In The Spirit Of Life: A Universal Affirmation, Jurgen Moltmann (Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Tubingen, Germany) offers a rich and subtle extension of his trinitarian and christological thought, making bold use of key insights from feminist and ecological theologies, and from recent charismatic movements and a stress on embodiment. The Spirit Of Life is written for a readership that must currently exist in an age of planetary peril, in cultures often hostile to human, animal, and plight life. With his emphatic insistence on the Spirit, Moltmann's clear call to conscience as the one indispensable element for human survival is essential reading for our times and highly recommended for Christians and other truth seekers in search of an enhanced and motivational understanding of spirituality within the context of a contemporary and secular world.
Moltmann has long been recognized as the premier current Christian theologian. This volume, the third in his systematic theology, adresses the important issues of pneumatology to the questions of our time. The Spirit as the Divine Energy of Life is the theme which dominates the discussion. Life prevails in the face of death and darkness. The activity of God's Spirit is reviewed both within and outside of the realm of the Church. This stroke will appear dangerous to some and refreshing for others.
Although Moltmann's universalism is balanced by his other work (particularly "The Crucified God") there is room for concern here on the part of many coservative evangelicals. "Universal" Spirit is emphasized somewhat to the neglect of "Holy" Spirit. Surely one must not necessarily preclude the other, but this is not as well defined as I would have hoped.
Pentecostal and Charismatic believers will find material here both for support and for critique. It is remarkable to find such a thorough and balanced treatment of the charismatic giftings from an author outside of our ranks. His recognition of Pentecostal insights is accompanied by observation of our areas of shortsightedness.
The concern of the Spirit for the redemption of the whole creation is well represented here. Moltmann is critical of mainstream Christianity's neglect of this crucial issue in the realm of pneumatology. If Spirit is directly involved in the creation of the world, so would be the case with the maintainance and redemption of the created order. Ecological concern is an important element of Moltmann's thesis.
The blending of various streams of Christian thought into a constructive theology is impressive. This is a trans-Protestant work which takes seriously the broadness of the Spirit's work as well as the broadness of Christian experience.
No contemporary study of the subject should fail to take seriously this landmark work. As readable as it is scholarly, this incomparable contribution to the study of the Spirit is required reading for students and teachers of theology today.