#6: The Universality and Uniqueness of the Spirit #TaylorTuesdays


So far I have said nothing exclusively Christian… And it is essential for our doctrine of the Holy Spirit to recognise that so much can be said about him which is universal. Just as he works anonymously through all the processes of creation, so to all men of all beliefs at all times he gives the unexpected opening of eyes, the deep awareness of that ‘other’ – God or creature – the overwhelming gusts of power, the double vision of what is and what might be, the call to sacrifice, the gifts of prophecy and prayer and healing and ecstasy.

The more we learn to recognise his actions the more we shall find him in the life of the world everywhere. Unless we hold onto his universality we cannot rightly interpret the uniqueness of the Christian experience of him.

The Go-Between God

How can we be open to ways the Spirit is at work?

Once we recognise the Holy Spirit as the creative power of God in the world, it becomes obvious that the Spirit is present and active everywhere in all kinds of different people and situations.

The question for those of us engaging in mission then becomes ‘How can we be open to what the Spirit is doing?’

For Taylor, unless we’re able to fully appreciate what the Holy Spirit is up to in the world then we won’t be able to understand fully how the Spirit is nudging ourselves and others towards Jesus.

Some questions to ponder:

  • How comfortable are you with a universal understanding of the Holy Spirit?
  • How can you cultivate your ability to recognise what the Spirit is doing?
  • How might the Spirit be nudging you today towards a deeper involvement in God’s Mission?


What do you think? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment.

Each Tuesday we’re posting a quote from John V. Taylor with some thoughts and questions for reflection. John (or J.V.) Taylor (1914 – 2001) was the General Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, and Bishop of Winchester, and wrote several seminal books on theology of mission, including The Go-Between God: The Holy Spirit and the Christian Mission and The Primal Vision: Christian Presence Amid African Religion. Find all the Taylor Tuesdays posts here.
About the author: James Henley
James Henley
James has been with The Lab since 2007 and leads our team. He's an ordained pioneer minister in the Church in Wales.