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Posts Tagged ‘Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

Best Pentecostal/Charismatic Books on the Holy Spirit

I promise this to be the last post on the issue of the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement and the Holy Spirit.  This blog is not a blog that focuses on these issues and even we Arminians don’t fully agree on these issues.  Some Arminians are Pentecostals while many are not.  I myself was raised in the Assemblies of God (Royal Rangers and all!) and was saved in an A/G church in 1992.  I even was in full-time ministry for about 10 years in the Assemblies of God so I know much about being a Pentecostal.

The following are books that I have read from a Pentecostal-Charismatic perspective on the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  I found it ironic that Dr. John MacArthur stated at The Strange Fire Conference that charismatics have not offered any theological works to the Church.  I would disagree.  The following books would show that if they are read and studied.  These books are not placed in any given order.

1.  What the Bible Says About the Holy Spirit by Stanley Horton.  A classic A/G book on the Spirit that once was required reading for all A/G students.  Dr. Horton remains one the greatest Pentecostal scholars in history.

2.  The Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Perspective by Anthony Palma.  A great book that focuses on the doctrine of the Spirit.  Palma’s chapters on the baptism in the Spirit and on his comparison of Ezekiel 36:25-27 with Joel 2:28-32 is worth reading.

3.  Surprised by the Power of the Spirit by Jack Deere.  Deere, a former Dallas Theological Seminary professor, writes a defense for the sign gifts in this book.  One of the best books I have ever read that deals with cessationism.

4.  The Gift of Prophecy by Wayne Grudem.  One of the most attacked books by cessationists.  This book focuses on what the Bible teaches about prophecy and how God can use it today.  A well written book.

5.  What Meaneth This by Carl Brumback.  Brother Brumback is best remembered for his book on the Trinity against the Oneness Pentecostals but this book focuses on the issue of speaking in tongues.  Brumback argues not just for the gift of tongues but also the initial, physical evidence of the baptism in the Spirit.

6.  Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?  4 Views edited by Wayne Grudem.  This book allows four major views on the gifts of the Spirit.  Dr. Sam Storms writes for the charismatics and Dr. Douglas Oss for the Pentecostals.  A very good book that I have read three times already.

7.  The Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Interpretation by L. Thomas Holdcroft.  This book is an excellent introduction to the Pentecostal teaching on the Spirit.  While very much evangelical (except the chapter on Spirit-Baptism), the book is well written.

8.  Spiritual Gifts: A Fresh Look by David Lim.  The commentary on the gifts of the Spirit is standard Pentecostal but what makes this book worth reading is Dr. Lim’s exegesis on 1 Corinthians 12-14.  His commentary on 1 Corinthians 14 is very well done.

9.  The Speaking in Tongues Controversy by Rick Walston.  A well written and thought out book on the issue of speaking in tongues in regard to the baptism in the Spirit.  Dr. Walston’s book will challenge you if you hold to speaking in tongues as the initial, physical evidence.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/21/2013 at 10:31 AM

Charismatic Chaos And Why They Won’t Listen

As I write this, The Strange Fire Conference headed by Dr. John MacArthur is winding down.  The conference will be viewed as a success by many evangelicals who see the charismatic movement as dangerous to true Christianity.  This would include some Calvinists and Arminians alike.  Some will cheer as Dr. MacArthur and his other speakers preach against the charismatics and against their theology.  Some will be very sad.  But honestly, most charismatics simply will not listen.

Back in 1992 when I first was saved at a Pentecostal church (that I had attended before my conversion), the book Charismatic Chaos, was making the rounds.  While everyone in our church wanted me to attend our denominational Bible college in Florida, I chose instead to attend a local evangelical college.  I had heard of Charismatic Chaos but had not read it.  I begin work for a Christian bookstore which allowed me to borrow any books I desired.  I soon borrowed (and later bought) Charismatic Chaos.  I read the book and totally agreed with Dr. MacArthur, that the Word-Faith movement was heretical and wrong but I didn’t agree with  him that all Pentecostals were the same.  In his book, Dr. MacArthur seemed to want to lump all charismatics the same.  Having been raised in a Pentecostal home and saved in a Pentecostal church, I knew this was not true.  I knew that our church preached against the so-called “health and wealth” gospel.  I knew that the Assemblies of God had put out statements against the “name it, claim it” movement.  I also knew that Pentecostals differed with charismatics over the issue of the baptism in the Holy Spirit as subsequent to salvation and over the issue of whether speaking in tongues was the initial, physical evidence.  While Pentecostals and charismatics agreed over the issues regarding spiritual gifts and whether we should seek God for revelatory gifts, I knew that there were serious theological disagreements.  To paint all Pentecostals and charismatics as the same was not only untrue but unfair.

