Integrating Pneumatology And Christology A Trinitarian Modification Of Clark H. Pinnocks Spirit Christology

Integrating Pneumatology And Christology A Trinitarian Modification Of Clark H. Pinnocks Spirit Christology

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Pentecostal Theology, Volume 28, No. 1, Spring 2006

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Articles

Integrating Pneumatology and Christology:

A Trinitarian Modification of

Clark H. Pinnock’s Spirit Christology

Steven M. Studebaker

Clark H. Pinnock’s Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit is one of the most significant evangelical theologies produced in the last decade of the twentieth century.1 Pinnock has written an innovative, ecu- menical, and constructive pneumatology from within the evangelical tradition and, at the very least, touching the Pentecostal Movement. Pinnock has become an important evangelical dialogue partner for Pentecostals because he respectively treats and converses with Pentecostal theological insight and scholarship. Reflecting and encouraging this convivial rela- tionship, Journal of Pentecostal Theology showcased Flame of Love with review articles of it by prominent Pentecostal theologians Terry L. Cross and Frank D. Macchia, along with Pinnock’s response to Cross and Macchia.2 Pinnock also delivered a plenary address at the thirty-fourth annual meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Theology.3

Flame of Love addresses topics such as the Trinity, creation, ecclesiology, and redemption from the vantage point of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Pinnock dialogues with contemporary theologians and those from the history of Christian thought from a variety of traditions to construct a fresh and vibrant pneumatology. Christology is one of the doctrines that

1

(Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996).

2

Terry L. Cross, “A Critical Review of Clark Pinnock’s Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 13 (1998): 3–29; Frank D. Macchia, “Tradition and the Novum of the Spirit: A Review of Clark Pinnock’s Flame of Love,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 13 (1998): 31–48; and Clark H. Pinnock, “A Bridge and Some Points of Growth: A Reply to Cross and Macchia,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 13 (1998): 49–54.

3

Plenary session: “A Conversation with Professor Clark Pinnock,” thirty-fourth annual meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Theology, March 10–12, 2005.

© 2006 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden pp. 5–20

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Pinnock engages in a way that is unique and even groundbreaking among evangelicals. The result is a Spirit Christology. The contribution this makes to evangelical and Pentecostal scholarship is to give the Holy Spirit a cen- tral role in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Pinnock emphasizes the Spirit’s anointing of Jesus. By anointing Jesus Christ, the Spirit provides him with the power to be faithful to the Father. In a representative statement, Pinnock remarks that “it was the anointing by the Spirit that made Jesus ‘Christ,’ not the hypostatic union, and it was the anointing that made him effective in history as the absolute savior, Jesus was ontologically Son of God from the moment of conception, but he became Christ by the power of the Spirit.”4 The role of the Spirit is, then, to empower the Son to achieve his redemptive purposes. Pentecostals are drawn naturally to the notion of the Spirit empowering Jesus in his redemptive mission because it dovetails with their understanding of the Spirit’s empowerment of believers for ministry. The logic of the theology is that since the Spirit enabled Jesus to fulfill his mission, so also the Spirit enables Jesus’ followers to carry out their mission.5

Although the intent is otherwise, however, conceiving the primary work of the Spirit in terms of empowerment extends a subordination of the Spirit in christological thinking and in the doctrine of grace. This is the case because the Spirit does not play a constitutional role in the incarnation, but rather comes upon something that is already given: namely, the incar- nated divine Son. Thus the consequence of portraying the Spirit empow- ering Jesus’ work is to reduce the Spirit to a super-additum. Transposed to the doctrine of grace the result is the same. The Spirit’s work in the believer, whether understood in the traditional Protestant category of sanctification or the Pentecostal/Charismatic one of empowerment, is an addendum to an already given datum, namely, salvation in Christ. Thus, the problem with Pinnock’s construction is not that it portrays the Spirit enabling Jesus Christ to fulfill his mission, but rather that it misplaces the primary work of the Spirit.

An alternative vision is to see the principal work of the Spirit in the incarnation as uniting the divine Son with the humanity of Jesus Christ. The anointing of Christ’s humanity is the precondition of the union, but the latter is the ultimate and fundamental activity of the Spirit. The uni- tive role becomes clear when Spirit Christology is articulated in terms of

4

Pinnock, Flame of Love, 80–81.

5

Pinnock encourages the correlation between the Spirit’s empowerment of Jesus to fulfill his ministry and the believer’s walk in the Spirit (Pinnock, Flame of Love, 85–86).

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Integrating Pneumatology and Christology: A Trinitarian Modification of Clark H. Pinnock’s Spirit Christology

the Trinity. Stated briefly, Pinnock’s Spirit Christology needs refinement from the perspective of the doctrine of the Trinity. The purpose here is constructive and affirmative in relation to Pinnock’s project. I want to bring a modification to it that gives the Holy Spirit a constitutional role in the incarnation and, thereby, to fortify its Pentecostal nature.

