(To read Part One of this interview please click here)
With this blog post, we continue to report on Joe Gorra’s interview with pentecostal-evangelical scholar, Gary Tyra, regarding the contribution and implications of his book, The Holy Spirit in Mission, which J.P.Moreland endorsed here:
JG: I am hungry to read biblical and theological works that are authored by people with extensive pastoral leadership experience. For that reason alone, I would read your book. For you have over 25 years of pastoral experience! How has your leadership experience informed your approach to The Holy Spirit in Mission? How did that experience factor into your imagination for the writing of this book?
GT: While I would not want to say that the theology of the Spirit I put forward in the book is completely owing to my personal ministry experiences, I will acknowledge that some of the stories I present in the book as contemporary examples of missional prophetic activity do predate the scholarly work that eventually led me to my pneumatological conclusions. I choose to think of this as my formal thinking about the Spirit (my pneumatology) eventually catching up to the actual missional activity he’d been inspiring me to engage in all along.
To be a bit more specific, I suppose that, more than anything else, it was my missional activity as a church planter that made me aware of the need for an approach to Christian ministry that is earmarked by a commitment to both the Word and the Spirit—to being biblically informed and Spirit-empowered. Even though your desire as a church planter is to reach non-Christians with the gospel, you do have seasoned Christians looking for a new church home who wander your way. I found that some of my most perplexing, frustrating pastoral interactions occurred not with new believers, or even non-believers, but with veteran believers who were averse either to the “moving of the Spirit” in the worship services or to my insistence that all spiritual gift expressions be evaluated on the basis of theological, missiological principles provided in God’s word.
Thus, it was, at least in part, this desire as a missional church pastor to see some evangelicals become a bit more open to spiritual experience, and some Pentecostals/charismatics become more committed to a thoughtful, disciplined approach to the study of Scripture, all with the idea of mission in mind, that I went back to the Scriptures in order to forge an understanding of how a biblically informed pneumatology should affect a missional ecclesiology. What resulted from this study was The Holy Spirit in Mission.