Yong has taken painstaking effort in this book to produce a relevant pneumatological theology of mission in what he prefers to call, a post-modern, post-enlightenment, post-Christendom, and post-mission era, by interacting with three main themes: theological interpretation of Scripture, Pneumatology and Pneumatological theology and missiology or mission studies.
Part one focuses on mission in the Old Testament. Pentateuch (Chapter One) claims that Missio Spiritus is two dimensional: God chooses both insiders and outsiders for His missional purposes; the divine wind of God is life-giving and destructive; Israel carried out its missional purposes by being both as victorious and oppressed. In Judges (Chapter Two), Missio Spiritus enabled mission activities. That the Israelites could hold to their missiological purposes through the work of the Holy Spirit descending upon the Judges. The Books of Samuel and Kings also claimed that Missio Spiritus is unpredictable. Sometimes the wind of God performs miracles, but at other times, the same wind does not carry Yahweh’s presence. In the Writings (Ketuvim), Missio Spiritus is blowing not just with individuals outside of Israel but also among cultures and traditions outside of Israel. The Prophetic Writings shows that Missio Spiritus is transnational: the nations were God’s instrument in judging and delivering Israel. They were also both judged and controlled by God and the Israelites (Isaiah & Ezekiel).Meanwhile, the Latter Prophets deals in “Pneumatic realism” that the nations’ seers were about to warn about Israel’s’ impending doom and judgment for its reliance on international alliances.
In the analysis of the Old Testament, the author made a pre-statement that the Holy Spirit is the “hidden member of the Trinity” because all activities of the Spirit calls attention to the Second person of Trinity. Yet, if we are to accept that the Spirit of the Pentecost is the same ruah of the Old Testament, then the ruah is the Missio Spiritus. Ruah is the manifestation of the missionary Spirit blowing through Israel, and “whose witness blows from Genesis to Revelation.”
Part Two deals with the mission in the New Testament. In Matthew, the author argued that the mission is universal. The book of Mark entailed (the importance of Jesus’ exorcism) the application and implication of spirit-empowered mission. In Luke, the spirit is the central divine character. In Acts, the missional work of the spirit is for every nation, every person and every generation to the time of creation and history’s consummation. In the analysis of Pauline epistles, the authors started off by claiming that Paul was a mission Pneumatologian par excellence. Paul’s pneumatological reflection is centered on overcoming but maintaining the distinctiveness between Jews and gentiles. The book of Hebrews authenticates Pneumatological mission in that it is the Holy Spirit who speaks in the Old Testament now speaking in times of the New covenant. Continuing with the book of James, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude, and the five books (documents) of John, the author closes his writings dealing with the Pneumatological mission in the book of Revelation.
The author uses ruah and pneuma to refer to divine breath or wind in both the Testaments as tow different conceptual domains, which nonetheless bears the same reference- the missional Spirit of God. He argues that the pneuma witness in the Pentecost is the same ruah missionally expressed in the Old Testament. Both are identified by the author as witness to the mission of God in redeeming the world.
This book highlights the Pneumatological theology of mission from the Genesis to the Revelation. Amos Yong is an inconclusive systematic theologian and missiologist, so it is hard to understand his theological and missiological standpoints. This book seems to give over-emphasis on Pneumatology, but it is a great source for not only theologians and missiologists who are interested in theological and missiological engagement but for all pastors, missionaries and mission leaders. I highly recommend this book to all who are interested in missiological studies.
PhD Candidate, Fuller Theological Seminary
Categories: (H) Book Review