Sadly, I believe this is the case again with the Strange Fire conference.  While I don’t believe that Pentecostals and charismatics are beyond correction, they simply will ignore such a conference because of the polemic nature.  For example, had Dr. MacArthur and his group welcomed Pentecostal and charismatic scholars to a discussion over the Holy Spirit, His work, His gifts, etc., most would have looked on and perhaps tuned in.  Because the conference was bent on lumping all charismatics together as one and the same, most will choose to ignore the conference altogether and the book to follow.  While Reformed cessationists will find another book to add to their library on the Holy Spirit, Pentecostals will once again shut the door to the criticisms that Dr. MacArthur will offer in his book.  While I know that Dr. MacArthur has made appeals to godly charismatics to essentially “come out from among them”, his words nor his book will affect the charismatic movement as a whole.  It will simply do what Charismatic Chaos did in the early 1990’s and will be ignored and written off as hatred.

For non-charismatics I believe that several truths need to be seen about charismatics to understand why they will not listen.

1.  The Charismatic Movement is not Cohesive.  

Again, Assemblies of God theologians differ with Vineyard theologians and Reformed charismatics differ with Pentecostal Holiness theologians.  You cannot lump a Benny Hinn with a Stanley Horton and expect Pentecostals to listen.  You cannot lump a Todd Bentley with a Loran Livingston.  They are not one and the same.  No one person or church speaks for the Pentecostal/Charismatic community anymore than John MacArthur speaks for all Calvinists.  To try to attack the movement while putting them all under the same banner is not fair.

The Pentecostal movement is largely like the Baptist in that they have many splits in their 100 year history.  Almost all of the splits was over theology.  The Assemblies of God split away from the Wesleyan Pentecostals (Church of God, Pentecostal Holiness, Church of God in Christ) in 1914.  The “finished work” sermons of William Durham helped convince many early Pentecostals that the so-called “entire sanctification” application after salvation was wrong.  Durham taught that we are saved and at that moment are sanctified in Christ.  After this we receive the baptism in the Spirit for empowerment for world evangelism (Acts 1:8).  In other words, Durham preached two works of grace instead of three as in the early stages of the Pentecostal revival.  Durham was outcasted by early Pentecostal pastors for his views but adopted by the Assemblies of God with their founding in 1914.  To this day, A/G churches preach only two works of grace instead of three as in the Church of God.  I point this out simply to show that Pentecostal don’t all agree.  They are not one movement that agrees on all points.

2.  The Charismatic Movement Offers Experiences Where They Have Been None.

Frankly, I have been in many Reformed churches that were full of theology but dead as doornails.  There was no passion for prayer, for worship, no joy in the Holy Spirit, no mention of the presence of God.  Yet in a Pentecostal church I have seen the opposite with little regard for theology but much regard for experience.  This is not true, of course, for all Pentecostal churches or people but for me only.  What Pentecostals need is balance and sometimes we have not had that.  But neither have evangelicals.  Some evangelicals were so scared to even lift a hand in singing praises to God.  I once visited a large Baptist church that was not charismatic one bit.  During the singing, I was so touched by the song that on the front row I stood up (while no one else was standing but the choir) and I lifted my hands to God.  I could feel the fire from behind me for my “emotionalism” but I did not care as I was hungry for Jesus and His presence in my life.  After the service, a lady came up to me and with tears said thank you for doing that, for breaking out of my comfort zone and worshiping the Lord.  She said that she was longing to see someone worship God in that church.

Sadly, many people enter charismatic churches because of the longing for God’s presence.  They are tired of hearing about God and about miracles and they want to experience God.  Right or wrong, they are seeking God for this in charismatic churches.  Because people have “experienced” God in their church, they often will not listen to you rebuke them for “unbiblical” practices.  They have “felt” God in that church and they will not go back to dead churches is their motto.

Isn’t it ironic that the prayer movements come from charismatic churches.  The healing emphasis comes from charismatic churches.  The worship music that so many of us love come from charismatic churches.  Most books on the Holy Spirit (right or wrong) come from charismatic churches.  While I am not defending charismatic theology here, I simply point out that charismatics offer what many evangelical churches do not and that is an experience with the living God.  That is powerful and cannot be underestimated.