In order to illustrate the advancement that a trinitarian perspective brings to Pinnock’s Spirit Christology, I first outline Pinnock’s account of Spirit Christology and the problematic of identifying anointing as the Spirit’s primary work in the life of Jesus Christ. The second section details the mutual love model of the Trinity, which is implicit but undeveloped in Pinnock’s treatment. Finally, I argue that, based on the Spirit’s iden- tity in the triune God, the Spirit’s cardinal role in the incarnation is that of uniting the divine Son with the humanity of Jesus Christ.

Clark Pinnock’s Spirit Christology

Pinnock begins by noting the traditional overemphasis on Logos Christology in the evangelical tradition. The typical portrait relies almost exclusively on the imagery of the divine Logos or Son assuming humanity. The result is a pneumatological deficit in christological reflection. A case in point is Millard J. Erickson’s The Word Became Flesh, which is perhaps the most extended evangelical account of Christology in the latter twentieth century. Erickson develops the Spirit’s role in the life of Jesus no further than a few comments on his conception based on Luke 1:35.6

Although Spirit Christology critiques the dominance of Logos Chris- tology, it does not supplant Logos Christology. Some scholars do in fact suggest the substitution of Spirit Christology for Logos Christology, but they do so because they operate from a nontraditional trinitarian per- spective, which is not the case for Pinnock.7 In contrast to replacement,

6

Millard J. Erickson, The Word Became Flesh (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991), 23–24 and 39.

7

Roger Haight’s, “The Case for Spirit Christology,” Theological Studies 53 (1992): 257–87 and Jesus: Symbol of God(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1999), 445–66 and 476–91 are important examples of Spirit Christology conducted without adherence to traditional trinitarian theology. For a review of non-trinitarian Spirit Christologies, see Myk Habets, “Spirit Christology: Seeing in Stereo,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 11, no. 2 (2003): 204–9. Pentecostal scholar Harold Hunter critiqued the early non-trinitarian forms of Spirit Christology; see “Spirit Christology: Dilemma and Promise (1),” Heythrop Journal 24 (1983): 127–40, and “Spirit Christology: Dilemma and Promise (2),” Heythrop Journal 24 (1983): 266–77. The Spirit Christology presented here and advocated by Pinnock, how- ever, is immune to his criticisms.

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Spirit Christology that operates from a trinitarian perspective complements the traditional accent on the Logos’ assumption of human nature.8

The benefit of Spirit Christology is that it better reflects the biblical data than does the one-sided emphasis of Logos Christology. The Old Testament defines the coming Messiah in terms of pneumatology (Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; and 61:1). The New Testament presents Jesus Christ fulfilling these expectations. Luke 1:35 and Matthew 1:18–20 portray the Spirit bringing about the incarnation. The activity of the Holy Spirit characterizes the life and ministry of Jesus: the Spirit descends on him at his baptism (Mark 1:9–13; Matt 3:13–17; Luke 3:21–22; and John 1:32–34), leads him into the wilderness and helps him to overcome temptation (Mark 1:12–13; Matt 4:1–11; and Luke 4:1–13), and resurrects him (Rom 8:9–11). Jesus’ consciousness of being Messiah was in terms of bearing the Spirit in a unique fashion (Luke 4:14–21). The early Christians understood Jesus Christ’s ministry as a product of the Holy Spirit’s presence (Acts 10:38). Additionally, the New Testament casts the redemption of Christ in pneu- matological categories. One of the clearest identifications of Christ’s redemption as the gift of the Spirit is John 7:37–39. Developing the springs of living water metaphor previously presented in John 4:13–14, Jesus promises that “he who believes in me… out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water” (7:38), which the narrator clarifies as the gift of the Holy Spirit in 7:39: “Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive.” Thus, assigning a central role to the Spirit in Jesus Christ’s life and redemption has biblical justification.9

Spirit Christology helps to avoid unintentionally subordinating the work of the Spirit to that of Christ. In evangelical and Pentecostal theology, the Spirit is not typically related to the historical life of Jesus Christ. Rather, the Spirit is linked to the subjective application of Christ’s work and thereby subsumed under the category of spiritual illumination and sancti- fication in evangelical theology, and the second work of grace and/or spir- itual gifts in Pentecostal and Charismatic theology. In both cases, an integral work of the Spirit in the fundamental salvific activity of Christ is absent. In contrast, Spirit Christology maintains that the Holy Spirit plays a central role in the incarnation and subsequent ministry of Christ.10

Spirit Christology also emphasizes the life of Jesus Christ as emblematic of the Christian life. Understanding Christ as the pattern of redemption

8

Pinnock, Flame of Love, 80 and 91–92.

