Sculptor Spirit: Models of Sanctification from Spirit Christology, By Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.
Sculptor Spirit
  • Length: 290 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: February 05, 2019
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 5233
  • ISBN: 9780830852338

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The Holy Spirit is sculpting you.

Like the work of an artist who molds a lump of clay into its intended shape, the Spirit's sanctifying work lies in shaping people into the image of Christ.

Avoiding either a "Spirit-only" or a "Spirit-void" theology, Leopoldo Sánchez carefully crafts a Spirit Christology, which considers the role of God's Spirit in the life and mission of Jesus. This understanding then serves as the foundation to articulate five distinct models of sanctification that can help Christians discern how the Spirit is at work in our lives.

"This is a book I didn't know we needed; but after reading it, I now see how much we did! Leo Sánchez provides a fresh mixture of historical summaries and constructive contributions that will prove helpful to our trinitarian discussions. A somewhat neglected focus for many, Sánchez gives particular attention to the relationship between the Spirit's work in the incarnate Christ and the Spirit's presence in our lives. Ably drawing from the patristics (especially Irenaeus) as well as leaning heavily on Luther, Sánchez seeks to outline five models for understanding life in the Spirit. Rather than imagining these in unavoidable tension, he creatively points out strengths in each, especially looking at them in light of pastoral concerns. Much in this volume can help clarify our thinking and stimulate our Spirit dependent lives."

Kelly M. Kapic, Covenant College

"In the winsome spirit we have come to expect from Sánchez, Sculptor Spirit is a gentle and timely corrective to a lot of anemic spirituality found on the market today. Using Spirit Christology as the lens through which to examine the sanctifying work of the Spirit, Sánchez puts holiness back on the agenda as he recommends five models of sanctification for Spirit-filled believers today. Listening to voices from the past, Sánchez places before the reader various complementary models on what the Christian life looks like and how we can be further conformed to the image of Christ. It wasn't too long ago that Spirit Christology was a promising area to explore; with Sculptor Spirit we have another example of how Spirit Christology is delivering on its early promises. The Spirit gives life and in this work Sánchez clearly shows how the Spirit is at work conforming people to Christ's image for the glory of God."

Myk Habets, dean of faculty and professor of theology, Carey Baptist College and Graduate School, Auckland, New Zealand

"One of the theological dangers facing the English-speaking church is its over reliance on Christology, what can be called hyperchristocentrism, which means that Christ is emphasized to such a degree that Christian trinitarianism breaks down. What is needed in response to this situation are ways to make Christology more trinitarian, and this is what Sánchez helps achieve in this work. Sculptor Spirit emphasizes a Spirit Christology for its implications related to sanctification, spirituality, and the Christian life overall. Through its models and various examples from antiquity to the present, it is a reliable guide that I hope finds resonance with students, preachers, and teachers who are passionate to offer something substantive to a hungry church."

Daniel Castelo, professor of dogmatic and constructive theology, Seattle Pacific University and Seminary

"Sánchez's past work on the relationship of the Holy Spirit to Christ provides an effective foundation for this exploration of several views of the ways in which the Holy Spirit creates and forms the holy life of faith in those who trust in Christ. This work draws readers into a world- and church-wide conversation on how the Spirit goes about sanctifying sinners and leading them into a life of faith and obedience that exercises true humanity in the midst of our faltering world. This skillfully-constructed, aptly delivered assessment of various models for interpreting the presence and working of the Spirit in believers' lives will stimulate and guide pastors and laity into new perspectives on how to understand and practice the faith."

Robert Kolb, professor of systematic theology emeritus, Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis

"In this impressive volume, Leopoldo Sánchez provides a comprehensive and detailed account of Spirit Christology, tracing its development through the ages to offer a robust trinitarian account of Christ as one filled with the power of the Spirit. Having laid the foundation for Christ as the pattern for the Spirit-filled life, he then applies this to a practical, generative, and thought-provoking, models-based approach to sanctification, making the much-needed link between orthodox dogmatic theology and everyday life. Thus this book is a valuable contribution both to the academy and the church."

Lucy Peppiatt, principal, Westminster Theological Centre, UK

"A singular book on the Spirit combining an excellent knowledge of tradition and contemporary literature with imagination and theological creativity. It leads to a suggestive but open-ended exploration of various models for experiencing and understanding the work of the Spirit."

Justo L. González, author of The Mestizo Augustine

"With fourth-century church fathers and Luther as foundational resources, in interaction with current scholarship, Sánchez explores five models of sanctification that illumine the ministry of the Spirit of Christ in believers. This creative Latino-Lutheran scholar continues his fruitful work in Christology and pneumatology with a volume that will benefit the broader church in North America. A stellar contribution from a fresh voice, forged as a Latino within a historic tradition. Un aporte singular."

M. Daniel Carroll R., Blanchard Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College and Graduate School

"Everyone these days wants to be spiritual. They just don't know how or what it really means to be spiritual. Leo Sánchez charts a course that anchors that yearning for spirituality on solid ground. He presents an experience of the Spirit grounded firmly in the theology and practice of the church through the centuries as he provides various models of what it means to be 'in the Spirit.' Spirituality is not so much a feeling or a yearning as it is a way of life worked out in the person of Christ and his work through and in the Spirit in and for us. Sánchez reminds us that the Spirit blows where it wills, but it never blows apart from the will of Christ and the Father. If you're looking for a theological yet pastoral approach to reach those who want to be spiritual but don't know how, this book is a great resource."

Joel C. Elowsky, professor of historical theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis


Foreword by Oscar García-Johnson
1. Sculptor Spirit: Spirit Christology and the Sanctified Life
2. Voices from the Past: Patristic Images of the Sanctifying Spirit
3. Baptized into Death and Life: The Renewal Model
4. Facing Demons Through Prayer and Meditation: The Dramatic Model
5. Sharing Life Together: The Sacrificial Model
6. Welcoming the Stranger: The Hospitality Model
7. Work, Pray, and Rest: The Devotional Model
8. I Want to Tell the Story: North American Spirituality and the Models
Author Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.

Leopoldo A. Sánchez M. (PhD, Concordia Seminary) is the Werner R. H. and Elizabeth R. Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Sánchez's published work includes Receiver, Bearer, and Giver of God’s Spirit; Immigrant Neighbors Among Us: Immigration Across Theological Traditions, which he co-edited with M. Daniel Carroll R.; Teología de la santificación; and Pneumatología