3.  Like It Or Not, Pentecostals Typically Listen Only to Pentecostals.

When I first read Charismatic Chaos, I asked a theological question that John MacArthur had raised in the book to a Pentecostal pastor.  He responded, “MacArthur is like a blind man describing a sunset to blind people.”  His point was that MacArthur had never been a Pentecostal and was trying to write on the movement but he only was viewing in from the outside in.  He had never been in a healing meeting or a meeting where people “prayed through” for someone to be saved or filled with the Spirit.  MacArthur admitted that he had never spoken in tongues or prophesied nor been involved with churches that did.  In the minds of Pentecostals, MacArthur was ignorant of the movement and was attacking the same people they were while trying to lump all Pentecostals together with the Word-Faith movement.  They simply refused to listen.

I remember at that time also reading a scholarly review of Charismatic Chaos in a Pentecostal theological journal that I was receiving then.  The journal stated that they agreed with MacArthur that the Word-Faith movement must be addressed and corrected and pointed out that the Assemblies of God was doing just that with tracts and with Bible teaching on their own.  However, they felt then that MacArthur undermined his voice by placing all Pentecostals and charismatics on the same level.  To say that because a few charismatics were into this or that does not mean that all of them are or that they are endorsed by the Assemblies of God or the Vineyard.

Pentecostals and charismatics will listen to rebuke but they typically come from the inside.  The late David Wilkerson could powerfully preach to Pentecostals and he often did.  Wilkerson rebuked many “revival” movements and his voice was heard.  In the Assemblies of God, what Dr. George Wood teaches and says is often heard and his rebuke would be welcomed.  Dr. Wood’s teaching on the Word-Faith movement is one of the most downloaded sermons he has produced.  While I do fear that Pentecostals and charismatics are falling into the pragmatism of the modern evangelical church, most of them will still only take rebukes from their fellow people.  You can call this pride if you want but I think you’ll find it true for nearly all theological movements.

Conclusion

I enjoy Dr. MacArthur.  I have enjoyed his verse by verse teaching for years.  I have not always agreed with him (his Calvinism for example) but I do enjoy him.  But that said, his voice will not be heard.  He will be cheered by those who love him, agree with him, and like him want to rebuke the charismatic movement.  The charismatic movement is the largest movement in Christianity on earth.  It ranges from classical Pentecostals to even Catholics who claim to be charismatics.  I don’t agree with all aspects of charismatic teachings.  I am bothered by many issues in the charismatic movement but the movement will not be corrected by Dr. MacArthur.  His voice will go unheard.  That is sad to me.  We are not beyond correction no matter who we are.  We all are humans.  We all need correction from time to time.  How often have I been Apollos who need godly correction (Acts 18:24-28).  I pray that my pride is not too much that I would not  heed correction from a godly saint no matter what they may be.  I need godly charismatics in my life as well as godly cessationists.  I need godly Calvinists as well as godly Arminians in my life.  I need the children of God to help me be a man of God.

So while I am grateful for Dr. MacArthur and his voice, he will not be heard by my charismatic brethren and his cry will fall on deaf ears.  Perhaps I am wrong and I pray that I am.  We all need to be corrected and to stay true to the Word of God.  None of us are beyond correcting.  We all need to hear Dr. MacArthur’s voice and make sure what we believe and teach about the Holy Spirit is based on the Word and not upon our own subjective experiences.

Thoughts on The Strange Fire Conference

Dr. John MacArthur is not stranger to theological debates.  I first heard of Dr. MacArthur when I was a young believer over the issue of Lordship salvation.  At that time his book, The Gospel According to Jesus, was influencing many people to preach against “easy believeism” and was causing a stir.  His other books that have hit a nerve in terms of debates have been, Charismatic Chaos and Ashamed of the Gospel.  I read the book, Charismatic Chaos, while being fully involved with a Pentecostal church.  I thought the book was a book that Pentecostals and Charismatics needed to read and interact with.  I hoped the book would promote a new look especially into the faulty theology of the Word- Faith movement.

Now Dr. MacArthur is taking up the charismatic movement again with his new book, Strange Fire.  I have not read the book but do plan to and will offer a review in time.  This week Dr. MacArthur is hosting a conference at his church in Los Angeles called, The Strange Fire Conference, in which he plans to address the issues of the charismatic movement and teach correctly what the Bible says about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  I do hope to watch some of the conference online as time permits.  I know that the conference will produce countless of other blog posts and articles on the charismatic issue.  This is good in my estimation.  We need a good biblical discussion about the Holy Spirit and His work.

