condition (Isa. 19:3).” (Pages 16–17)
“The main word for S/spirit in the Old Testament is the term ruach (חַוּר).13 This term occurs approximately three hundred and eighty-nine times in the Hebrew Old Testament.” (Page 12)