Conclusion

albert

 

 Paul's warned against Greek philosophy in 1Corinthians 1:18-31 and  Colossians 2:8. Nevertheless, as Christianity spread though the Roman world, and as a large number of educated church leaders were inculcated with Greek thought, syncretism gradually happened; Stoicism and particularly Platonism were incorporated into Christian ethics and Christian theology.

 

The Church historian Eusebius suggested that Greek philosophy, although derivative, was concordant with Hebrew notions.  Augustine of Hippo, who  systematized Christian philosophy, wrote, "But when I read those books of the Platonists,  I was taught by them to seek incorporeal truth, so I saw your 'invisible things, understood by the things that are made' " (Confessions 7. 20).

 

For modern Christians leaders to deny this philosophical underpinning to the religion is counterproductive.  The same can be said of science and Christianity. Although Christian leaders might very well take their time embracing new scientific thought, to deny universally accepted theories, such as Evolutionary Biology, can only damage the credibility of Christianity.  Science and Christianity are in no way incompatible, both can benefit from the other.

The Church Fathers must have agreed that the concept of Holy Ghost was needed and warranted to complete the foundation of  Christian theology.  The Father was remote and removed from human affairs, the Son had departed and was with the Father. When the Disciples, like us, realized  they would be alone, they asked for relief and Jesus replied:

"But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."

                                                                                                                                                                                          John 16:5-15 

Conclusion

The Church Fathers combined Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Holy Spirit, Logos(to some extent), and Divine Reason into one entity: The Holy Ghost, and declared it the third leg of the Trinity. Let's skip forward a couple of thousand years and see what has evolved in the West.

A 2005 study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion found that just 22% of Americans attend services weekly. This compares to other countries claims such as 15% of French citizens, 10% of UK citizens, 8.8% of Australian citizens and 5.6% of Dutch citizens. The old centers of Western Christianity are loosing membership, but the religion is doing well in South America and Africa. Especially the more emotional varieties, Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism.

Evangelicalism, a major part of popular Protestantism is among the most dynamic religious movements in the contemporary world. While Evangelicalism is on the rise globally, developing countries have particularly embraced it; there it is the fastest growing portion of Christianity. Pentecostalism, another form, is a renewal movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. The Azusa Street Revival was a historic revival meeting that took place in Los Angeles, California, and is the origin of the Pentecostal movement in the U.S. It was led by William J. Seymour, an African American preacher.  It began with a meeting on April 9, 1906, and continued until roughly 1915. The revival was characterized by spiritual experiences accompanied with testimonies of physical healing miracles, worship services and speaking in tongues. The participants were criticized by the secular media and Christian theologians for behaviors considered to be outrageous and unorthodox, especially at the time. Today, the revival is considered by historians to be the primary catalyst for the spread of Pentecostalism in the 21th century.

The movement spread to Africa soon after the 1906 Azusa Street Revival. Currently, there are many self-governing, self-propagating, and self-supporting Pentecostal churches in Africa. They utilize the same means to evangelize that early Pentecostal churches used such as door-to-door evangelism, meetings held in homes of interested inquirers, preaching in trains, buses, on street corners and at places of public concourse, and 'tent crusades' held all over the continent. The Charismatic resurgence in the 1970s had a large impact on the growth of the church today  The faith is becoming one of the most substantial denominations of Christianity in Africa. However, the Roman Catholic Church remains the largest Christian body of Africa.


The Pentecostal church is one of the fastest-growing Christian denominations in Brazil. The largest denomination is Roman Catholic, but as  of 2006 Brazil had approximately 24 million Pentecostal Christians. The doctrines and practices of modern Pentecostalism placed a high priority on international evangelization.

Comprising over 700 denominations and a large number of independent churches, there is no central authority governing Pentecostalism; however, many denominations are affiliated with the Pentecostal World Fellowship. There are over 279 million Pentecostals worldwide, and the movement is growing in many parts of the world, especially the global South.

 

Here is a modern example of the Pentecostal "Holy Ghost" in action.


 

 


Note: Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy influenced Hegel, whose concept of the dialectic underlies the tripartite division of art into the Apollonian, its Dionysian antithesis, and their synthesis in Greek tragedy and on to Marx, but that is a rabbit I rather not chase.

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