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When the Spirit Descends

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Some view Christianity in terms of a set of formal doctrinal statements, with little tolerance for charismatic experience; others see it as a dynamic emotion to be freed from the shackles of dogma. Is there a middle ground between sterile orthodoxy and shallow revivalism? Many answers are found in Jan Paulsen’s study of the “neglected person of the Godhead.”

Paulsen wrestles with such questions as How should we understand the Trinity? Is the Holy Spirit a gift yet to be poured out in its fullness? What about charismatic phenomena, such as tongues-speaking? How do we test spiritual gifts? Why are some ranked higher than others? Have some of them been withdrawn from the church? Does the baptism of the Spirit relate to justification? How do we avoid the ultimate sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

Paulsen argues that the stages of the coming of the Spirit in Gospels and Acts represent an unrepeatable history that is not re-enacted in the life of every believer. He views seeking the Spirit for His own sake as an “aberration. Many a sincere seeker…may be led astray by Spirit-enthusiasts who are doing for the Spirit what the Spirit does not seek for Himself.” Yet the Holy Spirit “is no once-for-all deposit at the beginning of the Christian walk. We need to keep coming back for more.” Born in Norway, Jan Paulsen is the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. In 1972, at Tubingen, he became the first Seventh-day Adventist to earn a doctorate in theology from the Protestant faculty of any German university. In 1995, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, from Andrews University.

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ISBN: 9780828014489Author: Format: