Taming the Spirit

in Pneuma
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This article explores connections between the decline of prophecy and the evolution of a monarchic mono-episcopate ecclesiological structure in the early Catholic Church. Of particularly interest in this evolution is the attempt to institutionalize the Holy Spirit within the post-apostolic ecclesial structure. This article argues that the Spirit of God is not governed by institutional necessity. Indeed, the freedom and resulting dynamism of the Spirit seems to require a light institutional structure and a radical power inverted vision of church such as seen in the Pauline churches. Hence this article argues that something like a Pauline ecclesiology is needed if the church is to practice an apostolic pneumatology.

  • 3

    Robert BanksPaul’s idea of community (revised edition, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers1994) p. 7.

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    Banksibid. p. 8.

  • 6

    Banksibid. p. 9.

  • 7

    Banksibid. pp. 10-11. As Banks’ comments indicate it is important to remember that the relationship between religion and philosophy in the Greco-Roman world was deep and complex. Regarding Middle Platonism Neoplatonism and astronomy see Walter Burkert Greek Religion (Oxford: Blackwell 1985) pp. 305-338; see also — regarding the deep connective roots between religion and philosophy within the Greek tradition — Francis M. Cornford From Religion to Philosophy (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press 1991); see also — for a fascinating account of how dynamic ‘Dionysian’ and ‘irrational’ belief and cultus was in the Classical world — E. R. Dodds The Greeks and the Irrational (Los Angeles CA: University of California Press 1951).

  • 8

    Banksibid. p43.

  • 10

    Banksibid. p44.

  • 11

    See Jürgen MoltmannTheology of Hope (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press1993). Moltmann points out how intrinsic the eschatological emphasis is to the Hebrew Scriptures and how the Christian church and consequently the Christian Scriptures took this emphasis deeply into its own understanding of itself.

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  • 12

    See Gustaf AulénChristus Victor (London: SPCK1931) regarding the commonly held Christian understanding of the atoning work of Christ before the 10th century.

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  • 13

    See Gordon FeePaul the Spirit and the People of God (Peabody MA: Hendrickson1996) and N. T. Wright Paul (Minneapolis MN: Fortress Press 2009) pp. 108-129 regarding the centrality of Paul’s distinctive pneumatology to his ecclesiology.

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  • 14

    Max WeberTheory of Social and Economic Organization (Oxford: Oxford University Press1947) “Charismatic authority” pp. 358-363; “The Routinization of charisma” pp. 363-385.

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  • 15

    See Martin BuberKingship of God (New York: Humanities Press1990) for a brilliant exegesis of the Book of Judges and its theo-political implications. See Abraham Heschel The Prophets (Peabody MA: Hendrickson 2009) for a fascinating unpacking of the role of the prophets in the life of biblical Israel and the nature of Hebraic prophetic religion. See Walter Brueggemann The Prophetic Imagination (second edition Minneapolis MN: Fortress Press 2001) for a powerful exposition of the marginality of the prophetic voice and imagination and its centrality to the ministry of Jesus and the church in the New Testament era.

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  • 16

    Dodds E. R.Pagan and Christian in an Age of Anxiety (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press1965) p. 3.

  • 18

    Jaroslav PelikanThe Christian Tradition Volume 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition 100 — 600 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press1971) pp. 98-99.

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  • 19

    Feeibid. pp. 1-8.

  • 21

    Dodds E. R.Pagan and Christian in an Age of Anxiety (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press1965) pp. 67-68. The square brackets within this quote are from Dodds’ footnotes.

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  • 26

    See Frank Viola and George BarnaPagan Christianity (USA: Tyndale2008) for some good historical digging demonstrating the profound continuity of the pre-Constantinean pagan imperial cultus with the post-Constentinean Christian imperial cultus. Yet whilst Viola and Barna give close attention to the impact of paganism on Christianity via this transition they do not give much attention to the impact of Christianity on pagan Rome.

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  • 28

    John Howard YoderThe Royal Priesthood (Scottdale PA: Herald Press1998) p. 57: “We have seen that for the early church “church” and “world” were visibly distinct yet affirmed in faith to have one and the same Lord. This pair of affirmations is what the so-called Constantinian transformation changed (. . . the transformation began before 200 AD and took over 200 years) . . . [After Constantine] the two visible realities church and world were fused. There is no longer anything to call “world”; state economy art rhetoric superstition and war have all been baptized.”

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  • 29

    Michael Budde and Robert BrimlowChristianity Incorporated (Grand Rapids MI: Brazos Press2002) pp. 129-153. And certainly we have seen that modern secular political power often expects the church to be a good chaplain to it. See Marion Maddox God under Howard Allen & Unwin Sydney 2005. The role of Christian religion in the public cultus of war is also to this day very striking. See Marilyn Lake & Henry Reynolds (eds.) What’s wrong with ANZAC? (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press 2010).

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  • 30

    See Karl BarthOn Religion (London: Continuum2006).

  • 31

    See Theodor AdornoThe Culture Industry (London: Routledge1991); Jacques Ellul Propaganda (New York: Vintage 1973); John Pilger The New Rules of the World (London: Verso 2003); Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes The Three Trillion Dollar War (New York: Norton 2008); Robert Fisk The Age of the Warrior (London: Harper Perennial 2009).

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  • 32

    Philip JenkinsThe Next Christendom (Oxford: Oxford University Press2002).

  • 33

    Charles RingmaCatch the Wind (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing2003).

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