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Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in Creation, Redemption, and Everyday Life Paperback – April 25, 2017
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You don’t have to agree with everything that Michael Horton says in this important book, but the main lines of his thought are certainly right and utterly transforming. The Holy Spirit is not “shy.” Nor is he the member of the Godhead who fills in the bits and pieces of our experience that the Father and the Son neglected to take on. By displaying the sweeping work of the Spirit across redemptive history, Horton not only deepens our understanding of Scripture but our grasp of what it means to confess God as triune. And that calls us to deeper worship. -- D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Horton has given us a magisterial account of the person and work of the Spirit that is also a journey through the entire sweep of Christian doctrine. Along the way, he offers rich scriptural insights, engagement with key figures down the millennia and across traditions, and speaks into pressing contemporary concerns, drawing out the implications of a robustly scriptural and Trinitarian pneumatology for faith and life, worship and mission. -- Suzanne McDonald, Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan,
Rediscovering the Holy Spirit is a veritable voyage of theological discovery in the engaging company of expedition leader professor Michael Horton. Plotting a fascinating course through the ocean of biblical theology, he maps out the terrain of systematic theology and sets up landmarks for the faith of the church as she confesses “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” En route he points out some of the breathtaking vistas and glorious panoramas of the Spirit’s divine person and his creating, saving, and consummating activity. The whole expedition is a further demonstration of Mike Horton’s remarkable ability to tackle great themes with both freshness of insight and joy in exposition. Here is a work to which readers will return and find themselves, in concert with the church in every age, gladly bowing in worship to the Holy Spirit “together with the Father and the Son.” -- Sinclair B. Ferguson, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary
Here is a carefully wrought work that reorganizes much of the material we expect to find in a doctrine of the Holy Spirit, connecting things too often bifurcated while distinguishing things too often conflated. This pneumatology pushes and pulls on some of our habitual categories because it attends so carefully to the Holy Spirit as the one who not only reconciles and perfects (the sections on the Spirit in creation and eschatology stand out) but also sanctifies and separates (the Spirit’s role in judgment and consecration is strikingly accented). It is wonderful that Horton says considerably more here about the Holy Spirit than we have heard from him in previous books, but it is equally wonderful that what he says is in keeping with the main lines of his theological project: anchored in the Trinity, spanning redemptive history, and directly connected to the ordinary ministry of the church. -- Fred Sanders, Professor, Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University
About the Author
Michael Horton (PhD, DD) is Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary in California. Author of many books, including The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, he also hosts the White Horse Inn radio program. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and four children in Escondido, California.
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Horton has written numerous books for either academic or popular audiences, and I thought this book suffered a bit by trying to do a bit of both. Thus, while much of the book is accessible for Christians outside of an academic setting, I thought that in some chapters those readers would find themselves completely lost. That concern aside, this was a very helpful read.
I again had to laugh st the above critique who from someone who regularly labels Horton's work, "mud". This guy obviously has an axe to grind as he seems obsessed with attacking perceived political correctness.. His extreme attitudes are injurious to the Reforned faith. Horton's approach reflects his strength as a theologian. I urge all Reformed believers to read and absorb his latest book.
Rediscovering the Holy Spirit aims to emphasize both the distinct personality and operation of the Holy Spirit. Horton begins with the basic theological parameters regarding the person and work of the Holy Spirit. This includes the basics of Trinitarianism and the historical distinction that separates such from certain heresies. Horton quickly moves to a more thematic exploration of the Holy Spirit that loosely follows the trajectory of the subtitle—creation, redemption, and everyday life. Horton is keenly aware of the broader historical theological conversations on the Holy Spirit, and his awareness and sensitivity to the Scripture is unsurpassed. Readers will appreciate the care that Horton take as he explores the above, especially when it comes to uncovering the role and function of the Holy Spirit in the ordinary, day-to-day activities of the Christian life.
The scope and emphasis of Rediscovering the Holy Spirit is reason enough to immerse oneself in its content. From the role of the Holy Spirit in creation to the application of the person and work of Christ in salvation, Horton provides readers with fresh insight rooted in historical Christianity. Some readers will undoubtably turn away from Horton’s acknowledgement that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are equally active today as they were in the New Testament, especially from the Reformed tradition, but this is no reason to overlook the magnificent demonstration of Trinitarian theology that Horton elevates on every page. Horton’s writing style is generally academic in nature, and thus he is scrupulous in his documentation. That said, Rediscovering the Holy Spirit is extremely accessible to the educated layperson and will be more than beneficial for the average pastor.
Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in Creation, Redemption, and Everyday Life by Michael Horton is a thorough demonstration of the person and work of the Holy Spirit from a Reformed perspective. Horton is clear, engaging, and extremely practical. There is something for everyone in this book. It is now the first book that I will recommend when asked about books on the topic of the Holy Spirit. It comes strongly recommended!
At the same time, many (churches, believers), have their focus on Jesus, and so can sometimes attribute works of the Holy Spirit to Jesus. We need to be aware of the distinctions between the two, but not separate them.
Horton tells us that there is a depersonalization of the Holy Spirit (“It”, power, energy, etc.), instead of a person, and a member of the Trinity. He states that the Reformation brought a rediscovery of the Holy Spirit.
His emphasis in the book is:
• The distinctiveness of the Holy Spirit’s person and work, along with His unity with the Father and Son.
• Identification of the Holy Spirit’s operations in Scripture.
He begins by looking at the personal attributes of the members of the Trinity (Father is unbegotten, Son is begotten and the Holy Spirit proceeds), and then looks at the person and work of the Holy Spirit throughout redemptive history, including becoming our new advocate, Pentecost, the Ascension and the last days. He looks at the difference in the Holy Spirit’s presence before and after Pentecost, and the controversial topic of the continuation or discontinuation of the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit.
He looks at the “Golden Chain of Salvation” (Romans 8:30) and the role of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, adoption, justification, sanctification and glorification.
Among the other subjects he looks at are the Holy Spirit and the means of grace, the Holy Spirit and the Word and baptism. I would have liked him to spend some time addressing the idea of a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit in revival. I’ve read books by respected pastors and theologians who fall on both sides of that issue.
Throughout the book, he utilizes Scripture, and also quotes liberally from other authors such as Sinclair Ferguson.
Some of Horton’s books (Core Christianity, Ordinary, for example) are written for a wide audience. This book, however, is an exhaustive and scholarly look at the third person of the Trinity. I believe this book would best be appreciated by pastors and those others who have some theological training.