The Holy Spirit & the Church Today


Winter 2023

 This course explores the doctrine and theology of the Holy Spirit (pneumatology). It examines the biblical theology of the Spirit. It covers the historical development of pneumatology in the early-church, medieval period, and the modern period. It considers the rise of contemporary theologies and movements of the Holy Spirit—e.g., the Pentecostal movement—and what they mean for contemporary Christian thought and life. This course is a hybrid format. It includes an online format (the online platform is McMaster University’s Avenue to Learn) and two-day campus classroom experience. 


  • Know central texts for a biblical theology of the Holy Spirit (lectures and Kärkkäinen textbook).
  • Know key Christian thinkers and theological traditions in the development of pneumatology (lectures and Kärkkäinen textbook).
  • Know the key figures and trends within contemporary pneumatology (lectures and Kärkkäinen and Barbeau and Jones textbooks).
  • Know ways that pneumatology informs and transforms contemporary Christian life and ministry (lectures and biblical contextualization essay).


  • Appreciate the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian life and ministry (personal reflection on the Holy Spirit essay).
  • Embrace a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit’s identity and work (personal reflection on the Holy Spirit essay and biblical contextualization).
  • Develop a sense of the Spirit’s work in the world (personal reflection on the Holy Spirit essay).


  • Become familiar with significant texts in the history of Christian pneumatology (lectures and Kärkkäinen textbook).
  • Identify and describe an area of development in your understanding of the Holy Spirit (personal reflection on the Holy Spirit essay).
  • Engage in the process of constructive theological reflection on the Holy Spirit (constructive essay).