9

For Pinnock’s discussion of the biblical texts relating to the Spirit’s activity in Christ, see Flame of Love, 79–80 and 83–91.

10

Ibid., 80 and 91–92.

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is not a form of moral exemplarism in which Christ is primarily a model of ethics and Christian behavior (although he is not less than that). It means that the dynamic empowerment and unity of God in the humanity of Christ is the paradigm of redemption. Pinnock affirms that in Christ God recapitulates by the Spirit’s empowerment what human beings were unable to do in their power. The gospel provides human persons the ability to turn away from sin and live in devotion to God through the power of God’s Spirit.11

Perhaps most importantly, Spirit Christology brings Christology into a trinitarian focus. The incarnation is the result of the activity of the trini- tarian God. The Son is incarnated, but the Father and Spirit are involved in the process that constitutes the incarnation of the Son in Jesus Christ. Pinnock recognizes the trinitarian foundation of his Spirit Christology, but leaves it in respect to the incarnation in an undeveloped state.12 However, the constitutional role of the Spirit in the incarnation needs refinement through a clear consolidation with the doctrine of the Trinity. Articulating the integration of the Trinity with Spirit Christology is the purpose of the following sections. Before developing the case for a Spirit Christology from the vantage of the trinitarian God, however, I first describe the role of the Spirit’s anointing in Pinnock’s Christology and the problematic it poses for a trinitarian Spirit Christology.

Pinnock’s primary metaphor for understanding the Spirit’s work in Jesus Christ is anointing. The biblical warrant for this is that “Christ” lit- erally means “anointed one” and that Jesus Christ identified himself as the one anointed by the Spirit (Luke 4:18). Pinnock interprets anointing as a symbol of empowerment. The Spirit’s anointing of Jesus relates to the Spirit’s empowerment of Jesus to fulfill faithfully his redemptive mis- sion. Pinnock employs a version of kenotic theory to describe the Son’s abnegation of divine prerogatives in the assumption of humanity. In the incarnation the Son divested himself of independent use of divine power and relied on the Spirit for divine operation. In light of the self-emptying of divine power, the incarnate Son drew on the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the mission entrusted to him by the Father.13 The Spirit enabled Jesus Christ to remain faithful to the Father from the temptations in the

11

Ibid., 93–98.

12

Ibid., 92 and 108–11. He does, however, integrate his trinitarian theology with his reformulation of the doctrine of the atonement in the chapter on Christology; see Flame of Love, 102–11.

13

Ibid., 88.

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wilderness to the agonies of the cross.14 He emphasizes the Spirit’s anoint- ing of Jesus to underline the continuity between the Spirit’s work in Christ and the believer. As the Spirit equipped Jesus to follow the Father faith- fully, so the Spirit enables the believer to do so.15 With the accent on the Spirit’s empowerment of Jesus, however, the intrinsic role of the Spirit in the incarnation may be overlooked.

Pinnock’s distinction between Logos Christology as “ontologically focused” and Spirit Christology as “functionally focused” indicates the problem with emphasizing anointing as the primary work of the Spirit in Jesus Christ.16 The implication is that the Spirit has nothing to do with the assumption of human nature by the divine Son because anointing relates to Christ’s function and not to his ontological status. The Spirit does not play an ontological role in the incarnation, but rather a func- tional one. Pinnock remarks that “Jesus was ontologically Son of God from the moment of conception, but he became Christ by the power of the Spirit.”17 The association of the Spirit with Christ’s functions or work, such as overcoming temptation and remaining faithful to the Father, misses the Spirit’s role in bringing about the incarnation itself. It does not allow a constitutive role of the Holy Spirit in the incarnation. Rather, it portrays the Spirit coming alongside of Jesus and assisting the realization of the incarnation of the Son in Jesus’ life.

On the one hand, Pinnock is correct to see the Spirit facilitating the concrete development and expression of the divine Son in the humanity of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, his use of anointing and his under- standing of it in terms of empowerment as the primary symbol of the Spirit’s work neglects the more fundamental role of the Spirit in facili- tating the union of the divine Son with the humanity of Jesus. Moreover, it is this latter activity of the Spirit producing that union of the Son and humanity that is the basis for the Spirit’s empowerment of Jesus Christ to actualize his divine Sonship in his concrete life. The outcome in Pinnock’s account is that the Spirit is a super-additum to the incarnation, even though he does not intend this implication.

14

Ibid., 85–91. 15

Ibid., 93–101. 16

Ibid., 91. 17

Ibid., 80–81.

