The Face of the Deep: Exploring the Mysterious Person of the Holy Spirit
Paul J. Pastor
David C. Cook, 2016
304 pp., $16.99
The Face of the Deep
He writes, "When we lose our sense of God's immanence … we forget this: that in every life we take of man or beast, in every natural place we mine or harvest, in every eye we gaze into or look away from, we encounter something utterly strange, utterly familiar, utterly sacred." This is the Spirit of God—the Spirit who hovered over the earth in creation. Not pantheism; this is a full-fleshed theology of God's immanence and transcendence combined, showing off the Spirit for who he really is: a glorious God who moves through the earth and inhabits his people.
Even when approaching the Spirit's role in the new birth (a commonly over-individualized topic), Pastor pulls us back from the personalized, born-again-Christian route and into an expansive biblical vision. Commenting on Romans 8, Pastor writes, "Paul's vision [of the new birth] is as big as the world… . This is the upside-down reproductive process of heaven, the life of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit growing to fill and redeem the totality of creation." Pastor's head may be in the clouds here, but he convinces you the text can be taken there as well. He loves the cosmic level and makes you love it too.
This approach to the Holy Spirit is entirely biblical and thoroughly refreshing. In our overly personalized and individualistic spirituality, it is comforting to read something so big. And the vigor and imaginative reach of Pastor's prose offer a welcome alternative to the bland products of the modern evangelical industrial complex. How many books on the Holy Spirit are simply boring?
It has not always been this way. When we take the time to read Calvin, Spurgeon, Buechner, Merton, and Lewis, we remember that our roots are more colorful and expressive than we might have supposed—these writers took risks with their sentences and stretched metaphors out to their full potential. Pastor is doing his part to redeem theological writing. Readers who want to expand and deepen their view of the Holy Spirit will find in The Face of the Deep a much-needed balance and a fresh vision for what can lie ahead.
Chris Nye is a pastor and writer living in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Ali. His first book will be published by Moody this spring. Connect on Twitter: @chrisnye
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