Some have taken exception with the conference.  Most notably has been Dr. Michael Brown.  Dr. Brown has written several articles on the conference for Charisma Magazine.  Dr. Brown believes that Dr. MacArthur needs to interact with serious charismatics like himself instead of attacking and lumping together all charismatics to the likes of Todd Bentley or Benny Hinn.  Dr. Brown also questions Dr. MacArthur’s use of “blasphemy of the Spirit” in relation to the charismatic movement and he believes that this is dangerous, to say that charismatics are blaspheming the Spirit since this would imply that they are not saved and never can be (Matthew 12:32).  Who can make such a claim about a person other than God?

I stand in-between on this debate.  In fact, I rarely address the spiritual gifts issue here because it is not my theological passion.  I would not even label myself as a charismatic but as a partial cessasionist (as I believe that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God and the final authority for all things).  That said, I agree with Dr. MacArthur that there are excesses in the charismatic movement.  However, not all Pentecostals or Charismatics can be lumped together.  I don’t think it is fair to lump all charismatics in with the Word-Faith movement.  They are not one and the same.  I know of many godly Pentecostal men and women who truly love Jesus, love the gospel, preach the truth of the gospel, long for souls to be saved, are educated, love the Word, and are seeking to be holy.  I myself was saved in a Pentecostal church and currently attend a Pentecostal church where you would not find excesses nor would you find people chasing their feelings about the Scriptures.  I don’t know of any perfect Pentecostals so perhaps if you talked to someone long enough you might find something you disagree with but you would not find wacky, shaking, longing for subjective experience people in our midst that I am aware of.  Further, I have known many Pentecostals over the years and none of them have elevated their own experiences above the Word of God.  I have met some weird people but I don’t see that coming from their Pentecostal theology as much as just being ignorant of God’s Word period.  And to be honest, I have met weird people from all walks of life and from different religions.  Pentecostals are not unique in that regard.

I also agree with Dr. Brown that there are many godly men and women around the world serving Jesus and preaching His gospel while disagreeing with Dr. MacArthur over his view of the gifts of the Spirit.  MacArthur would acknowledge this as well.  I know of one brother who is laboring in Southeast Asia for the kingdom.  He is preaching the gospel, discipling the saints of God, and he loves the Word of God.  Yet he is charismatic.  Is he blaspheming the Spirit?  I don’t think so.  Why lump him with the likes of a John Crowder?  I do appreciate the fact that Dr. MacArthur has stated that he does believe many Pentecostals and charismatics do love Jesus and do preach the gospel yet he believes that the movement, as a whole, is off base.

I do believe that we need to know the truth of the Holy Spirit.  His work is vital to the Church and to the growth of the disciple of Jesus.  I do believe that all movements need correction from time to time.  It is possible to lose focus from the Lord Jesus and begin to focus on the gifts of the Spirit above the gospel of the kingdom.  I have seen churches lose focus from the gospel and embraced a social gospel instead of the gospel that sets sinners free by the grace of God.  It is possible that some charismatics have glorified the Spirit above the Lord Jesus and this should not be since Jesus said the Spirit would glorify Him (John 15:26).  I have seen Calvinists in love with Calvinism above Jesus or KJV only followers in love with the KJV above Jesus.  It is easy to lose focus and become unbalanced.

I do welcome The Strange Fire Conference.  I believe we need such a conference but I do pray that Dr. MacArthur would interact with godly men such as Dr. Michael Brown or other Pentecostal theologians.  This would include him interacting with Reformed charismatics such as Wayne Grudem, John Piper, Matt Chandler, and many others.  In reality, Dr. MacArthur is attacking a large part of the body of Christ whom he disagrees with but I also fear using Matthew 12:31-32 for all of these brethren.  This is dangerous and I agree with Dr. Brown that we must careful when this assertion.  I disagree with many aspects of Reformed theology but I would not dare label their worship as false or worse, as blasphemous to God.