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Trinitarian Foundation of Spirit Christology

Before giving the rationale for the point that union is the goal of anoint- ing, first I need to establish the trinitarian theology that supports it. The specific form of trinitarian theology to which I appeal is the mutual love model. The mutual love model of the Trinity has a long history in Western theology. Historians of the Christian traditions identify its origin with Augustine of Hippo (354–430). Although overshadowed by the psycho- logical analogy, it features prominently in the thought of central Western theological figures such as Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) and Bonaventure (1217–1274).18 I am indebted to Catholic theologian David M. Coffey, who introduced me to both the mutual love model and Spirit Christology and their intrinsic relationship. Thus, my contribution to Pinnock’s Spirit Christology relies significantly on Coffey’s trinitarian theology.19 The fol- lowing discussion first defines the mutual love model of the Trinity. Next, it shows that the model provides a more biblically comprehensive under- standing of the incarnation than Logos Christology and assigns a consti- tutive role to the Holy Spirit in the incarnation.

The mutual love model posits that the Father from eternity generated the Son and that the Holy Spirit proceeds and subsists as the mutual love of the Father for the Son and of the Son for the Father. Although the cat- egories of knowledge and will of the psychological analogy are used often to elaborate the processions of the divine persons in the mutual love model, they are not consistent with its basic assumption. The mutual love model posits interpersonal relations and not the intrapersonal distinctions of the

18

Edmund J. Fortman, The Triune God: A Historical Study of the Doctrine of the Trinity, Theological Resources (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972), 204–17.

19

Of course, the identification of any conceptual problems with the mutual love model and its application to Spirit Christology should be limited to my appropriation and not transposed to Coffey’s theology. Coffey developed his trinitarian theology and its impli- cations for grace and Christology in a series of books and articles. These are in chrono- logical order: Grace: The Gift of the Holy Spirit, Faith and Culture 2, ed. Neil Brown (Sydney: Catholic Institute of Sydney, 1979); “The ‘Incarnation’ of the Holy Spirit,” Theological Studies 45 (1984): 466–80; “A Proper Mission of the Holy Spirit,” Theological Studies 47 (1986): 227–50; “The Holy Spirit as the Mutual Love of the Father and the Son,” Theological Studies51 (1990): 193–229; “The Theandric Nature of Christ,” Theological Studies 60 (1999): 405–31; Deus Trinitas: The Doctrine of the Triune God (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); “Spirit Christology and the Trinity,” in Advents of the Spirit: An Introduction to Pneumatology, ed. Bradford E. Hinze and D. Lyle Dabney, Marquette Studies in Theology 30 (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2001), 315–38; and “Did You Receive the Holy Spirit When You Believed?” Some Basic Questions for Pneumatology, 36th Annual Père Marquette Theology Lecture 2005 (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2005).

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psychological analogy. The mutual love model affirms that the Father begets the Son from eternity, but it does not illustrate this in terms of the relative intellectual operations of one mind. In the mutual love model, the Son is a subject who loves the Father. The Father and the Son in their concordant love for one another bring forth the Holy Spirit. The personal identity of the Holy Spirit is the objectification of the Father’s and Son’s mutual love. As mutual love, the Holy Spirit’s primary characteristic is union. The Spirit is the love that indissolubly unites the Father and the Son. The identity of the Holy Spirit as mutual love does not depersonalize the Spirit. The Spirit is a unique divine person whose activity is that of uniting the other two divine persons.20

The use of the mutual love model to modify Pinnock’s Spirit Christology is not interposing a foreign theological concept to his theology. He adopts it when he refers to the Holy Spirit as the “bond of love that binds the Father and the Son together in eternity” and presents his social model of the Trinity in terms of its framework.21 Like most who employ the model, however, he also notes the ambiguity of the Spirit’s personal identity as unitive love and affirms that the Spirit is, along with the Father and the Son, a genuine person in the trinitarian God.22

Pinnock also accepts Karl Rahner’s principle that the “‘economic’ Trinity is the ‘immanent’ Trinity and the ‘immanent’ Trinity is the ‘economic’

20

Theologians routinely critique the mutual love model as embodying the Western tra- dition’s preoccupation with divine oneness over and against the primacy of divine three- ness in the Eastern tradition. For examples of this characterization, see Leonardo Boff, Trinity and Society, trans. Paul Burns, Theology and Liberation Series (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1988), 77–85; David Brown, The Divine Trinity (La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1985), 243–44; Colin Gunton, “Augustine, the Trinity, and the Theological Crisis in the West,” in The Promise of Trinitarian Theology, 2d ed. (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1997), 32; Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), 96–97 and 101; Jürgen Moltmann, Trinität und Reich Gottes: zur Gotteslehre (Munich: Kaiser, 1980), 166 and 193–94; and John D. Zizioulas, Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church, Contemporary Greek Theologians 4 (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985), 17 and 87–88.

