Pneumatological Feminist Womanist Theologies The Importance Of Discernment

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Pneuma 35 (2013) 61-73

Pneumatological Feminist/Womanist Theologies:

The Importance of Discernment

Frank D. Macchia

Religion Faculty, Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, California


The pneumatological point of departure in the spiritually-gifted community of faith holds prom- ise for a feminist/womanist theology that respects the changing diversity of voices in the body of Christ. This point of departure will reach for discernment, which will lead us to the second article of the Creed. In the process of exploring this discernment, my response addresses related issues, such as gender, the appeal to experience, and the Trinity.


pneumatology, church, Christology, gender, discernment, trinity, complementarianism

I am pleased to have been asked to participate in the helpful essays of this spe- cial issue as a dialogue partner. As one who has benefitted in different ways from an institutional and cultural life biased in favor of males, I am naturally prone to be quick to listen and slow to speak when discussing issues of gender in relation to the gospel. I have learned much from my sisters in the faith over the years, and so I offer this reflection as a way of furthering the dialogue so that I may bless the authors of these essays as they have blessed me. I am grate- ful to the contributors to this collection for raising so many thought-provoking issues and questions. Although I do not always directly address the authors, all that follows is raised in response to their essays. While I try here and there to fill out the issues a bit, I owe the authors much for prompting every topic I discuss. In general, I find the essays to be strong in describing a theological point of departure in the third article of the Creed (pneumatology) and in con- necting the third article with the first (creation or a theology of human experi- ence). The connection of the third article to the second (Christology) could use some development, especially in relation to the way of the cross. I will thus

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/15700747-12341274



F. D. Macchia / Pneuma 35 (2013) 61-73

accent in my response the challenge of discernment in linking a charismatic theology of the Spirit to a theology of the Word.

Affirming the Pneumatological Point of Departure

I will begin by affirming the pneumatological point of departure advocated by these essays for addressing feminist/womanist concerns from within the con- texts of pentecostal communities of faith. This pneumatological point of depar- ture will attend, from the start, to the diversely gifted social base of theological reflection, namely, the community of faith. Lisa Stephenson’s effort to show how pneumatology enhances the second and third articles of the Creed repre- sents a sound and fruitful theological method. This methodology is distinctly pentecostal in the sense that it respects and accents the full spectrum of uniquely embodied gifts: from those gifts, such as glossolalia, that burst forth from the hidden depths to such gifts as interpretation and prophecy that help to grant wise discernment of that which is disclosed. This diversely gifted fel- lowship enjoyed in the Spirit will allow for a sharing of life (self-giving to one another in love and mutual respect) without doing violence to the other but rather by edifying the other in the Lord. We expand ourselves by making room for the others in our lives without manipulating or denigrating them.1 In other words, the Spirit’s gifts are edifying, liberating, and transforming. They are also dynamic, fluid, and open to increased diversification. There is in the Spirit a dynamic sharing of life that encourages the flourishing and expansion of life in justice and mercy.

One could say that the authors of these essays support what Hans Küng has defended as the charismatic structure of the church. Küng noted that the church has historically made the error of defining the charisms from the top down or primarily according to church office. This has implied that the laity are somehow deficiently or only derivatively gifted or are dependent on the office holders for their role in the life of the church. Küng chose instead to define charisms from the bottom up, primarily as emerging from the church’s diversely shared faith. One is then to understand the unique role of oversight from within this larger context of faith as embodied and shared through mul- tiple gifts among all of God’s people.2 Similarly, by starting with the diverse

1  Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Nashville: Abingdon, 1996), esp. 167-90.

2 Hans Küng, The Church (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1967), 363.


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koinonia of the church, Miroslav Volf has also proposed a polycentric under- standing of the centers of influence and ministry in the church.3

Although they affirm a well-established charismatic critique of the church, the essays in this issue have also rightly reminded us that the top-down approach to construing the charisms has been aimed specifically at the mar- ginalization of women. Christ has been improperly wedded to an all-male (or predominantly male) pastoral ministry institutionally structured to facilitate the ministry of the word of God to a largely passive (majority female) congrega- tion of lay persons. This understanding of ministry hinders the Spirit by failing to respect the full participation of diversely gifted women in terms of how the life of the Spirit might be uniquely embodied and given voice among them. As Janice Rees notes, starting with pneumatology and the diverse gifts/embodi- ments of the Spirit has the potential of opening space for a more liberating and egalitarian understanding of the body of Christ. Women have suffered much from the neglect of this diversely charismatic structure of the church and stand to benefit from the emphasis placed on it among many Pentecostal congrega- tions. Within this vision of the church, the Spirit may be said to create “breath- ing room” for women to express themselves and to challenge sexist church structures and practices.

I agree with Yolanda Pierce that Pentecostalism as a renewal movement is in constant danger of succumbing to a counter-institutionalization process that hinders the move of the Spirit. This move of the Spirit originally created the possibility especially for women of color to bring their unique witness to the table of fellowship in ways that subverted larger social and cultural contexts. The winds of the Spirit in renewing us again will certainly seek to challenge that institutionalization process and create possibilities for such women once more, recalling in the process how these women have blessed us in the past. I wonder what would have happened had American Pentecostalism not devel- oped the large denominational structures that allowed them to enter success- fully into the mainstream of American cultural life, but instead had remained throughout its history a movement at the margins of American society.4 Might we not have been better off as a movement of social transformation, so long as we could have also avoided the opposite dangers of social isolation?

3 See Miroslav Volf, After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997).

4 I am grateful to Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen and the late Gerald Sheppard for raising this question for me in different but similar ways in personal conversation.



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Of course, when speaking of a methodological starting point in pneumatol- ogy one cannot separate the ecclesial and secular realms from each other. The churches are porous, since people enter into the world and life of the church from social contexts in which the Spirit is already implicitly present to liberate and heal.5 Moreover, my indebtedness to the theology of Christoph Blumhardt has caused me to view the church as ideally open to the world, willing to learn and functioning as the sign and instrument of the Spirit’s work in the world to fulfill the kingdom of God, a work that is by no means confined to the walls of the church. Yet, the church is still the place at which we enter the world of Scripture in the power of the Spirit and seek to live out the gospel in ways that are liberating and that bear witness to the justice and mercy of God’s king- dom. The diversely gifted life of the church is the social base of theological reflection.

Discerning Gender in Context

From this social base, we can discuss the difficult question of the nature and role of gender in the diversely embodied faith that comes to expression in the church. I appreciate Pamela Holmes’s point concerning how fluid and diverse our understanding of gender distinction is. But we cannot escape formulating such understandings, because we are inescapably and irreducibly “gendered” as persons. I have always been moved by Emil Brunner’s remark that our sexu- ality “penetrates to the deepest metaphysical ground of our personality.”6 By this account there is no generic human separate from gender distinction. We are created in God’s image as male and female (Gen. 1:27). Even those for whom these terms are ambiguous feel compelled to navigate their way through the issues involved in the irreducible fact that we have gendered bodies that are either male or female. Though the mystery of what it means to be human can- not be reduced to this or any other duality (Holmes), we are still left with the unavoidable question of what it means to be male and female.

The question is challenging, since gender difference is variously interpreted through the cultural lens of gender as a social construct. As Holmes notes, there

5 See Amos Yong, Spirit-Word-Community: Theological Hermeneutics in Trinitarian Perspective (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2002), 301.

6 Emil Brunner, Das Gebot und die Ordnungen (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr/Paul Siebeck, 1933), 358. See Paul K. Jewett’s excellent development of this point: Jewett, Man as Male and Female: A Study in the Sexual Relationships from a Theological Point of View (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990).


