Abstract and Keywords
This chapter presents Barth’s understanding of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Jesus Christ. It demonstrates the way in which Barth’s pneumatology is anchored in his doctrine of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit is understood as the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, the One whose essence is love. But Barth can also speak of the Holy Spirit in such a way that it seems as if the Holy Spirit is identical to the work of the risen Jesus Christ and his ‘prophetic’ work. The reception of the pneumatology of Karl Barth thus confronts the task of relating these dimensions of Barth’s understanding of the Holy Spirit so that the Spirit’s distinct work is preserved. For Barth, this work consists in enabling human beings to respond in faith, with their human possibilities and their freedom, to God’s reconciliation in Jesus Christ. In this faith, the Holy Spirit incorporates human beings into the community of Jesus Christ—the community participates in the reconciling work of God in order to bear witness to God’s work to human beings, all of whom have been elected to ‘partnership’ with God. Barth also understood the ‘solidarity’ of the community with, and the advocacy of the community for, the non-believing world to be a nota ecclesiae (mark of the church). Further, to live from the Holy Spirit, according to Barth, is only possible in praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
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