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God's Love through the Spirit

God's Love through the Spirit

Kenneth M. Loyer
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    God's Love through the Spirit
    Book Description:

    Although the doctrine of the Holy Spirit has often been a neglected subject in theology, it remains vital for understanding both the Christian confession of God as Trinity and the nature of the Christian life. In view of those two topics, God's Love through the Spirit examines the relationship between love and the person and work of the Holy Spirit in Thomas Aquinas and John Wesley - two very different figures whose teachings on the Spirit and the Christian life are found to be, on the whole, surprisingly compatible. An investigation into Aquinas's amor-based pneumatology, including a groundbreaking analysis of his recently discovered Pentecost sermon, and a fresh assessment of the doctrine of sanctification in Wesley show that in distinctive yet largely complementary ways, Aquinas and Wesley provide resources that can be used to reclaim a richer pneumatology, specifically in relation to the theological virtue of love.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2600-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xvi)

    Pneumatology has often been a neglected theme in Christian theology, perhaps especially in the modern West, but it was not always that way. In fact, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, far from being disregarded, has been the subject of considerable attention and elaboration throughout the history of Christian thought. While scholastic theology is not normally championed as a high point in pneumatological reflection, some significant accounts of the Spirit’s person and work originate from the theologians of that period. Among the scholastic doctors, St. Thomas Aquinas provides a particularly developed account of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.


  5. One METHODISM AND THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT: Making Good on the Deficit
    (pp. 1-16)

    John wesley stressed “practical divinity.”¹ As part of this practical approach, he directed his theological teachingsad populum.² Most Methodists, following Wesley, have typically devoted little time and energy to dogmatic theology, with some exceptions.³ Methodism is generally not known for its theological rigor and depth.⁴ In fact, a case can be made that contemporary Methodist theology suffers from a widespread pneumatological deficit, a deficit that ultimately leaves much of what counts for theology among Methodists today sounding as though it is more about us or the worldper sethan about God or about us or the world in...

  6. Two SANCTIFYING LOVE: The Holy Spirit and Sanctification in John Wesley
    (pp. 17-62)

    John wesley would not fit neatly, or perhaps even at all, into the modern category of systematic theology. Wesley did not write sophisticated, sustained treatises on technical doctrinal problems. Rather, he conveyed his theological teachings through a variety of other means that were typically more occasional in nature, such as sermons, tracts, letters, journal entries, and hymns, the latter of which he often published in tandem with his younger brother Charles. Central to Wesley’s “practical theology” is the doctrine of salvation, especially this soteriologist’s deep-seated concern for holiness in love.¹

    While Wesley’s thinking on the subject developed over time, one...

    (pp. 63-100)

    While john wesley primarily used such works as sermons, tracts, and hymns to communicate his theological teachings, Thomas Aquinas is perhaps best known for his sustained, rigorous inquiry into the more technical points of Christian doctrine. To be sure, Aquinas also expressed his theology through sermons and hymns, but his primary mode of theological reflection was the kind of comprehensive, orderly, and intricately reasoned exposition that Wesley, the Oxford don turned leader of a grassroots movement of evangelical and ecclesial renewal, so rarely composed. In short, Aquinas’s writings on the Holy Spirit display a carefully delineated structure as well as...

    (pp. 101-140)

    As shown in the previous chapter, Aquinas’s account of the Holy Spirit as personal love touches at various points upon the doctrine of mutual love, that is, the love by which the Father and Son love one another. Mutual love is a theme that holds significance not only for the task of tracing the subtleties of Aquinas’s technical pneumatology but also for the larger scope of this project on the Christian life in Aquinas and Wesley. What is at stake here in regard to the former is the notion of personal communion within God and a deeper understanding of love...

  9. Five GIFT OF THE SPIRIT: The Holy Spirit, Love, and the Christian Life in Aquinas
    (pp. 141-180)

    The previous two chapters have examined the link that Aquinas perceived between love and the person of the Holy Spirit. Two orienting concerns have emerged thus far in Aquinas’s pneumatology: first, the Spirit as personal love or love in person, and second, the Spirit as the mutual love of the Father and the Son. Proceeding from the Father and the Son as love in person, the Spirit is also their mutual love, in whom is expressed their relation as that of the lover to the beloved.¹ While it is chiefly concerned with the inner life of God as Trinity, this...

  10. Six TOWARD GREATER LOVE: Aquinas, Wesley, and Life in the Spirit
    (pp. 181-276)

    So far this book has included two main sections, an assessment of the problem of sanctification in contemporary Methodist theology and in John Wesley (chapters 1 and 2) and an investigation of Aquinas’samor-based pneumatology (chapters 3 through 5). Now the time has come to integrate the findings discovered in the two main sections above. Doing so will reveal that in distinctive and yet largely complementary ways, Aquinas and Wesley provide resources that can be used to reclaim a richer pneumatology, specifically in relation to the theological virtue of love.

    While the thought of each of these figures has nuances...

    (pp. 277-280)

    The possibility for Thomists and Methodists to continue to grow in mutual understanding and advancement is by no means exhausted within the pages of this book. By way of conclusion, the following five avenues represent further paths to such enrichment.

    First, and rather generally, an immersion in primary texts will help foster greater familiarity across traditions. Rooted in the sources, a sympathetic reading in each direction—Methodists and Wesleyans reading Aquinas and Thomists reading Wesley, as well as Methodists reading Wesley and Thomists reading Aquinas—holds promise for identifying new areas of inquiry that can be fruitfully investigated.

    Second, a...

    (pp. 281-292)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 293-295)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 296-296)