For a criticism of the oneness-threeness/Western-Eastern/Augustinian-Cappadocian par- adigm’s problematic premise that the mutual love tradition cannot incorporate a relational understanding of the Trinity, see my “Jonathan Edwards’s Social AugustinianTrinitarianism: An Alternative to a Recent Trend,” Scottish Journal of Theology 56 (2003): 268–85.

21

Pinnock, Flame of Love, 92, 21, 37–40. In a later article on the social Trinity, although Pinnock sees his notion of the Trinity as a communion of love as a development of the Augustinian mutual love model, its connection is less explicit than it is in Flame of Love (Pinnock, “God’s Fair Beauty: The Social Trinity,” The Spirit and Church 4, no. 1 [2002]: 67–80).

22

Pinnock, Flame of Love, 40–42.

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Trinity.”23 Rahner’s axiom requires coalescence between the trinitarian God and the redemptive activities of God. Since God is the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, redemption must reflect the triune structure of God. The unique identities of the divine persons determine their redemp- tive missions. The Father sends the Son and ultimately the Holy Spirit in redemption (Luke 11:13 and 24:49; Acts 1:4–9 and 2:1–4; and John 14:16 and 25 and 15:26) because the Son and the Holy Spirit eternally proceed from the Father. The Son comes as the revelation of the Father (John 1:18) because he eternally subsists from the Father as the communication of the Father. The Holy Spirit subsists as the eternal mutual love who binds the Father and the Son in love and, therefore, serves an assimilative role in the incarnation and grace (Eph 2:18 and 3:16–17).

Theology refers to the economic activity attributed to one divine person as a mission. Traditional theology has identified the incarnation as the proper mission of the Son, so that it is not appropriate to consider the Father or the Holy Spirit as being incarnated. The identity of the Son as the divine person from the Father renders him the only divine person appropriate for incarnation. The Son descends and assumes humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. The biblical basis for this is John 1:1, which states “the Word was God,” and John 1:14, which specifies that this Word “became flesh.” The foregoing theology is called Logos Christology, because it highlights the incarnation as the Son’s assumption of humanity.

The problem with Logos Christology is not that it identifies the Son as the divine person united to the humanity of Jesus Christ, but rather that it is too exclusive from a biblical perspective. The conceptual foun- dation of Logos Christology is the Gospel of John. However, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke describe the incarnation as a result of the Spirit’s activity. Matthew attributes the conception of Jesus to the Holy Spirit and the effectiveness of his redemptive ministry to his pneumatic conception (Matt 1:18–21). Luke’s account clarifies that the identity of Jesus as the Son of God is the product of the activity of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). The Synoptic Gospels, therefore, define the Spirit’s work in constitutional terms. The mission of the Spirit is not limited to empowering the ministry of Jesus Christ, but more profoundly it is essential to his identity as the incarnation of the divine Son. Therefore, the christological language of John 1 that emphasizes the incarnation of the Word needs integration with the pneumatological emphasis of the conception narratives of Matthew

23

Ibid., 32. For Rahner’s articulation, see Rahner, The Trinity, trans. Joseph Donceel; intro. Catherine Mowry LaCugna (1970; reprint, New York: Crossroad, 1998), 22.

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and Luke. Spirit Christology seeks to redress the traditional Logos Christology that tends to neglect the Spirit’s function in realizing the incar- nation by coordinating the Johannine and Synoptic accounts.

The mutual love model provides a trinitarian understanding of God that brings together the two biblical accounts of the incarnation. It accom- plishes this task by placing the Spirit’s work in proper focus. As noted, the personal identity of the Holy Spirit defines the Spirit’s role in the two fundamental redemptive activities of God: incarnation and grace. Since the Spirit is the mutual love who unites the Father and the Son, the Spirit’s role in the economy of redemption is also one of fusion. Moreover, the Spirit’s activity in the incarnation correlates with the Spirit’s activity in grace, although in an analogous and not completely symmetrical manner. Our main concern here, however, is with the incarnation.

In the immanent Trinity, although the love between the Father and the Son is mutual, a certain priority (without, of course, admitting any tem- poral sequence) pertains to the Father’s love for the Son. The reason for this is that the Son subsists as the perfect objectified self-communication of the Father. The Father bestows his love on the Son, who then returns love to the Father. The Holy Spirit subsists as the unifying mutual love of the Father and the Son. Based on the principle of the congruity between the immanent and economic Trinity, the redemptive process should reflect the outgoing of love from the Father to the Son and the return of love to the Father from the Son.

