Is Cole’s Theology Too Tightly Choreographed For God’s Spirit?

Cole does a good job showing where and how the Spirit of God acts and appears in the Old and New Testaments. He carefully locates these Spirit-moments each in proper context so as to piece together a conservative perspective. For instance, In teaching I’ve often gone back to the Spirit’s role in enabling workers (like Bezalel – Exodus 31.5) to devise artistic designs for the tabernacle as a general statement of the way the Spirit works in in the creative process today. Cole gets a bit more specific and shows how the Spirit’s enabling of the artists working on the tabernacle is less a paradigm of the Spirit’s work today (which is in contrast to both Calvin and Kuyper who thought the Spirit’s role there  a paradigm for working with human tatent–p.125)  and more a statement about what God was doing for Israel at that moment.


One question of emphasis has to do with Israel versus the Church. I cited Cole‘s reluctance to expand the Spirit’s role in creativity from Israel to the people of God in general. He was right on that point. But I wonder if his thought about the role of Israel versus the church influence his reasoning about the Spirit’s work?


For instance, Cole disagrees with Packer when he said the baptism of the Spirit was about power for service (p.195). In Cole‘s view, the baptism of the Spirit is evidence that “Prophetic Israel has been reborn,” so the people of God have begun a new thing. And thus the baptism of the Spirit is not for today. (196) It is purely a sign of the new thing begun among these people, which is a start of a new thing for all the people of God.


I wonder if there is a third way between Cole and Packer that sees prophetic Israel reborn and the Spirit providing power for service?





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