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The Holy Spirit (Contours of Christian Theology) Paperback – January 23, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Contours of Christian Theology
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (January 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830815368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830815364
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This series has been around for over a decade now and has established itself as providing learned yet accessible treatments of key topics in systematic theology. The authors are not only fine theological thinkers, they are also passionate churchmen with a love for God's people and a desire to see the church grow in her knowledge of grace. Each volume blends exegesis, theological synthesis and judicious dialogue with the history of theology to provide an excellent treatment of the chosen topic. Highly recommended for thoughtful Christians who want to deepen their knowledge of Christian theology." (Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary)

"Read everything in the IVP Contours of Theology series. Pure gold." (Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan)

"This excellent volume takes its place in the Contours of Christian Theology series between The Work of Christ and The Church. It is a very able exposition of the orthodox Reformed understanding of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The style is attractive without losing accuracy; thus the book is more readable than many theological volumes that tend to be skeletal. The wholehearted commitment to Scripture is manifest through abundant references and crisp exegesis of some difficult passages. One can see here the valuable combination of a mind permeated with revealed truth with a sense of the profound unity in diversity of the various administrations of the covenant of grace. We might note the insights concerning the correlation of the three Persons of the Trinity, the relationship between the Old and New Testament in the unity of the redemptive purpose of God, the connections between the various elements of soteriology, the modern discussions about cessation or continuation of supernatural gifts, not to mention many other topics. The author is well informed, lucid in the presentation of his views and in the discussion of alternative positions. More than many other theologians he is serene in his conscious obedience to the teaching of Scripture and therefore generous toward those with whom he differs." (Roger Nicole, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida)

"Sinclair Ferguson has done an extraordinary piece of work. This is the most comprehensive treatment of the person and work of the Holy Spirit from a Reformed perspective since Abraham Kuyper." (R. C. Sproul, Ligonier Ministries)

"In characteristic fashion Sinclair Ferguson has once again provided thoughtful readers with a wise, comprehensive, balanced and thoroughly biblical treatment of an important area of theology--the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. All the major questios and texts are treated, and the chapter on 'The Cosmic Spirit,' which deals with universalism, is itself worth the book's price." (James M. Boice, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

"Because this book is thorough and reliable, fresh and full of insight, and its tone is pastoral and constructive, it is among the best treatments of this subject." (David Wells, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary)

About the Author

Sinclair B. Ferguson is senior minister at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina, and serves as professor of systematic theology at Westminster Seminary in Dallas, Texas.

More About the Author

Sinclair B. Ferguson is the senior minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina, and professor of systematic theology at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas. He is the author of several books, the most recent being By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me. Sinclair and his wife, Dorothy, have four grown children.

Customer Reviews

I found this book to be very difficult to follow.
RGB_R
Book was received within the specified time and its condition was as advertised.
Jeffrey Fullam
Ferguson provides a refreshing study of the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
Paul

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By J. F Foster on December 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book by Ferguson is now 7 years old, but it remains an essential treatment of the Holy Spirit from a Reformed perspective. As Ferguson aptly notes early on, fascination with the work of the Holy Spirit has greatly increased in the last 100 years in Christian circles, but knowledge and understanding of the Spirit Himself remains more elusive than ever it seems. This book is a wonderful remedy to this starvation.
Ferguson takes a very mild mannered tone throughout his presentation. Even the section of the book where he registers his sharpest theological disagreement (in this case, with Grudem), he is charitable and properly recognizes the importance of theology's role to increase understanding and knowledge, but also the depth of Christian community.
As is to be expected from a book written by a professor from Westminster Seminary, the reader can expect to get a healthy dosage of Vos/Ridderbos Biblical theology in here. Ferguson adopts the favored Westminster view that the New Testament needs to be seen within the context of redemptive history, and particularly eschatology. As a result, Ferguson's treatment of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit is seen within an eschatological context that stresses His role in the 'already/not yet' period of the coming of the Kingdom. What this means is that a reader who picks up this book who is enamored more with a systematic theological approach will find a different approach undertaken here. Particularly in Ferguson's treatment of the ordo salutis, the scholastic approach is mostly spurned in favor of a Biblical Theological approach that stresses the believer's unity in Christ within redemptive history as the predominate motif of the Spirit's work.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Brian G Hedges on May 10, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sinclair Ferguson's biblical-theological treatment on the Holy Spirit is a rich and sumptuous theological feast for any serious-minded believer who wants to know more about the so-called "shy member of the Trinity." In eleven meaty chapters, Ferguson gives a comprehensive, if not exhaustive, biblical overview of the person and work of the Holy Spirit, all along the way drawing on historical theology and charitably interacting with perspectives different from his own.

Chapter one, "The Spirit and His Story" surveys the Old Testament's more shadowy teaching on the Holy Spirit with a careful biblical-theological approach. "The Spirit of Christ" (chapter two) is an exceptionally rich chapter on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus. Christ is seen as the quintessential "Man of the Spirit." Because his entire life was lived in the Spirit's power (Ferguson starts with his conception and moves through the various aspects of Jesus' life all the way to exaltation), Jesus is now the "Lord of the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:18) - the One who sends the Spirit to his church to reproduce the "human holiness" of which he (Jesus) is the pattern.

This moves into the next two chapters, which focus on "The Gift of the Spirit" and "Pentecost Today?", exploring the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost and its significance in redemptive history and for believers today. "The Spirit of Order" (chapter five) discusses the ordo salutis (order of salvation) and how the Spirit applies the redemptive work of Christ to the individual believer. This is an excellent chapter which focuses on union with Christ as the central motif for understanding how the Spirit applies salvation in our lives.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Paul on March 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ferguson provides a refreshing study of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. His approach is neither topical nor controversial, but rather a biblical-theological development of the Spirit as He is revealed in Scripture. Unlike so many speculative studies of the Holy Spirit, this book evidences a balanced exegetical approach. Highly recommended.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By RGB_R on February 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be very difficult to follow. Perhaps this is because it is as the Preface states, the book was written for students in academia. I would suggest that for those who are newbies to theology or this issue, that they might consider starting with say ... another book (e.g. see Graham Cole) and then move on to this book later.

Ok. That said... some comments about what you can find discussed in the book.

The book starts off with two prefaces. One by Gerald Bray and another by Ferguson itself. Then what follows are 11 chapters.

In chapter 1, we find mostly a discussion of Pneumatology (doctrine of the Holy Spirit(HSP)) as found in the the Old Testament(OT). A discussion of some Greek and Hebrew terms such as ruach and pneuma is given. Ferguson suggests interestingly enough that of the various possible meanings that can be suggested for the terms, the most dominant one is Scripture is that of power. The OT emphasis is "overwhelming energy."

Chapter 2 is concerned with tracing the ministry of the HSP in the life of Jesus Christ. One question that Ferguson raises and answers is: Why was there any need for a coming of the HSP at Jesus' baptism if Jesus was born full of the Spirit? Good question. Read it to find out what Ferguson says.

Chapter 3 concerns the pouring out of the Spirit on Pentecost. Ferguson also points out that there are four aspects to the HSP's ministry that help us to understand who He is and what He does. Also included in this chapter, is a discussion of Filioque.

Chapter 4 has to do with the continuities and discontinuities associated with Pentecost. Can Pentecost or Pentecost-like events be repeated today? Ferguson's answer is no.
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