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The Holy Spirit in the Christian Life

The Spirit’s Work for, in, and through Us

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The Holy Spirit in the Christian Life offers a brief account of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, focusing specifically on the question of the person and work of the Spirit in the Christian life.

Lutheran theologian Cheryl Peterson identifies three key movements of the Christian life, showing the Spirit's role in each: justification (God the Holy Spirit working for us), sanctification (God the Holy Spirit working in us), and mission (God the Holy Spirit working through us). Peterson explores scriptural and doctrinal perspectives on the person and work of the Holy Spirit--especially from churches with Reformation roots--in view of contemporary spiritual movements, including the spiritual-but-not-religious and the Pentecostal and charismatic movements. In addition, she explores the means of the Spirit's work through Word, sacrament, and spiritual gifts.

This book offers a fresh look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church today. It is ideal for seminarians and working pastors.

1. The Holy Spirit in the United States Today
Contextual Considerations for Fresh Engagement
2. The Holy Spirit as Person
Experiencing the Presence of God
3. The Spirit for Us
Justification and the New Birth
4. The Spirit in Us
Sanctification and the New Life
5. The Spirit through Us
Empowerment for Mission
6. The Means of the Spirit's Work
Word, Sacraments, and Charisms


"Peterson has composed for us a beautiful, well-constructed, and inspiring symphonic poem in three movements. As a seasoned Lutheran theologian whose work is a prayer for the unity of a divided church in a world yearning for the spiritual life, she writes a balanced-yet-engaging symphony in an ecumenical and missional key. Under the grand theme of the Holy Spirit as our life giver, companion, and empowerer, the composer joyfully invites us to participate in the transformative work of the Spirit for us, in us, and through us. Bravo! Encore!"

Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., professor of systematic theology, director of the Center for Hispanic Studies, Werner R. H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries, Concordia Seminary

"Finally! Here is a book that corrects longstanding bilateral lacunae in pneumatology. The Holy Spirit in the Christian Life has theological breadth and depth as well as pastoral and practical applications. Not only does it adroitly and incisively address existing theological lacunae in the Reformed and Lutheran traditions regarding pneumatology and provide serious engagement of developing Pentecostal pneumatologies; it is also well-written, making it both instructive and enjoyable. With Peterson's personable style and careful scholarship, this text is a must-read. Definitely recommended!"

Tony Richie, associate professor of theology, Pentecostal Theological Seminary

"In this wonderful book, Cheryl Peterson brings together biblical and theological resources on the Holy Spirit. Grounding herself within classic Reformation understandings of the Spirit's person and work, rooted in the Word and sacrament, she also attends to contemporary spiritual expressions--from the Pentecostal and charismatic to those considered 'spiritual but not religious.' I highly recommend this book for use in colleges, seminaries, and congregations and to anyone interested in the work of the Holy Spirit in our time."

Lois Malcolm, The Olin and Amanda Fjelstad Reigstad Chair of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary

"An exquisite pneumatological feast. A rare combination of profound theological learning, mature pastoral sensitivity, and keen religio-cultural analysis. Drawing widely from Lutheran resources, in dialogue with emerging Pentecostal theologies of the Spirit, and in consultation with the best of the pneumatological reservoir of ecumenical theology, Professor Cheryl Peterson establishes her fame as the leading American Lutheran pneumatologist. The Holy Spirit in the Christian Life is a must-read not only for mainstream Protestants but also for Pentecostals and charismatics--and everyone who wishes to learn more about a fresh experience of the divine Spirit."

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, professor of systematic theology, Fuller Theological Seminary; docent of ecumenics, University of Helsinki

"Peterson's book is a welcome contribution to conversations about the Holy Spirit. She brings her reflections to bear upon our daily engagements with the world. Peterson has done us a service by focusing on God's activity in and through us, speaking of the Spirit's work in and after justification. Her approach helps us to articulate our experiences of the Spirit in trusting ways."

Nelson Rivera, director, Master of Divinity, J. T. Hamilton Associate Professor of Doctrinal Theology, Moravian Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Cheryl M. Peterson

    Cheryl M. Peterson

    Cheryl M. Peterson (PhD, Marquette University) is the academic dean at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. An ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), she served parishes in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for twelve years....

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