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can thus be no essentializing of gender roles in ways that unjustifiably limit diversity in the changing and various understandings of gender and its signifi- cance among women. A “strategic essentializing” is possible for Holmes so long as it serves to give voice to a woman’s quest for wholeness or freedom at a given time and within a given context. Such is to be analyzed as contextually relevant for that time and place. Yet, not all understandings of what it means to be a man or a woman are liberating or receptive to the leading of the Spirit. How do we distinguish between those understandings that are in harmony with the Spirit from those that are not?

This question is urgent, because there is a movement gaining momentum in the evangelical churches called complementarianism that arguably essential- izes gender roles in ways that are inherently oppressive to women. Aimed against “evangelical feminism,” complementarians (mostly male in leadership) take several culturally embedded texts from the Bible to universalize as time- less subordinate roles for women in the home and the church. They may speak glowingly of female leadership but they always mean in subordination to male authority. They have made female subordination to male authority an essen- tial and necessary quality of what it means to be a woman.7 By way of response we can make two observations. First, the complementarian view that women can be “equal” with men in essential “personhood” but must be regarded as subordinate to male authority in their functions as women in social relation- ships is untenable. As noted above, there is no possibility of dividing a woman’s “essential personhood” from the way in which this is embodied for her as a female. If she is subordinate by virtue of her womanhood, she is also subordi- nate as a person. Thus, the effort of complementarians to embrace both equal- ity and subordination fails; in my view, their position must be rejected as inconsistently supportive of equality between the sexes. Second, culturally embedded texts that exemplify godliness among men and women are to be applied to very different contexts today in ways that respect the contextual nature of both the texts and the theological reflection formed in response to them. To read as timeless in every detail Paul’s limited effort to apply the freedom of the gospel to what was then naturally understood to be enduring structures of home life (men, women, children, and slaves) is simply poor hermeneutics, out of touch with the “general sense” and direction of the biblical

7 John Piper and Wayne Grudem, “Preface (1991),” in John Piper and Wayne Grudem, eds. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), xv.



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gospel and uninformed about the contextual nature of texts and of theological reflection.

Given the fact that not all understandings of gender are fruitfully open to the liberty of the Spirit, guidance is required that respects the diversely contextual ways of construing the mystery of male and female. If godly examples of men and women are taken from the Bible as guidance in discerning biblical man- hood or womanhood, it must recognize that these texts are not to be viewed as timeless in every respect. Luther’s quest for a gospel in the midst of Scrip- ture’s diverse voices is relevant here. He insisted that the Scriptures be inter- preted “for Christ” and not against him. He even went so far as to say that if someone uses Scripture against Christ, “we shall use Christ against the Scripture.”8 Since God “accommodates” Godself to humanity in speaking to us (Calvin), Scripture must be read critically as well as reverently, with the Scrip- tures’ own gospel of Christ functioning as the ultimate criterion. A helpful place to start is to recognize that a fruitful diversity in the church concerning gender will seek to find its unity in the gospel to which isolated texts bear witness rather than in the cultural realities assumed by these texts (what the Germans termed Sachkritik).

We can note, for example, that Paul assumes as an enduring reality the hier- archy of the ancient home (men, women, children and slaves, Eph. 5:21-6:9), but he also undermines this hierarchy from within by exhorting the man to fulfill his “headship” by mimicking Christ in laying down his life and privilege for the wife just as Christ gave himself up for the church (5:25) and charging the man to recognize that God does not favor masters over slaves. Indeed, the mas- ter and the slave are brothers under the same master in heaven (6:9; see also Philemon 1:16), just as men and women submit to each other as partners under the same Lord (Eph. 5:21). Paul is not just softening male dominance or making it kinder. The way of the cross does much more than this; it shatters this domi- nance from within. In interpreting such texts, the primary thing to remember is that the timeless element is not the institutional framework that Paul both assumes as a given and undermines, but the gospel of freedom and equality that informs his critique.

