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The Holy Spirit and Unity: Getting out of the Way of Christ



This article argues for a limited pneumatological definition of Christian unity, in favor of a more exclusive christological explanation. It traces some of the theological problems associated with tying Christian unity too closely with the Holy Spirit, by examining the works of three near-contemporary seventeenth-century theologians, Bossuet, Baxter and Owen. The pneumatological ‘expansionism’ in each of these writers, still common in contemporary discussions of ecclesial unity, are not only counterproductive but obscure the specific kinds of charismatic gifting demanded by Christian reconciliation.