The departure of the Spirit from theology can occur in two ways.
The first possibility is that theology, whether it is primitive or exceedingly cultivated, whether old-fashioned or, perhaps, most fashionable, will no doubt be practiced more or less zealously, cleverly, and probably also piously. In any case it will certainly be occasionally reminded of the problem of the Holy Spirit. Yet this theology does not muster the courage and confidence to submit itself fearlessly and unreservedly to the illumination, admonition, and consolation of the Spirit. It refuses to permit itself to be led by him into all truth. By such refusal, theology fails to give, in its inquiry, thought, and teaching, the honor due the Spirit of the Father and the Son that was certainly poured out over all flesh for its sake. One moment theology stands in out-and-out fear of the Spirit; in another it plays dumb, perhaps pretending to be better informed or else becoming obstinate in open opposition to him. As soon as the Spirit begins to stir within it, it suspects the danger of fanaticism; or it may rotate in circles of historicism, rationalism, moralism, romanticism, dogmaticism, or intellectualism, while “round about lies green and pleasant pasture” (from Goethe’s Faust, Part One).
When theology poses and answers the question about truth in the above style and manner, it certainly cannot be serviceable to the community which, like itself, is totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. Its effect will be just the opposite! If theology is in the same situation as those disciples of John in Ephesus, who reportedly did not even know that there was a Holy Spirit, then theology must inevitably open the door to every possible, different, and strange spirit that aims ...1
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