Coffey specifies that the identity of the Holy Spirit in the incarnation is mutual love; the Holy Spirit is the Father’s love for the Son in the incarnation and the incarnate Son’s returned love to the Father.24 The iden- tity of the Holy Spirit in the mutual love model includes three indispensable elements: the Father’s love for the Son, the Son’s love for the Father, and the Spirit as the mutual love that unites the Father and the Son. The sec- ond element or the Son’s returned love to the Father is essential to the model. If the Holy Spirit’s economic work in the incarnation matches the Spirit’s immanent identity, then the Spirit’s role in the incarnation must reflect the mutuality of the love between the Father and the Son because it is their mutual love that establishes the Spirit’s personal identity. The Holy Spirit, as mutual love, must be both the Father’s love that brings about the incarnation and the incarnate Son’s return of love to the Father.25

24

Coffey, “A Proper Mission of the Holy Spirit,” 232.

25

Coffey also calls this the centrifugal and centripetal aspects of the economy (Coffey, “The ‘Incarnation’ of the Holy Spirit,” 470).

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The details of the life of Jesus Christ allow interpretation in terms of the structure of the mutual love model.

Stated in summary, the Holy Spirit creates, sanctifies, and unites the divine Son with the humanity of Jesus Christ. Central to this understanding is that the Spirit’s economic work terminates in uniting the Son with the humanity of Christ and that this unifying activity of the Spirit is equivalent with the economic communication of the Father’s love. The Spirit’s role in the incarnation, then, includes two fundamental facets: the Spirit is the love of the Father expressed ad extra and the Spirit unites humanity with the divine Son. Moreover, the latter is the necessary result of the former. With the basic trinitarian theology expressed, we can turn to develop the trinitarian rationale first for the Spirit as the Father’s love and then for the Spirit’s unifying activity in the incarnation.

Coffey interprets the activity of the Spirit in the conception narratives as the radical expression and bestowal of the Father’s love toward and on humanity that achieves the incarnation of the Son. He sees it as an act of the Father’s love because it reflects the essence of love, which is self- offer. Self-offer as the essence of love derives from the notion in the Gospel of John that Jesus Christ loves believers by giving his life for them and ultimately his presence to them through the Holy Spirit (John 7:37–39; 14:15–21; 16:12–15; and 20:19–23).26 An additional biblical basis for identifying the Spirit as the Father’s love is John 3:16: “for God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son.” The Father’s love is equivalent with sending the Son; God loves the world by sending the Son. Thus, John portrays the sending of the Son as an act of the Father’s love, which, according to the trinitarian model, is the Holy Spirit.

The union of the Son with the humanity is the inevitable result of the economic expression of the Father’s love. The divine Son is the proper term of the Father’s love, and thus all secondary objects of his love are brought into union with the Son. In other words, the term of the Father’s love is ultimately always the Son, so that when the Father’s love for humanity is objectified in the economy it brings the humanity into exis- tence and into union with the Son. The creation of the humanity is nec- essary, otherwise the objectification of the Father’s love in creation would not transpire. The union of the humanity with the Son takes place because all expressions of the Father’s love have the Son as their final end and, therefore, bring the object into union with the Son.

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Coffey, Deus Trinitas, 38.

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At this point, we can provide the theological integration of the Johannine and Synoptic Gospel incarnation narratives. The Synoptic Gospel conception narratives state that the Holy Spirit actualizes the incarnation. The Gospel of John presents the incarnation in terms of the Logos descending and assuming humanity. A legitimate theological conclusion is that the sending of the Son in the Gospel of John and the pneumatic conception in Matthew and Luke refer to the same reality. They both point to the union of the divine Son with humanity by the Father’s expression of love objectified in the humanity of Christ. John identifies the incarnation as the product of an act of the Father’s love and the Synoptic Gospels as an act of the Holy Spirit; thus, the conclusion is that the Holy Spirit is the love of God expressed ad extra who unites the divine Son with humanity in Jesus Christ.27

To this point, I have shown that the Holy Spirit is the Father’s love that brings about the incarnation. However, the illustration of an essential aspect of the Spirit’s personal identity remains outstanding in the economy of redemption. The Spirit as the mutual love of the Father and the Son requires demonstration. Specifically, it is left to show that the Holy Spirit is also the incarnate Son’s returned love to the Father. The incarnate Son’s return of love to the Father is necessary for the Spirit to be in the econ- omy of redemption what the Spirit is in the immanent Trinity. In order to elucidate this, Coffey returns to the Gospel of John and draws on Rahner’s principle of the indivisibility of the love of God and neighbor.28

Coffey argues that Scripture depicts Christ communicating his pres- ence to believers by sending the Holy Spirit (John 14:16–18 and 16:5–7). Christ is present with his followers through the presence of the Spirit. Coffey reasons that since the essence of love is self-offer, to give oneself over to another is love. Understanding love as self-offer or self-commu- nication is not primarily a philosophical principle, but a biblical one. As previously indicated, the self-communication of God in Christ is an act of God’s love. God loves human beings by becoming “God with us” or Emmanuel (Matt 1:23). Since Christ gives his presence by giving the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Spirit is Christ’s love shed on his followers.29 Moreover,

27

Coffey, “A Proper Mission of the Holy Spirit,” 231; Deus Trinitas, 35–38; “The ‘Incarnation’ of the Holy Spirit in Christ,” 479–80; “Spirit Christology and the Trinity,” 324–25.

