Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
June 4th, 2016 by Joel Watts

Without the Holy Spirit

Without the Holy Spirit, God is distant, Christ is merely a historical figure, the Gospel is a dead letter, the Church is just an organization, authority is domination, mission is propaganda, liturgy is only nostalgia, and the work of Christians is slave labor. But with the Holy Spirit, Christ is risen and present, the Gospel is a living force, the Church is a communion in the life of the Trinity, authority is a service that sets the people free, mission is Pentecost, the liturgy is memory and anticipation, and the labor of Christians is divinized. – Ignatius of Laodicea, Bishop, 390 CE

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


One Response to “Without the Holy Spirit”
  1. George Plasterer says

    Wonderful quote. I did a little searching, because I like to site the specific source. One source identified this Ignatius as Ignatius of Laodicea (Orthodox Metropolitan, at the third assembly of the World Council of Churches at Uppsala, in 1968) I was unclear what it meant, but it at least helped me with why it became a popular quote. Usually, of course, with historical figures as far as back as 390 I can easily find an article about him, but such was not the case here. Having said this, I have been reading the view of the Holy Spirit in Pannenberg and Barth, and this quote is for me very consistent with both. Thank you for the concise statement!

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