Scripture offers precedents for our understanding of the freedom of the gos- pel as it affects the relationship between men and women. The creation of male and female in God’s image in Genesis 1 is directly relevant to Genesis 2, in which the reference to their becoming one flesh in is followed by an editorial

8 Martin Luther, Works of Martin Luther XXXIX, 1 (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1915), 47.


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remark about how this joining was to be applied to the patriarchal society of the time: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife” (Gen 2:24). This comment interprets the creation narrative so as to under- mine the patriarchal culture of its time. A man’s parents and household were his social power base; it was the primary place from which he gained his name, inheritance, and social influence. In the ancient world a man’s leaving his par- ents to be joined as one to his wife was a powerful symbol of forsaking privilege in order to identify with the other: not using power to lord over the other but rather sharing power for and with the other.

Christ also shares power with humanity, joining himself to us all in weak- ness in order to grant us his strength. Power in the community of faith is thus the power of redemptive love shared for the elevation and edification of the other. We all mimic Christ in submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph 5:21); we all put on Christ in ways that respond specifically and redemptively to social privilege so as to facilitate the empowerment of those who are disadvantaged (Gal 3:28). I especially like the connection Stephenson makes between putting on Christ and putting on (being clothed with) the Spirit. The church thus embodies its witness diversely through the quality of its shared life in order to show the world that God wishes to create a new human- ity in Christ. To confine the freedom and equality of the gospel to some abstract identity separate from issues of sex or gender politics is gnostic. To essentialize as timeless all elements of texts that address how relationships were structured between men and women in the ancient world is contextually insensitive. Since there is no generic humanity but only a humanity that is specifically and dynamically shaped by a variety of determinants and social interactions, the Spirit’s resting on “all flesh” is also not reducible to generic and totalizing terms (as Michael Welker has shown us).9 Luke thus writes of the filling with the Spirit in ways that specifically address relationships between men and women, young and old, male and female, and rich and poor (Acts 2:17-18), as does Paul (Gal 3:28). The essays in this issue rightly imply that the Spirit will thus fill and lead us in ways that specifically create space for voices that chal- lenge and transform unjust and debilitating social interactions that are pre- served by institutional structures and sanctified by cultural and theological traditions.

9 Michael Welker, God the Spirit (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994), chap. 5.



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Discernment and the Appeal to Experience

As noted above, the need to avoid tendencies that work contrary to the direc- tion of the Spirit’s witness means that a pneumatological point of departure in the diverse gifts of the body of Christ requires discernment. Tongues require interpretation and prophecy requires discerning of spirits. The message of Scripture must be proclaimed and embodied in witness to Christ. After all, cer- tain constructions of reality or forms of experience hinder the move of the Spirit or are immune to the Spirit’s transforming work. All human participation in the work of the Spirit is fallible, even that which is significantly receptive to the Spirit. Women’s experiences add valuable insights that have been neglected for too long. But the value of the experiences shared among us must be dis- cerned. An appeal to experience alone, though vital, is thus not sufficient. The appeal to experience as normative for theology was in the post- Enlightenment context a means of defying authority or revelation granted institutionally from the top down. Theologically, Friedrich Schleiermacher’s appeal to Gefühl (religious feeling or intuition) may be viewed as the most important early response to this post-Enlightenment appeal to experience. For Schleiermacher this Gefühl was an experience, but it was not simply an anthro- pological category or religious a priori akin to human knowing or willing. In fact, Schleiermacher contrasts Gefühl with these terms, using Gefühl in critical distance from the anthropological categories of reason or morality so impor- tant to the Enlightenment. Gefühl was, rather, our capacity for God made pos- sible by God’s encountering us in revelation. After distancing religion from metaphysics and morality, Schleiermacher writes of Gefühl: “all intuition pro- ceeds from the influence of the intuited on the one who intuits, from an origi- nal and independent action of the former, which is then grasped, apprehended, and conceived by the latter according to one’s own nature.”10 As Hans Frei points out, for Schleiermacher the feeling or intuition of absolute dependence that emerges in one’s self-awareness does not point to an encounter with God; rather, it is that encounter made possible by God’s act of revealing.11 In a sense, one can make Schleiermacher a progenitor of correlation theology, since he shares the post-Enlightenment project of seeking to locate a universally valid way of construing our point of contact (Anknüfungspunkt) with God.12 Schleiermacher may be said, however, to have challenged this project as well,

