The Holy Spirit and Worship: Transformation and Truth in the Theologies of John Owen and John Zizioulas

By Elizabeth A. Welch

A fresh approach to the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian devotion, drawing upon the writings of two contrasting theologians.

ISBN: 9780227177976


The Holy Spirit has become an object of greater attention in Trinitarian theology, and indeed in the broader life of the Church, since the rise of Pentecostalism at the beginning of the twentieth century. Different understandings of the Holy Spirit have had different impacts on worship; here, Elizabeth Welch examines four surprising overlaps in the thought of two radically different traditions of the church about the relationship between the Holy Spirit and worship. These traditions are represented by John Owen, from seventeenth-century England, and John Zizioulas, from contemporary Greece.

Welch explores in turn the common themes of the personal and relational nature of the triune God, the immediacy of the encounter with God through the Holy Spirit in worship, the role of the Holy Spirit in leading people into truth, and the transformative nature of worship that draws people into sharing God’s purpose for the world. In each, the insights of Owen and Zizioulas shed new light on the ongoing debate in the Church today.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 332

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Elizabeth A. Welch is a minister and former Moderator of General Assembly in the United Reformed Church in England. She represented the URC on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, (1991-1998), co-chaired the International Reformed Anglican Dialogue (2015-2020), and chairs the Society for Ecumenical Studies, UK.


Foreword by Ben Quash

1. The Holy Spirit and Worship: Setting the Scene
2. Owen’s and Zizioulas’s Trinitarian Foundations
3. The “Dynamic Recovery” of the Holy Spirit in Owen and Zizioulas
4. The Significance of Worship for Owen and Zizioulas
5. The Quadrilateral, Part One: The Holy Spirit and the Trinity — Personal and Relational Understanding
6. The Quadrilateral, Part Two: The Holy Spirit Encountered in Worship — Immediacy, Mediation, and Otherness
7. The Quadrilateral, Part Three: “The Spirit Will Guide You into All the Truth”
8. The Quadrilateral, Part Four: Worship in the Power of the Holy Spirit — The Nature of Transformation
9. The Holy Spirit and Worship: Ecumenical Implications

Appendix: Contents of Goold’s edition of John Owen’s Works



Endorsements and Reviews

Welch reveals unexpected convergences between John Owen (Reformed) and John Zizioulas (Orthodox), widely separated in time and in ecclesial tradition, in her dynamic, relational, and transformative theology of the Holy Spirit in worship. Both liturgy and theology will be enriched by the study of this book.
Paul Avis, Durham University and University of Exeter

Throughout this book, Elizabeth Welch makes fresh and stimulating connections and illuminates central ecclesiological themes common to East and West. This is an original, thought-provoking, and profoundly irenic book.
Nicholas Sagovsky, King’s College London

What connects a seventeenth-century English Puritan with a twentyfirst-century Greek Orthodox theologian? The Holy Spirit! Insightful and stimulating, there is much here which promotes the quest to renew Christian worship and reinvigorate ecumenical dialogue.
Robert Pope, Westminster College, Cambridge