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Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit [Paperback]

By Clark H. Pinnock (Author)
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Item description for Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit by Clark H. Pinnock...

This magnum opus from one of evangelicalism's most stimulating theologians. Pinnock's systematic theology examines the centrality of the Holy Spirit to the church's life and witness, and invites us to move beyond rationalism to recover "intimacy and immediacy" with God. A theological bridge of mainstream, evangelical, and charismatic thought.

Publishers Description
Voted one of Christianity Today's 1997 Books of the Year In what may be regarded as his magnum opus, Clark Pinnock here turns attention to the vital Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Writing out of wide learning and deep personal passion, he shows us the way to restore the oft-neglected Spirit to centrality in the life and witness of the church.Pinnock explores the doctrine of the Spirit in relation to other key doctrines such as the Trinity, creation, Christology and the church. Never one to duck the difficult or sensitive questions, he also examines issues of the Spirit's universality, gender language for the Spirit, and charismatic gifts.Pinnock intends his book to be catholic (in the sense of respecting the beliefs and worship of the historic church) and evangelical (drawing particularly on the heritage of the Reformation). Always in sight is the mission of the church, for "people want to meet the real and living God and will not be satisfied with a religion that only preaches and moralizes." He concludes, "Only by attending to the Spirit can we move beyond sterile rationalist religion in the direction of recovering the sense of intimacy and immediacy for which our generation--and every generation--longs."

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Item Specifications...

Studio: IVP Academic
Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1999
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830815902  
ISBN13  9780830815906  

Availability  4 units.
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More About Clark H. Pinnock

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Clark H. Pinnock (PhD, University of Manchester) is professor emeritus of systematic theology at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, and has written or edited eighteen books, including Most Moved Mover. Barry L. Callen (DRel, Chicago Theological Seminary) is University Professor Emeritus of Christian Studies at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. He is editor of the Wesleyan Theological Journal and author or editor of over twenty books, including Authentic Spirituality.

Clark H. Pinnock currently resides in Ontario. Clark H. Pinnock was born in 1937.

Clark H. Pinnock has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Didsbury Lectures

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Pneumatology
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Protestant
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Systematic Theology > Pneumatology & Holy Spirit

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Reviews - What do customers think about Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit?

Pinnock does a great job  Feb 19, 2008
I am using this book for a theology class. It is delightful book to read on the Holy Sprit. Pinnock thinks of everything and is not shy of writing it. I find him very refreshing. I don't know about everything he has written but I think every denomination would be encouraged and blessed by this book.
Pinnock's Systematic Theology  Apr 9, 2007
Written by Clark Pinnock, 'Flame of Love' is a mini systematic theology written with a pneumatological emphasis. Theology, Cosmology, Christology, Ecclesiology, Soteriology, Eschatology, and the doctrine of the Word are all covered, each seen through the lens of the Spirit. Pinnock has tried to emphasize the dynamism of the Spirit's presence in the world, and the importance of a relational understanding of God's communion with man.

When I first read this book, for some reason I dismissed it. Perhaps because the style is somewhat stilted. But having returned to it several times over the course of two years, I find myself being edified by it again and again. Pinnock brings out observations about God's character that I had not thought about before, through Scripture passages I had not considered. And so, the more I read 'Flame of Love' the more I am impressed by the depth of his theology, and the personal challenges it presents to me as an evangelical struggling to make sense of my relationship to God. I've read my share of theologians, many of whom I have read with an academic interest that has rarely touched the core of my being, but somehow Pinnock's works actually edify my mind and my soul, and each book I've put down has palpably helped me reach greater intimacy with God.

