Clark Pinnock

This tag is associated with 2 posts

Book Review: “Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit” by Clark H. Hinnock (Second Edition)

Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit is a deep look at pneumatology- the theology of the Spirit.

Pinnock starts off noting the importance of the Spirit as a Person of the Trinity as well as the oft-neglected study of the same. Then, over the course of seven chapters, he outlines theological questions and answers related to the spirit: the Trinity, Spirit in Creation, Spirit and Christology, Spirit and Church, Spirit and Union, Spirit and Universality, and Spirit and Truth.

These chapters provide broad outlines of the titular topics, while also challenging Christians to think more deeply about them. For example, in the chapter about the Spirit and Universality, Pinnock presses the point that the Spirit is truly work in all things. He draws from C.S. Lewis’s depiction of Aslan in The Last Battle to note that Christian thinkers have not inconsistently pointed out that God can even work through and in other religions. And how else to consider this than to think of the activity of the Spirit in drawing all towards God? Elsewhere, Pinnock considers the question of the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed, arguing that it seems to him to subordinate the Spirit to the Son. He also touches on a number of other potentially controversial topics. At more than one point, Pinnock notes that he considered using feminine pronouns for the Spirit due to the use of feminine imagery as well as feminine words for the Spirit in Scripture, but opted out. His reasoning here seems somewhat confusing, and largely amounts to that he wasn’t sure evangelicals would be ready for that yet (see esp. page 277).

The second edition features a foreword and commentary by Daniel Castelo. I found these additional notes to be helpful, and enjoyed his summaries at the end of each chapter. I was actually a bit disappointed that the frequency of notes went down a bit towards the end of the book. Whenever they appeared, Castelo’s comments were insightful and helped elucidate the text in some way.

Flame of Love is a fascinating read that explores issues in which Christians, unfortunately, are not often well-versed. Pinnock not only brings the focus to the Holy Spirit, but also challenges some potential preconceived notions about the same. Readers, whether they agree or disagree, will be challenged by his work.

All Links to Amazon are Affiliates links


Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Book Reviews– There are plenty more book reviews to read! Read like crazy! (Scroll down for more, and click at bottom for even more!)



The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.


Microview: “Searching for an Adequate God” edited by John Cobb Jr. and Clark Pinnock

sadg-cobbpinnockSearching for an Adequate God (how’s that for a provocative title?) is a dialogue between process theists and open theists (aka free will theists). Process theism is most basically the notion that God is fully involved in and impacted by temporal processes like the free actions of creatures, the changing of nature, etc. (for a good summary of process thought, see here). Open theism (aka “free will theism” in this volume) is essentially classical theism, but with the notion that the future is “open”–that is, that some aspects of the future are yet undetermined and unknown (in that they are unknowable, because there are no facts about these open aspects of the future to be known).

Given the major divergence between these positions, this book provides a fascinating dialogue and real insights into points of division between two radically different concepts of God. Intriguingly, the two positions also share many basic premises (as is emphasized by every author) such as an emphasis on human free will as a way to handle theodicy, the notion that God is temporal and impacted in some way by creation, and so on.  The essays herein revolve, therefore, around these dual notions–the radical differences between the groups and the shared insights they argue they provide for theology.

The essays by David Ray Griffin (process) and William Hasker (open), along with their rebuttals to each other, frame the debate in an extremely interesting fashion, as their essays truly show the great differences between the positions. In between, essays by the other contributors (and their responses to each other) offer frequently autobiographical reflections on the two positions.

Perhaps most enlightening is the way that both positions show their distance on various points from classical theism and Christianity. Each of the Process contributors (and David Ray Griffin in particular) blithely dismissed or redefined the Trinity as a tertiary (as Griffin described it) doctrine for Christianity. This astounding claim demonstrates how vast the chasm is between the process view and Christianity. The open position, particularly as represented by Hasker, is highly critical of views of providence which entail God being even a secondary cause of evil.

The Good

+Fascinating interaction between two radically different yet frequently similar non-standard theistic positions
+Solid lineup of major representatives on both sides of the debate
+Good format
+Interesting insight into two positions which challenge classical theism

The Bad

-Too frequently autobiographical rather than topical in the middle essays


The value of Searching for an Adequate God is found in its many areas of clarification and insight: distinctions between process thought and classical Christian thought, clarifications on the meaning and extent of open theism, areas of mutual engagement between these divergent views, and more. It is a wonderfully fascinating book, even if I as a reader am deeply critical of both positions. I found it quite excellent.


Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Book Reviews– There are plenty more book reviews to read! Read like crazy! (Scroll down for more, and click at bottom for even more!)


John B. Cobb, Jr. and Clark Pinnock, eds. Searching for an Adequate God (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000). 


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,864 other subscribers


Like me on Facebook: Always Have a Reason