In a recent article, "Poured out on all Flesh," Pentecostal scholar Amos Yong suggests that "Christian systematic theology itself can benefit from a pneumatological (as opposed to creational or christological) reframing, a ‘starting with the Spirit’, as it were." This move to "start with the Spirit" is not an idea that originated with him; he notes that it has been suggested in the works of Henry van Dusen (Spirit, Son and Father: Christian Faith in the Light of the Holy Spirit, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958), J.V. Taylor (The Go-between God: The Holy Spirit and the Christian Mission, Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1973), Clark Pinnock (Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit, Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1996), and my dissertation advisor, Lyle Dabney (Starting with the Spirit: Task of Theology Today II, ed. Gordon Preece and Stephen Pickard, Adelaide, Australia: Australia Theological Forum, Inc., 2001).
A name that should be added to that list is Stephen Bevans, who in "God Inside Out: Notes Toward a Missionary Theology of the Holy Spirit," writes "I’ve come to see that it is indeed the Spirit that we know first, who precedes Jesus not only in our own lives but in the history of the world and in cultures which have not known him." [Props to Kelly Fryer for pointing me toward this article when I met her at the recent Southeast Michigan Synod Assembly where she was the keynote speaker].