Peter Helztel’s contribution to The Justice Project entitled “The Holy Spirit of Justice” clearly articulates the events at “Pentecost” as “providing a template for the Christian movement as a Spirit-empowered, transnational, multilinguistic, intercultural, movement for justice.” (p 48) The Holy Spirit strengthens the church to operate in effective prophetic witness through the proclamation of God’s Word, the teaching of God’s Word, corporate worship, the gathering and living in community and the ministry of outreach to the marginalized in a global context. An admirable theme within the Heltzel discussion, is the association with the coming of the Holy Spirit and the necessitated response being the call to and for justice in this world. The early church theological debates around the “trinity” and the Holy Spirit often get stuck in a technical, sometimes vain debate over the subsistence, essence/aspects of each of the three “persons” that constitute the Godhead. Out of the limitations of our language the writers utilize terms such as “consubstantial, hypostasis, hypostases, subsistence, and homoousios” to set forth theological propositions attempting to describe God, who is greater than our ability to fully comprehend. All of the terms employed serve to define and argue for or against the divinity of the three persons in lesser or greater degrees of distinction and functionality. Heltzel rapidly progresses the discussion beyond the parameters of intellectual/theological debate. We are transitioned by the reading to a praxis centered theology for application within our contemporary context. Heltzel’s hermeneutical lens bends towards the liberating movement towards justice in the here and now. It is in this context that we can be confident to say the Holy Spirit, the third “person” of the Godhead is: God in us, and God present amongst us. God, has entered our struggle, and taken a seat amongst us in the heart of the believer. God is leading, teaching, sustaining, motivating and speaking to and through us, by the agency and power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, being the “indwelling” spirit is the source of our strength that preserves, and keeps us “in but not of” the world. The world as referenced in this context, is negatively portrayed as impacted by the institutionalized systems of inequity, inequality, the exploitation of the poor and the dehumanizing practices of those in authoritative positions of power. The Holy Spirit brings to our consciousness the principles of justice, love, the sovereignty of God and the calling to be Holy, or different, in accordance with the will and purpose of God. We therefore, are to stand antithetical to the systems of influence and power in this “world.” We are called to a purpose, above and beyond a spiritually based theological/intellectual debate. That purpose is ushering in the love, justice and peace of God in the face of pain, suffering and chaos. Just as God stepped into time from eternity in the person of Jesus the Christ, the Holy Spirit has entered into our “person,” enabling the renewal of our minds, granting the strength and courage to “run the race” and to stand in opposition to evil. The evil that we stand against finds expression in violence, domination, destruction, hate, racism, injustice, war, poverty, political strategies that deny the poor, economic policy that disregards the well-being of the young, and the elderly. The evil we stand against prospers the rich at the dreadful expense of the poor. The act of failing to embrace the Holy Spirit or “rejecting” the guidance of the Holy Spirit relegates one to a failing, crippling posture of self-dependency and self- sufficiency. The foolish rejection of the divine wise counsel of the Holy Spirit, surely facilitates the deliverance of one to a position of servitude within the merciless, uncompassionate, perverted arms of those in power. It is in that space of apostasy that one becomes a victim of the false, self-serving ideologies of supremacy. Self- hatred and self-depreciating behaviors that distort the image of God in which you were created become internalized and make manifest a “spiritual death” or separation from the will and purpose of God in this life. The good news is that The Holy Spirit is present and empowers/enables the church to function as Heltzel states in a “Spirit-empowered, transnational, multilinguistic, intercultural, movement for justice.” (The Justice Project pg 48)