28

For Rahner’s discussion of this point, see Karl Rahner, “Reflections on the Unity of the Love of Neighbor and the Love of God,” in Theological Investigations, ed. Karl-H. and Boniface Kruger (Baltimore: Helicon, 1969), 6:231–49.

29

Coffey, Deus Trinitas, 38, and Grace, 149–55.

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with recourse to Rahner’s insight of the inseparable nature of the love of God and neighbor, Coffey argues that the love of Christ expressed toward believers is the same love of Christ for God the Father. He refers to Christ’s love for the Father as the “incarnation” of the Holy Spirit. He does so because in the death of Christ human nature, through its union with the divine Son, attains its highest possible expression of love to God. Jesus Christ, as the incarnate divine Son, radically loves the Father by yielding himself over to death, which is his realization of utter devotion to the Father and to the rest of humanity.30 Since the Son’s love for the Father in the immanent Trinity is the Holy Spirit, his love for the Father in the incarnation is also the Holy Spirit, but it is an “incarnated” love because it is the Son’s love expressed through Christ’s humanity. Thus, the eco- nomic activity of the Holy Spirit displays the full personal identity of the Spirit as the mutual love of the Father and the Son. The economic expres- sion of the Father’s love that unites the humanity with the divine Son and the incarnate Son’s reciprocation of love to the Father and his disciples economically objectifies the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit as the Principle of the Hypostatic Union

Having established the Holy Spirit’s role in the incarnation from the perspective of trinitarian theology, we can return to Pinnock’s Spirit Christology and offer a revision of it. Pinnock’s identification of anoint- ing as the Spirit’s primary work in the life of Jesus Christ has two limi- tations. First, anointing emphasizes the Spirit’s empowerment of Jesus. As such, it does not correlate the work of the Spirit in the incarnation with the personal identity of the Holy Spirit in the trinitarian Godhead. Second, anointing does not correct the pneumatological deficit in tradi- tional Christology, but rather continues it by seeing the Spirit’s work as one that empowers an already given incarnate divine Son. The Spirit Christology devolving from the mutual love model effectively resolves these two issues.

The work of the Spirit in the incarnation culminates in uniting the divine Son with the humanity of Jesus Christ. The unitive role of the Holy Spirit in the incarnation derives from the Spirit’s immanent identity as the mutual love of the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is the divine person who brings the Father and the Son into union and, therefore, is also the divine person who draws the Son into unity with the humanity

30

Coffey, “The ‘Incarnation’ of the Holy Spirit in Christ,” 477–80.

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of Christ. This conclusion rests on a unification of the incarnation with trinitarian theology. Moreover, it does not deprecate the biblical description of Jesus Christ as the “anointed one.” It does, however, maintain that anointing is not an end in itself, but that it leads to hypostatic union. The Spirit’s anointing of the humanity is the sanctification of the humanity that makes it fit for union with the divine Son and then brings it into union with the Son. Thus, seeing the Spirit as that divine person who unites humanity and the divine Son in the person of Christ gives symmetry to the economic and the immanent Trinity.

Identifying the hypostatic union as the Spirit’s primary work gives the Spirit a constitutional role in the incarnation. The conceptualization allows a reformulation of Pinnock’s association of Logos Christology with Christ’s ontological or personal status and Spirit Christology with his function. Pinnock’s notion does not assign a role to the Spirit in the incarnation itself or the ontological status of Jesus as the incarnate divine Son. The hypostatic union is already established and expressed theologically in terms of Logos Christology. According to Pinnock’s Spirit Christology, the Spirit facilitates the already incarnate divine Son to accomplish his redemptive mission. The placement of the role of the Spirit in the functional category and not the ontological one introduces an extrinsicism of the Spirit to the theology of the incarnation. It does so because the Spirit plays no role in establishing the incarnation.

