The Source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life

By Jürgen Moltmann; Margaret Kohl | Go to book overview

III
Born Again to a Living Hope

I. New life begins in the Spirit

From early on, Christians associated the beginning of their experience of God in the community of Christ with an overwhelming new experience of their own selves. They didn’t just feel ‘new born’, as we say when we have recovered from a serious illness. They were ‘new born’ out of the Spirit which had laid hold of them. Christian faith isn’t just a conviction, a feeling and a decision. It invades life so deeply that we have to talk about dying and being born again, which is what corresponds to the death and resurrection of Christ. In the Pentecostal churches, Christians call themselves ‘born again’ if they have experienced a profound and lasting endowment with the Spirit in their lives. But in the earliest days of Christianity, faith itself was already sealed by baptism, and it was by baptism that it was represented. In the water of baptism, the believer dies to the laws and requirements of ‘this world’ and is born into the new life with Christ in the Holy Spirit. That is why our Christian name is our baptismal name. It is a way of pointing to a person’s new identity, the identity of his or her new life. But when infant baptism was introduced, the ‘first’ name given at birth and the baptismal name were made to coincide, so that it was no longer possible to distinguish between birth into this mortal life and new birth into the life that is eternal. It is only in later experiences of life and death that we can come to discern the difference, and experience the powers and energies of the new birth in faith. But this does not mean that people should be ‘re-baptized’, for then there would in principle

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The Source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword ix
  • I - Wrestling with God 1
  • II - The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life 10
  • III - Born Again to a Living Hope 26
  • IV - A Meditation on Hope 38
  • V - The Sanctification of Life 43
  • VI - Charismatic Powers of Life 55
  • VII - Life's New Spirituality 70
  • VIII - In the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit 89
  • IX - There is Enough for Everyone 103
  • X - … and Thou Renewest the Face of the Earth' 111
  • XI - What Are We Doing When We Pray? 125
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 146
  • Index of Names 147
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