My rereading of Dallas Willard’s Renovation of the Heart sparked many questions for me. One of them has to do with the role of our individual will as it relates to the work of the Holy Spirit. In search of conversation partners, I first turned to Stanley Grenz’s tome, Theology for the Community of God. He reframes the conversation by speaking of God’s proleptic work of salvation and the Holy Spirit’s function of bringing about this process in creation.
In this short essay–Fruit of the Spirit by Gary Simpson–Simpson1 claims that there is only one fruit of the Spirit. That is love. Love is like a stem cell and takes on whatever form the recipient needs in the moment. This is the communal discernment that the Spirit empowers.
- Green, Joel B. Lapsley Jacqueline E. Miles Rebekah Verhey Allen. Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2011. [↩]
Welker, Michael. God the Spirit. 1st English-language ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994.
The Author – Michael Welker
Welker is the Director of the Research Center for International and Interdisciplinary Theology at the University of Heidelberg.
This book has had a significant impact on my research. The key ideas that I glean from Welker are that the Spirit is pluriform and polycentric. In other words, the Spirit takes on many different forms (pluriform) throughout the world, depending upon the place and situation. The Spirit, also, flows from many centers (polycentric), and thus cannot be contained or narrowly defined by one theological construct. The spirit is the field from which theological constructs flow.