Charismatic Christianity in its twentieth-century incarnations has re-focused attention on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and their operability within the present-day church. I’m grateful for this very real contribution to our corporate life, if slightly frustrated by the way in which the manifestations of the spirit are commoditized within our consumer culture.
Lohfink makes the logical connection between the early church’s experience of the spirit and the eschatological community’s identity, citing Luke 2 and the Pentecost citation of Joel (82), connecting experience with expectation. Miracles, while they legitimate the preaching of the gospel, are also signs of the Spirit’s presence within the community (85), and are connected to the ministry of Jesus, and the inauguration of the reign of God. Pretty straightforward, yet I, among others, consistently gloss over it. Were we to get this, that would put our activity (and proclivities towards idolatry) within its proper context, that of God’s redemptive activity. My hunch is that we’d see a decline in striving after particular gifts and manifestations of the spirit, and a downswing in related pastoral counseling. That’s a good thing.