10 Friedrich Schleiermacher, On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988, 96), 24-25.

11  Hans W. Frei, Types of Christian Theology (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 71. 12 As does Frei, ibid., 70-91.


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since his Gefühl was enabled by God and therefore not reducible to a religious a priori accessible to human reason and adequately contained in systems of metaphysics or morality or otherwise placed at our disposal.13

It was Karl Barth’s protest or Nein! leveled against Brunner in 1934 that brought Schleiermacher’s break with this post-Enlightenment project to fulfill- ment. For Barth, revelation as the divine self-disclosure especially (though not exclusively) within the community of faith inspires faith capacities and responses, calling forth analogies of the divine self-giving amidst our faith responses rather than from some essential human quality that is under our mastery and control (the analogy of faith rather than of being). This is not to deny that the Spirit is at work outside of the church opening up capacities for God or analogies of the divine self-giving. The Barthian protest merely suggests that such capacities are not ours to master or manipulate at will or according to self-serving ends. Any effort to do so runs counter to it. The post-liberal proj- ect in which the diverse experiences of faith are viewed as shaped by the scrip- tural texts and core practices of the church may be viewed as Barthian, at least in spirit. Within the context of these core practices, Kevin Vanhoozer seeks to prioritize the canon and, within the canon, Christ as the decisive embodiment of God’s Word for all time. Revelation is embodied for us in this Christ and through this text before it ever emerges by way of response within the diversity of voices empowered by the Spirit that make up Christ’s body in the world.14 Wise discernment is possible only as we seek to harmonize ourselves in our practices with that which is before us in the gospel of Christ (fivefold or other- wise). Experience is vital to this discernment and this process, but an appeal is always made to that which transcends and confronts us in divine-human encounter.

Gender and the Trinity

How we experience God will be influenced by our various experiences as male and female. I respect Elizabeth Johnson’s effort to suggest a particular vision of

13 Bruce McCormack thus sees continuity between Schleiermacher and Barth, arguing that Barth had wrongly viewed Schleiermacher’s Gefühl through the lenses provided by Troeltsch as an anthropological category, a religious a priori. See McCormack, “What Has Basel to Do with Berlin? Continuities in the Theologies of Barth and Schleiermacher,” in Bruce L. McCormack, Orthodox and Modern: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 63-88.

14 Kevin Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical Linguistic Approach to Christian Doc- trine (Philadelphia: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005).



