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Burchell Taylor

and more infl uential than paradigms – the Creation, in fact.” Constant cultivation and education, he said, are needed. Tillman agreed with Taylor that there is a need to emphasize “the total sphere of the Spirit’s presence, infl uence, and activity,” because “in the evolution of the de-emphasis of the Spirit has co me a lack of appreciation of just how deep and wide the Spirit’s infl uence is and could be.” In North America, the twin problems

empowered praxis, the church should train and prepare pastors and other church workers to be sensitive and discerning to the movement and work of the Spirit within their own context. “Spirit- empowered praxis demands that pastors and workers are prepared to relate to the concrete realities and particularities of the lived experience. Theological education, curriculum planning, course content and delivery must be mindful of this.” The mission and ministry of the church

should be contextualized, Taylor declared, especially

in instances where social

justice issues arise. There is the need, he said, to make sense of the circumstances of the people’s lived experience within their own socio-economic, political and cultural context. Theological and spiritual preparation of pastors and church workers is therefore of utmost importance. This, Taylor said, constitutes a challenge to the traditional way of doing theology. “There is a need for training which involves spiritual formation to be given to those who

The Spirit is deeply involved in the unfolding and outworking of God’s purpose in . . . the whole created order

are called to give pastoral leadership and guidance to congregations, for participation in such a ministry and mission.” In his response, Bill Tillman, director

of Theological Education for the Baptist General Convention of Texas in the United States, said “fi nding resonance between the Spirit and social justice should not be a long search for Baptist Christians.” But he cautioned that “there is need to re-frame the conversation with every generation” to let them be aware that “the work of the Spirit [is] not only in and with an individual, but also in those matters which can be identifi ed as even larger

of a lack of sensitivity to the Spirit and “a strong anti-intellectual stream of thinking,” has led to “pastoral leadership [that] is found wanting in all kinds of areas, including that of assisting congregations in understanding the work of the Spirit.” Tillman asserted that

in his context of North America,

“ministerial education format, curriculum, pedagogies, and expectations are in great need of reformation.” There is the need “to assist students toward translating what they learn in seminary . . . into the language and lives of their constituents.”

Baptist Contributions to the Understanding of the

Holy Spirit B

aptists, historically, are pre-occupied with Christology – doctrines

concerning the nature and person of Christ – than with pneumatology – doctrines concerning the Holy Spirit. According to William Brackney, professor of Christian thought and ethics at Acadia Divinity College and Acadia University in Canada, “Baptists have emphasized the preeminence of the person and work of Christ, and . . . have largely undervalued or overlooked the


Person.” Even when Spirit language is used by Baptists, often the preference is for terms such as the “Spirit of Christ” or the “Spirit of holiness.” Brackney was presenting his paper, Contributions to Theological


Refl ections on the Holy Spirit. Making special reference to the United Kingdom and North America, Brackney asserted creative

that and experimental

Baptists “have been less in their

development and articulation of a doctrine of the Holy Spirit” than other Christian groupings and traditions.

Baptists, he

claimed, “are timid in the experience of the Holy Spirit and reluctant to defi ne carefully the Spirit’s person and role outside the historic creeds and Protestant/evangelical confessional statements.” Despite this however, there have been

notable formulations, statements, writings, and declarations on the Holy Spirit by Baptists,

beginning with John Smyth,

a Baptist pioneer in the 17th century. Brackney said that Smyth believed the true church to be that which “has been understood to be gathered by the Holy Spirit in Christ’s name. Such congregations are given spiritual gifts for ministry and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.”

Some early confessional statements by Baptists

made reference Holy Spirit in Trinitarian to the formulations,

following closely the Nicene Creed and affi rmations by Anglicans, Puritans, and Congregationalists. “17th century Baptist confessions form a bedrock of collective doctrinal understanding of the Spirit,” Brackney said. There was a fl owering of “theological development among Baptists of the 18th century,” Brackney claimed. This includes copious writings of Englishmen John Gill, whose “treatment of the Holy Spirit grew out of his discussions of the Trinity”; and Andrew Fuller, who “offered an instrumental conceptualization of the Holy Spirit not only to his own community, but to hundreds of Baptists in North America

William Brackney who read his work

with authority for generations.” The 19th century saw increased interest in the work and ministry of the Spirit by Baptist Christians in the UK and North America. “The infl uence of revivalism, particularly in 19th century United Kingdom and North America, led to Baptist awareness of a need for an enlarged emphasis on the Spirit,” according to Brackney. Baptists also placed “much emphasis upon the work of the Holy Spirit in evangelism and missions.” Among the noted infl uencers and shapers at this time were Adoniram Judson Gordon, William Newton Clarke, H. Wheeler Robinson and


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