One of the things that struck me most about Pinnock's theology is its orthodox character. Many Reformed people criticize Pinnock as an innovator whose beliefs stand outside the pale of Christian orthodoxy (small 'o'). But it was remarkable to compare 'Flame of Love' with Bishop Kallistos Ware's 'The Orthodox Way', or his open theistic views with those of Richard Swinburne (a recent convert to Eastern Orthodoxy). The same emphasis on a dynamic relational presence of the Triune God in the world is present in both works, which leads me to believe that while Pinnock may be beyond the pale of Calvinist orthodoxy, he is in good company with other Christian traditions, especially Eastern Orthodoxy. In short, I would highly recommend this work.
Flame of Love -- Indeed  Aug 25, 2004
____Clark Pinnock is one of the most productive theologians in the 20th century. Contrary to some of the other critics, this book is less about open theism and more about God's dynamic relationship with us. It is a master work that no classical theist has to date come up to with respect to raw theologizing in defending God's dynamic work "through" His Spirit in our world in "classical" theism. Many classical theists can complain--and they do with a vengeance--but let them provide some substance. On open theism itself, Pinnock has now weighed in with his Most Moved Mover that blasts through the settled God of classical theism with far more kindness, erudition, finesse, and "Christian" spirit than Pinnock's adversaries (Bruce Ware and John Frame in particular, and I take these two to task in the appendices of my own book, Heart of the Living God, seen at
____What Pinnock has done, as one author has said, is look seriously as all of the Bible believing traditions. Pinnock is certainly not Roman Catholic (RC), but that also does not mean that RC theologians do not have a lot to contribute (even classical Protestant theologians quote and profit from sterline RC theologians). We don't have to agree on every point to see God working in many traditions, and the Bible is the authoritative guide. Pinnock takes us to new levels of sophistication--even daringly so--with just what the Holy Spirit's activity means in our lives today.
____I say some of this to my own chagrin, for in my schools (Criswell College, SWBTS, NOBTS, from 1978 to 1997) Pinnock's work was not given a fair shake. I know now why. I read his Flame of Love for the first time just a little while ago, AFTER having been taken in and hugged by his Most Moved Mover (and sloppily slapped around by Ware's and Frame's lackluster critiques). I had to see more. One does not have to be a full open theists to appreciate those to defend our living, real-time, and dynamic relationship with God--my goodness no--and the classical critics should be ashamed that they have not come up to speed themselves in just what is open or truly dynamic in our relationship besides their own complaining about openness.
____Having said all of that, even though Flame of Love is already a little dated--it is still ground breaking in many ways and deserves far more the mere tribbling complaints. Most especially since the critics of it have hardly weighed in with ANYTHING as substantial on what "dynamic living relationship" with our heavenly Father means.
____What is Love? What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Love? This book gives some insights from a master theologian's hands, punctuated throughout with solid quotes from other masters. Heck fire and tickle my innards, read this book just for the quotes and references--that would be worth the price--but Pinnock has a pithy, rich and direct voice all his own.
Spirit Christology  Feb 3, 2004
OK, so you can listen to the guy who's copy/pasting stuff from some other article (twice even!) OR, you can find out what's in this book for yourself. Here's a synopsis of just one of the chapters of "Flame of Love", from my Theology final for seminary.

This is focusing on three concepts, as they appear in Ch.3 "Spirit & Christology" in this book:


(P. 87) (Pinnock tells us)"Following the baptism (of Christ), Spirit took the initiative and drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tested. As a representative of the human race, Jesus was going to have to experience what Adam suffered and conquer it. The temptations were aimed at his vocation as the anointed representative of humankind."

So for Pinnock, representation seems very much the same thing as recapitulation. Christ is self-emptied and dependent on the Spirit, much as we would have to be in order to conquer the temptations of Satan. This is the author's view of how Christ "becomes" our savior.


The author discusses C.S. Lewis on this concept (P. 105) and states "Christ became human in order to exist vicariously for us, that we might share in his life, death, and resurrection. In this view we are saved by identifying with him and becoming like him." This is the author's view of how we enter into the salvation offered by Jesus Christ.


Pinnock writes "Something happened through the total journey of Jesus Christ that literally change the world and opened the door wide to union with God." (p.93) Later he adds (p.95) "This is the theme of Irenaeus and the fist theory of atonement. God sent his son in the power of the Spirit to enact a recapitulation of human history through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, which would give the human race a new start." Recapitulation, of course, means that God in Christ has become humankind's "new representative head." The new Adam replaces the old.


I actually read this particular book by Pinnock a few years ago, having purchased it when it was new, and I find it's my favorite of all of his writings I have ever read. It's also the only one that gets us more thoroughly into Scripture and one that I can recommend without too many qualifications. (As opposed to "Openness" and "Unbounded".)

What really would be interesting is to see if there are some books along this line that get us deeper into Pinnock's background. One would be a commentary or a study on Hebrews that is geared towards mining the recapitulation ideas out of the text. The other would be an in-depth study of Irenaeus' theology. As good as Pinnock has gotten here, it seems best to investigate the Biblical and historical records for themselves.

1.5 stars if it was available... and I'm a charismatic!  Apr 17, 2003
I'm a charismatic and want to agree with Pinnock, but he is just wrong on too many issues. I am grateful for other Charismatic teachers who find more solid grounds to stand on. Much of Pinnock's work is man-centered and subjective. He doesn't even seem to be "evangelical" on the authority of Scripture issue, rather speculating on many things without authentic concern for what the Bible says. It seems he is more interested in considering the human perspective rather than God's perspective, which is the Bible. If you want a better charismatic AND biblical perspective on the Holy Spirit look for systematic theologies by Wayne Grudem, J. Rodman Williams, or D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Pinnock's book isn't worth the harm it can cause, unless you're looking for the god he's painting a picture of... a god void of many Scriptural attributes.

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