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God drawn largely from images of God in the Bible neglected by male inter- preters. There is a thickness and diversity to how God is imaged in the Bible that women can help us all to appreciate. But Johnson is also clear that God transcends sex or gender distinction.15 If we apply gender to God, whose notion of gender do we essentialize, even deify? Though we are determined by gender distinction and subject to the shifting seas of gender politics, God isn’t. In Genesis 1, humanity shares the distinction of male and female with the ani- mals and not with the Creator. All images both masculine and feminine applied to God in the Bible are thus projected onto God from culturally embedded texts, which is what makes these texts so powerful but also so limited in their application. Since we cannot imagine personhood without gender, this projec- tion is understandable. This is not to say that such texts cannot grant powerful witness to God’s personal love for us, but they cannot be applied univocally to God. Such a God would be an idol, a God of our own making. In my view, the Bible’s descriptions of God tell us nothing directly about what it means to be male or female, masculine or feminine.16 But the relations of the persons in the Godhead do tell us how we can create space for the other in communion with- out either destroying ourselves or manipulating the other toward selfish ends. We can “play” with the variety of images for God in the Bible, some more typically male and some more typically female, without wedding ourselves to any of them or essentializing them in ways that make God into an idol. But we do this best as Johnson does when we apply it to the triune God. A less helpful path taken by some is to feminize the Spirit in contrast to a masculine theology of the Word made flesh. I understand the temptation to feminize the Spirit in contrast to a masculine theology of the Word given the fact that the church has tended to wed Christ to a male clergy and then use this to quench the many voices of the Spirit that have sought to assert themselves prophetically through the words and lives of women. Yet, Christ’s maleness has never been granted any explicit theological significance whether in the Scriptures or the creeds. A theology that has its point of departure among charismatic voices cannot be played off against a theology of the Word; rather, it must reach for the Word for its discernment. Word and Spirit come together in the ongoing discernment at work within the community of faith.17 Without the Word spoken decisively in Christ, the church’s gifted voices lose their point of reference. It is by the Spirit

15 Elizabeth Johnson, She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminine Theological Discourse (New York: Crossroad, 2002), 3-60.

16 I agree here with Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace, 169.

17 Amos Yong, Spirit-Word-Community, part III.


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that we confess Christ as Lord (1 Cor 12:1-3) and are transformed into his image (2 Cor 3:18). Among the many voices of the Spirit there is only one Word, among the many diverse expressions of faith only one faith. Since this Word is funda- mentally a person (the Word or Son made flesh) and not a concept, the Word thus cannot be mastered or manipulated by anyone and, therefore, continues to inspire an expanding diversity of witnesses. This unity of the one and only Word, therefore, if faithfully revered, does not dissolve the diversity but rather expands it. Yet, the expanding diversity cannot dissolve the unity without becoming a cacophony of expressions caught helplessly within a quagmire of self-serving ends.

The way out of this potential quagmire is to view the way of the Spirit as the way of the cross, without which the self-giving interaction of the persons of the Godhead remains abstract, lacking its biblical anchor.18 In taking the way of the cross, Christ resisted alternative paths that others sought to impose on him that would not have been faithful to his unique calling as the Messiah. The way of the cross thus becomes a potent symbol of how Christ resisted the self- serving ends of others in order to remain true to himself and to his calling. He traveled to his destiny against the powers that sought to bend him to their will (“Get thee behind me, satan!”). Yet, Christ’s path was not merely for himself but for others, for his was the path of self-giving love. Welker notes that during his public ministry Jesus enjoined people not to proclaim to others what he had done for them, so that his death and resurrection and not the needs of compet- ing interests may serve as the interpretative lens through which his inaugura- tion of the justice and mercy of the kingdom of God was to be understood and proclaimed.19 The saints thus overcome the powers not by accommodation to powerful forces or by self-serving resistance to these powers, but rather “by the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 12:11) or in a resistance that is directed by redemptive love. So also women will overcome by following in the way of the cross, firm in their resolve to fulfill their unique calling in resistance to the self-serving ends of others but also directed in this path by self-giving love. A theology of the third article will not proceed to the first article without dwelling sufficiently at the second.

Of course, the pneumatological point of departure will also prevent us from viewing the Spirit as merely the mouthpiece of Christ (a colonization of the

18 Anne Hunt thus argues that recent Catholic and Protestant theology has sought to over- come the abstract nature of trinitarian theology by focusing it on the cross. Hunt, The Trinity and the Paschal Mystery (Minneapolis: Liturgical Press, 1997).