With recourse to the mutual love model, we can posit an intrinsic role to the Holy Spirit in the incarnation. In respect to the person or ontological status of Christ, the anointing of Jesus Christ is the Father’s bestowal of the Spirit that creates, sanctifies, and brings the humanity into union with the divine Son. Functionally or in the experience of Jesus the anointing empowers the humanity itself to attain its full realization of divine Sonship through its union with the divine Son. The anointing is not a particular empowerment for this or that miracle or act of faithfulness or even a per- manent power that rests on Jesus, but the fundamental elevation of the humanity of Christ that enables it to achieve union with the divine Son and then to attain the actualization of the divine Son in and through the humanity of Jesus. Additionally, the functional anointing reaches its term or goal in the experience of Jesus when he attains to the full expression or realization of the divine Son in the humanity through his radical act of faithfulness to the Father in the cross and resurrection, and subsequently in his return/ascension to the Father. The critical point is that the onto- logical and functional realities of Christ are not really distinct, but rather the latter derives from the former. Moreover, the Spirit is central to both

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who Christ is and what he did. Ontologically, Jesus Christ is the union of the divine Son with humanity because the Spirit creates, sanctifies, and unites the humanity to the divine Son. Functionally, Christ can perform his redemptive mission precisely because of the activity of God’s Spirit in realizing the hypostatic union.

At this point, it is appropriate to state why the Spirit Christology pre- sented here advances a Pentecostal Christology. The modification of Christology with “Pentecostal” raises the broader issue of pinpointing the unique feature of Pentecostal theology vis-à-vis other theological tradi- tions and movements. A number of Pentecostal scholars maintain that a deliberate integration of the Pentecostal experience of the Spirit with theo- logical reflection is the key distinguishing factor of Pentecostal theology.31 The move toward interfacing theology with religious experience is legit- imate primarily because it is experience of the Spirit; although, as Amos Yong makes clear, the discernment of the Spirit is crucial.32 This is true for analyzing and incorporating religious experience in both Christian and non-Christian contexts. However, moving away from modes of theolog- ical expression that marginalize the Holy Spirit is also central to what defines Pentecostal theology. A robust pneumatology should characterize Pentecostal theology. A Pentecostal theology is not only one that reflects on experience and, on the basis of this, modifies perceptions of the Spirit, but one that conceives the breadth of Christian thought with an integral pneumatology. Pneumatology has been largely absent from Pentecostal accounts of Christology. The case presented here attempts to set forth a

31

For examples, see Terry L. Cross, “A Proposal to Break the Ice: What Can Pentecostal Theology offer Evangelical Theology,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 10, no. 2 (2002): 44–73, and “The Rich Feast of Theology: Can Pentecostals Bring the Main Course or Only the Relish Tray?” Journal of Pentecostal Theology16 (2000): 32–36; Cheryl Bridges Johns, “The Adolescence of Pentecostalism: In Search of a Legitimate Sectarian Identity,” Pentecostal Theology 17 (1995): 3–17; Steven J. Land, Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom, Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series 1, ed. John C. Thomas, Rick D. Moore, and Steven J. Land (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993), 34; James K. A. Smith, “Scandalizing Theology: A Pentecostal Response to Noll’s Scandal,” Pentecostal Theology 19 (1997): 234–37; and Amos Yong’s response to Smith: “Whither Systematic Theology? A Systematician chimes in on a Scandalous Conversation,” Pentecostal Theology 20 (1998): 85–93.

32

Amos Yong, Beyond the Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological Theology of Religions (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003), 129–92, and Discerning the Spirit(s): A Pentecostal-Charismatic Contribution to Christian Theology of Religions, Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series 20, ed. John C. Thomas, Rickie D. Moore, and Steven J. Land (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000).

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Pentecostal Christology by retrieving the Spirit from the periphery and restoring the Spirit to the center of Christology.

Conclusion

In Flame of Love, Clark H. Pinnock advocates and points the way for evangelicals and Pentecostals to re-envision Christology in terms of a Spirit Christology. He does so by highlighting the Spirit’s anointing or empowerment of Jesus Christ’s redemptive mission. Pentecostals should follow the direction indicated by Pinnock, but also extend its pneumato- logical dimension. The reason for this is that Pinnock’s formulation does not specify the Spirit’s role in the incarnation itself. The result is an implicit (although not intentional) dislocation of the Spirit from the constitutive activity that produced the incarnation of the divine Son. Formulating a Spirit Christology from a fundamental trinitarian theology furthers the pneumatological orientation of Pinnock’s proposal. Specifically, the mutual love model of the Trinity offers a way to posit an integral role for the Holy Spirit in the incarnation. Based on the Spirit’s identity as the mutual love who binds the Father and the Son in an indissoluble union, the Spirit is the divine person who brings the humanity of Jesus Christ into per- sonal union with the divine Son. By correlating the Spirit’s personal iden- tity in the immanent Trinity with the Spirit’s role in the incarnation, pneumatology attains a constitutive role in Christology. Moreover, the correlation of pneumatology, the Trinity, and Christology assigns the Holy Spirit an essential role in the incarnation and in so doing reinforces its use as a Pentecostal Christology.

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