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The Go Between God: The Holy Spirit And The Christian Mission

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In 1967 John V Taylor was invited to give the Cadbury Lectures in Theology at the University of Birmingham. The experience then stimulated him to the extent he felt compelled to rewrite the original series of eight lectures which now make up the chapters of The Go-Between God. This edition contains a new foreword by David Wood.


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In 1967 John V Taylor was invited to give the Cadbury Lectures in Theology at the University of Birmingham. The experience then stimulated him to the extent he felt compelled to rewrite the original series of eight lectures which now make up the chapters of The Go-Between God. This edition contains a new foreword by David Wood.

30 review for The Go Between God: The Holy Spirit And The Christian Mission

  1. 4 out of 5

    Philip Yancey

    The best book on the Holy Spirit I've ever read. The best book on the Holy Spirit I've ever read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    This book caught my eye in my church's library on a few occasions, and I'm learning to trust my intuition when books catch my eye. I'm glad I read it - I learned loads and it was exactly the book that I hadn't known I needed. However, I'm torn on the rating. I found the ideas interesting and important, but I found the text almost unreadable. It wasn't so unreadable that I couldn't finish; there were times when I gave up on it but I always came back for more. The book is about the Holy Spirit. The This book caught my eye in my church's library on a few occasions, and I'm learning to trust my intuition when books catch my eye. I'm glad I read it - I learned loads and it was exactly the book that I hadn't known I needed. However, I'm torn on the rating. I found the ideas interesting and important, but I found the text almost unreadable. It wasn't so unreadable that I couldn't finish; there were times when I gave up on it but I always came back for more. The book is about the Holy Spirit. The author's premise is that the Holy Spirit tends to be the neglected member of the Godhead when he in fact is the most important member for our day-to-day striving to become Christians. The Holy Spirit witnesses, reveals, and basically acts as a go-between between exalted God and fallen Man. There is, of course, no way for us to have a relationship with Christ which doesn't rely on the Holy Spirit. The author also challenges us to ask more from the Holy Spirit than we have previously been asking. The Spirit's power is immense and we are all entitled to call upon it, Christians or no. Unlike the other reviewers, I liked the first half much better than the second half. As much as I liked the ideas, however, I found the text hard going. An example, taken from opening the book to a random page: But the glory of God in everything is not going to shine out like a gentle nimbus around the commonplace. To discover it will be more like suddenly catching sight of the volcanic inferno beneath our earth's familiar crust. Horrors! So that is our milieu! The Holy Spirit is totally primordial. His is the elemental force beyond all other forces, and to call it, correctly, the force of love is not to temper its intensity but to increase fearfully our estimate of love's fervour. I felt like I generally got the author's meaning, although I didn't want to take the time to work out what every sentence meant. Like, I'm sure I could get to the bottom of 'increase fearfully our estimate of love's fervour' eventually but it's probably not worth it. I'm stumped about why he would write such important ideas so inscrutably. Was he trying to impress someone? Did he only want the book to be read by other academics? I don't know. Apparently the book started as a series of lectures, which I can't imagine. So I can't really recommend the book to anyone. Surely there are other books in the world which delve into the same concepts with more accessible language. But at the same time, I think some of the book's perceptions have settled deep within my soul.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Edge

    This book took me 5 months to read. It was enlightening, encouraging, and challenging. I don’t have words for all I learned and feel like I should just go back to page 1 to start again. “The Spirit of Life is ever at work in nature, in history and in human living, and whenever there is flagging of corruption or self-destruction in God’s handiwork, he is present to renew and energize and create again. Whenever faith in the Holy Spirit is strong, creation and redemption are seen as one continuous This book took me 5 months to read. It was enlightening, encouraging, and challenging. I don’t have words for all I learned and feel like I should just go back to page 1 to start again. “The Spirit of Life is ever at work in nature, in history and in human living, and whenever there is flagging of corruption or self-destruction in God’s handiwork, he is present to renew and energize and create again. Whenever faith in the Holy Spirit is strong, creation and redemption are seen as one continuous process.” Holy Spirit is within us and all around us. Changing things, opening doors, working miracles- all we have to do is learn to be aware of the Go Between God.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    The first fifth of the book is a bit of a slog as Taylor lays out his basic argument, but from that point on this is a book filled with fascinating - and indeed inspiring (forgive the pun) - insights and reflections on the meaning of the Spirit and a spirit-filled life in the present age. Yes, the text is now over forty-five years old, but there is a huge amount to value here. I first read it in the 1980s, but (perhaps, being older now) it engaged me in a new way. So pleased I managed to track do The first fifth of the book is a bit of a slog as Taylor lays out his basic argument, but from that point on this is a book filled with fascinating - and indeed inspiring (forgive the pun) - insights and reflections on the meaning of the Spirit and a spirit-filled life in the present age. Yes, the text is now over forty-five years old, but there is a huge amount to value here. I first read it in the 1980s, but (perhaps, being older now) it engaged me in a new way. So pleased I managed to track down a copy!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Corey

