Baptism in the Spirit : a theological analysis of the phenomenon of Spirit baptism
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In this thesis I have given a critical analysis of prof. Dr. Frank D. Macchia’s seminal work Baptized in the Spirit: A Global Pentecostal Theology and presented my own explorations of the phenomenon often referred to as Baptism in the Spirit. In my analysis of Macchia’s book, I discuss whether or not “the doctrine” of Spirit baptism is a valid doctrine in itself or merely a metaphor, useful in order to describe the phenomenon of Spirit baptism. My answer to that question is that Macchia uses the experience of Spirit baptism, central to the Pentecostal churches and other charismatic churches, to accent the role of the Spirit in systematic theology, thus deepening the spiritual power of the Spirit baptismal experience beyond mere individual or even church contexts. In my own philosophical exploration of the Spirit baptism experience, I present, and lean on, a conceptual model created by theology research fellow Jo Bertil R. Værnesbranden of MF School of Theology, Religion and Society. His two twin theses are Language as metaphor for faith and Language as metaphor for Spirit, and it is the latter I will apply here. In applying the model, I suggest that something does indeed expand and broaden one’s horizon in and through Spirit baptism. The model engages with voices from people like French philosopher Jacques Derrida, Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky, Martin Luther and American theologian Robert W. Jenson, and in my application of it I use ideas from Orthodox theologian Olivier Clément, catholic scholar Kilian McDonnel, and through him, the writings of 5th century Syriac bishop Philoxenus of Mabbug. Much in the same way Frank D. Macchia seeks to use the experience of Spirit baptism as “a lens through which to look” at theology, I make an attempt at using the model of language as metaphor for Spirit in order to construe a systematic-theological framework with the features needed to integrate the phenomenon known as baptism in the Spirit.