19 Welker, God the Spirit, 207-9.



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Spirit by Christ). But neither can Christ be reduced to the prophetic mouth- piece of the Spirit (a colonization of Christ by the Spirit). In harmony with Rees, we can say that Christ and the Spirit work cooperatively in perichoretic “dialogue” or in mutual self-giving. Amos Yong uses the cooperative two hands of Word and Spirit advocated by Irenaeus to secure this mutual work of the Son and the Spirit without dissolving the one into the other or separating them from each other. The Spirit’s work not only continues Christ’s work but is also in a sense its sequel.20 The Word made flesh in the Spirit is yet to be joined by a wonderfully diverse chorus of witnesses in the Spirit. In the story of Jesus, the Spirit and the Word thus work cooperatively in fulfilling the will of the Father. I like Stephenson’s remark about how the Spirit precedes the Word in creation and incarnation. The Spirit prepares the way for the incarnation and serves with the Father to install Christ as Messiah at his baptism. Of course, the obedience of the one and only Son in becoming flesh and in following the lead of the Spirit all the way to the cross is still, in its own right, the point of refer- ence of the Spirit’s witness today. I have tried to develop this balance of Christ and Spirit by using the insight of Irenaeus: The Spirit rests on Jesus so that the Spirit “might get accustomed to dwell in the human race,” working in them the Father’s will and renewing them in the image of the Son.21 I have applied Irenaeus’s saying by noting that the Son bears the Spirit in order to impart the Spirit to us from the fullness of his own Spirit-led life (he is the Spirit Baptizer).22 The Son becomes flesh and is baptized under the Spirit’s anointing, descending as the man of the Spirit into God-forsakenness on the cross so that the God- forsaken through his resurrection and exaltation can be taken up into the realm of the Spirit. It is through this role of Jesus as the Spirit Baptizer that Jesus’ Spirit-led path is opened to a diversity of participants and witnesses.23 The larger trinitarian framework of salvation history is thus our point of arrival, for the koinonia of the Spirit among the saints will reflect the self-giving love enacted for us among the persons of the Godhead in the narrative of the Scriptures. The relationship of the persons in the Godhead is not one of domi- nation, as the complementarians assume in their effort to subordinate women in the home and the church; rather, the relationship is one of mutual depen-

20 Amos Yong, The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh: Pentecostalism and the Possibility of Global Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 214-16.

21  Irenaeus, AH 3.17.1.

22 See Frank D. Macchia, Baptized in the Spirit: A Global Pentecostal Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006).

23 See Frank D. Macchia, Justified in the Spirit: Creation, Redemption, and the Triune God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010), 131-85.


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dence and glorification. The Father is dependent on the Son and the Spirit and they in mutual dependence on each other are also dependent on the Father in the fulfillment of the divine reign.24 The purpose is not one of subor- dination but rather one of glorification and exaltation, for the Father glorifies the Son and the Son glorifies the Father in and through the Spirit, who is then glorified eschatologically in the renewed bodies of the saints gathered in com- munion. The persons of the Godhead share life without dominating or manip- ulating the other, which is what the koinonia of the saints seeks to emulate.25 The eternal “dialogue” of the divine persons is thus more deeply a sharing of life with us as well, since God not only communicates with us but also raises the dead. Ultimately, as Rees notes, the sharing of life in mutual dependence and glorification exceeds eschatologically all of our categories, such as “sub- ject” or “person.”

The eschaton will reveal the true metal of our commitments, and I fear that the results, in regard to how the church has treated women, will not be posi- tive. If the fellowship of the saints is to be likened to a table fellowship, I’m afraid we men have not been very hospitable to our female partners. We have been exclusionary and patronizing, our polite manner exceeded only by our hypocrisy. Metonoia requires repentance followed by a daily yielding to a new direction of life and institution building. Change will take time and require guidance and discernment. The contribution of women to the faith and theo- logical reflection of the church will thus continue to be significant in this discernment process. I trust that my reflections will be taken as a small token of appreciation for the essays in this issue and as an invitation to ongoing dialogue.

24 Pannenberg prefers mutual dependence to the relationship of origin, which tends to subor- dinate the Son and the Spirit to the Father. Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology V.1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988), 259-326.

25 Again in reference to Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace,167-90.


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