    I nearly gave this 1 star but the last few chapters saved it. The Holy Spirit is the "Go Between God" that believers to believers and believers to God. Most of the book was filled with flowery language and an attempt at depth that I just didn't find appealing. The last few chapters on the rise of pentecostalism worldwide and the need for attention is prayer was interesting, but overall, I wouldn't recommend it. I nearly gave this 1 star but the last few chapters saved it. The Holy Spirit is the "Go Between God" that believers to believers and believers to God. Most of the book was filled with flowery language and an attempt at depth that I just didn't find appealing. The last few chapters on the rise of pentecostalism worldwide and the need for attention is prayer was interesting, but overall, I wouldn't recommend it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The first half of the book is boring. The last half is pretty good. The writing style is lofty and can be difficult to understand.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Garber

    John Taylor, former Anglican bishop of Winchester, provides an eminently readable and charming (if slightly outdated) look at the Holy Spirit and its workings in Scripture and in the modern world. This book is developed from Taylor’s 1967 Cadbury Lectures in Theology at the University of Birmingham. In it, Taylor surveys the Spirit’s activity as the sole and continual motivator of Christian activity. He rejects both crass materialism and unreflective supernaturalism, using biblical and theologic John Taylor, former Anglican bishop of Winchester, provides an eminently readable and charming (if slightly outdated) look at the Holy Spirit and its workings in Scripture and in the modern world. This book is developed from Taylor’s 1967 Cadbury Lectures in Theology at the University of Birmingham. In it, Taylor surveys the Spirit’s activity as the sole and continual motivator of Christian activity. He rejects both crass materialism and unreflective supernaturalism, using biblical and theological texts and observations about current Christian practice to suggest that rather than consider the Holy Spirit as a lackadaisical Trinitarian add-on, the Spirit is theologically central to every activity of Christian life. Taylor begins his survey by acknowledging the difficulty of reconciling a God who exists both beyond and completely in our sensory created universe. He suggests that we begin our experience of the Spirit by recognizing spiritual activity in our everyday impressions – that Spirit is present in the act of sensation itself. For example, Taylor comments, “I am writing this book out of a conviction that nothing is more needed by humanity today, and by the church in particular, than the recovery of a sense of ‘beyond-ness’ in the whole of life to revive the springs of wonder and adoration.” (p. 45) In his examinations of the Spirit’s role in creation, bringing forth the community of God, and particularly the Spirit’s necessary connection with Jesus Christ, Taylor deftly weaves together biblical exegesis and important concepts from major theologians like Tillich and Barth. He finally summarizes the marks of the Spirit biblically and theologically as 1) creativity, 2) connectivity, and 3) recognition of the other. In Part II, Taylor turns his attention to the activity and mission of the church today. Recognizing the ever-present disconnect between the institutional structures of the church and the creative and mobile activity of the Spirit is a particular strength of this section of the book. Taylor stresses the basic concept that the church exists in the Spirit, not that the Spirit is given to the church as a tool: “For if we phrase it in the second way, although it is the New Testament way, we are in danger of perpetuating the irreverence of picturing God’s Spirit as a grant of superhuman power or guidance, like a fairy sword or magic mirror to equip us for our adventures.” (133) He cautions us (with deft exegesis) not to allow the Christian church to become one of the principalities and powers against which the New Testament warns us. Instead, the church should mirror the Spirit in which it exists in fostering more authentic human growth, creative flourishing, and an alternate mode of communal existence. Returning to his opening theme of the Spirit as the principle of mediation himself, Taylor’s final passage exemplifies his winsome way with words: “That is the embrace of God, his kiss of life. That is the embrace of his mission, and of our intercession. And the Holy Spirit is the force in the straining muscles of an arm, the film of sweat between pressed cheeks, the mingled wetness on the backs of clasped hands. He is as close and as unobtrusive as that, and as irresistibly strong.” (243) Taylor’s book provides an important reminder of the necessity of pneumatology to the theological task – that thought and prayer and liturgy about the Holy Spirit are equally necessary to our activity about God and about Jesus Christ. Taylor’s reminder that the Spirit urges us toward a communal humanity is a message especially pertinent in an age of crushing multinational capitalism and a rising tide of individual greed and fear of the Other. The Christian church desperately needs to be a force for bringing humanity to its best self, the self for which God intends us – a community of particular but connected beings, none more important or less deserving of basic rights and needs than another, not because of government principles or economic productivity, but because in the end we are all connected by the Spirit as children of God.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    This book was published in 1972 - and I still have my original copy. It moved me deeply forty years ago and still stirs my thinking. Well worth a read by anyone who looks for a deep and mature view of the work of the Holy Spirit - which is a subject on which, of course, we never reach the end!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Brown

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shelby Stogner

  11. 4 out of 5

    JD

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wenliang Mao

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Edwards

  14. 4 out of 5

    Khegan

  15. 4 out of 5

    Toby

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Molyneux-Hetherington

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael Phombeah

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul Patterson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linda Tiessen-Wiebe

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matt Judkins

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tim Vargo

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jane Larson

  23. 5 out of 5

    Unalemeur

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Wright

  25. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  26. 5 out of 5

    Third Things

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Francis

  28. 4 out of 5

    Beth Carlson-Malena

  29. 4 out of 5

    Graeme Holdsworth

  30. 4 out of 5

    Scott

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