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The Holy Spirit: Works & Gifts

, 2000
ISBN: 9780830866212

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Donald Bloesch aptly brings together his grasp of historical and systematic theology as well as his deep concern for spirituality. The fruit of a lifetime of study and devotion, this book masterfully interweaves biblical study, historical overviews and reflection on contemporary developments and issues to shed light on faith in God, the Holy Spirit. On a topic that sadly threatens to divide the church, Bloesch strives to build bridges between the various traditions of Christian faith, especially between Reformed theology and the Pentecostal movement.

Building on the inaugural volume of this series, A Theology of Word and Spirit, Bloesch guards against the equal dangers of a subjective spiritualism and a cold formalism. He speaks out of the perspective of the Protestant Reformation with its emphasis on the complementarity of Word and Spirit and the priority of grace over works. But he also acknowledges the Pentecostal perception that the work of the Spirit involves empowering for witness as well as sealing for salvation. Bloesch likewise finds truth in the mystical tradition of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy that the Spirit calls us to holiness of life as well as to a decision of faith.

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Top Highlights

“In a postmodern Christian perspective the locus of authority becomes the community of interpretation rather than a transcendent Word of God that judges both the community of faith and the self–consciousness of the culture.” (Page 29)

“One thing is certain: the Holy Spirit is not uniform but multiform. His workings cannot be systematized, nor are his gifts ever in the control of the clerics of the church. He moves in a variety of ways and bestows a diversity of gifts. His work is always surprising and unexpected. God is not absolutely bound to give his Spirit even to those who repent of sin and are baptized, but he freely acts at his own discretion and in his own time.” (Page 285)

“Today there is a movement away from propositional theology to narrational theology, from logos to mythos. A christocentric theology is being overshadowed by a pneumatocentric theology in which the living voice of the Spirit is viewed as a higher authority than the written Word of God. The appeal is no longer to what Scripture says but to the sanctified imagination of the reader. The new light that breaks forth from God’s holy Word supersedes the old light contained in sacred Scripture of the past.” (Pages 58–59)

“The mission of the Spirit is to penetrate the world with the life–giving power of Jesus Christ.” (Page 52)

“but one God in three subsistences or life histories” (Page 270)

Product Details

  • Title: The Holy Spirit: Works & Gifts
  • Authors: Donald Bloesch
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 410

Donald G. Bloesch (1928-2010) earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and was professor of theology emeritus at Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He did postdoctoral work at the universities of Oxford, Tübingen and Basel. He wrote numerous books, including Faith and Its Counterfeits, Evangelical Theology in Transition, Theological Notebook: Volume 3, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, The Future of Evangelical Christianity, The Struggle of Prayer, Spirituality Old New, Freedom for Obedience and the seven-volume Christian Foundations series. He also served for a time as president of the Midwest Division of the American Theological Society.


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  1. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    This is the 5th Volume in Bloesch's Christian Foundation - and this time he delves into the Holy Spirit, covering Works and Gifts, Pentecostalism, Spiritualism / Mysticism, Pietism, and good discussion on Baptism. However in comparison to previous volumes, I found this one to be a bit disjointed, and I often wasn't certain about the argument that the Author was trying to make, or perhaps more accurately I was not certain that the points made in the concluding paragraphs of most chapters had been thoroughly (nor convincingly) argued. As in previous volumes, the Author covers Church History well, and places a nice emphasis on the Reformation - especially Calvin and Luther. This approach of his makes these volumes well worth reading :) I did read this about 12 or so years ago, but cannot recall exactly how I felt then. Now on to the final two volumes.


Digital list price: $31.99
Save $7.00 (21%)