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Musings on Anabaptist Pneumatology

February 7, 2012

Anabaptists talk more of “following Jesus” than “life in the Spirit”, rightly so in my opinion. However, does this practice indicate a lack of pneumatology? Not necessarily. The Spirit makes the difference between worshipping the Lamb and worshipping the ‘idea’ of the Lamb, and implicit in the distinction are anthropological assumptions about the way idealism has distorted our conception of human desire. Anabaptist worship ought to be eucharistic, not because ‘eucharistic’ indicates in the first instance a kind of form, but because its content is ‘the Lamb’. A long synergy of form and content has created what we now call eucharistic worship. However, the centre of it is formative/formational/transformative adoration of Jesus Christ in all his cruciform historicality. What interests me is the relationship between that (essentially anthropological) notion of ‘adoration’ and the Spirit. It seems that we cannot avoid talking of ‘life in the Spirit’ because life in Adam is shaped by a defensive, self-possessive mode of being, in relation to which adoration is the converse. Ideas do not interrupt one mode of being and inaugurate another. The relationship between the history of Jesus and our history/histories cannot be mediated by ideas.

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