One final note.  I too have been troubled by the “revival” movements of the past including the Toronto Blessing and the Brownsville revival.  I actually visited the Brownsville revival on three separate occasions.  I walked away seeing some good and seeing some bad.  While I rejoice that some people did repent, I have no doubt that there was much flesh that I witnessed.  I also struggle with “charismatic” television such as TBN or the God Channel.  I once visited the TBN station in Atlanta, GA and found it to be full of idolatry and the worship of flesh.  I believe those in the Pentecostal and charismatic movement should speak out more against the false teachings and misleading statements that are made by popular charismatic preachers.  How I wish that unknown heroes of the faith such as Terry Roberts, pastor of Trinity Assembly of God in Columbia, SC, would be the standard and not a Joel Osteen or a Kenneth Copeland.  We need more faithful men of God who love the Word, preach the truth of God’s grace, and are full of the Holy Spirit instead of the likes of a Todd Bentley or a Paula White filling our homes with their teachings.

And those are my thoughts on that issue.  I will say no more.

Praise God For Pentecost!

Pentecost Sunday.  The Church celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Church.  We rejoice that God has poured out His Spirit just as He promised He would through Joel the prophet (Joel 2:28-32).  Peter the Apostle saw the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost as the fulfillment of that prophecy (see Acts 2:16).  Just as the Father had promised the coming of the Spirit through the Old Testament Prophets so the Lord Jesus had promised His own disciples just ten days earlier that He would send the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4-5).  The disciples obeyed the Lord Jesus and for ten days they prayed in the upper room waiting Jesus’ promise (Acts 1:14).

The day of Pentecost marked a transformation in the plan of God.  The people of God would now be the people of the Spirit.  All people could enjoy being the people of God through the ministry of the Spirit (John 10:16).  The gift of the Spirit would not be given to only the Jews but to all people who would come and be saved through faith in Christ Jesus (Acts 2:21; Galatians 3:13-14).  In fact, Paul the Apostle would later write in Romans 8:9 that if any person does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.  The baptism by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ is essential to salvation (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

I rejoice that the Comforter has come.  When my mother passed away last August, the Holy Spirit was a sweet friend to me.  I rejoiced time and time again at the words of Jesus in John 14:26-27 (KJV):

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The Comforter was a dear friend to me as I grieved the loss of my mama.  I sensed His sweet presence.  I sensed His praying (Romans 8:26-27).  I sensed His security (Ephesians 1:13-14).  I sensed His gentle loving hand upon me.  He brought me through.

And He has done this other times as well.  How often have I felt like giving up and felt like I didn’t want to pray anymore.  Yet the gentle love of the Comforter has always been my strength to help me rise up and seek God.  I rejoice that He is not just my Comforter but He also is my convictor (John 16:8).  He gently deals with me about my sins.  The Holy Spirit never condemns me but He gently and lovingly shows me my sins.  He does not lead me to condemnation (Romans 8:1) but He gently leads me to forgiveness in Christ (1 John 1:9).  What a precious friend He is.

This day, I rejoice in the Comforter.  I rejoice that He has come.  I rejoice that He has filled me.  I rejoice that He abides with me both now and forevermore.  I pray that I would not grieve Him (Ephesians 4:30).  I pray that He would be my guide forever.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/19/2013 at 6:58 PM

Book Review: There Is More by Randy Clark

The following review is based on a free copy of the book, There Is More by Randy Clark that I received from Chosen Books, a division of Baker Books in exchange for a book review.

The subtitle of this book is, “The secret to experience God’s power to change your life.”  I must admit that I am always a bit leery when I read a title such as this and I will admit that I am a bit reluctant to read a book that seems to suggest that there is more to what we already have in Christ.

That said, let me give a brief review of this book.  First I will give the positives and then the negatives.

The Positives

I appreciated Clark’s honesty.  He shares story after story about his own move from being a Baptist pastor to being a full-blown charismatic evangelist who focuses in healing, signs and wonders.  He speaks honestly of his struggles with this move.  It was not an easy move for him.

I also appreciated the focus on the Holy Spirit and not upon the works of the flesh.  Clark is quick to make sure his readers understand that all power comes from God.  This power is not found in ourselves or in our wisdom but in the Lord God.  He makes his basis Acts 1:8.

I appreciated Clark’s emphasis upon the reality that God is with us.  He is not far from us (John 1:14).  As Psalm 46:1 says that God is our very present help in trouble (ESV).  Clark shows us that God is not distant and He does care for us.  He longs to be with His children.

I appreciated Clark’s emphasis on prayer.  Oh how we need to pray!  Jesus taught His own disciples to pray (Luke 11:1) and we should seek God earnestly not for things but for who He is (Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:14-15).  Prayer is not a religious ritual for the true child of God but is a living relationship with God (Matthew 6:5-8).

I appreciated the desire of Clark to see the people of God hungry for God.  We should long for God (Psalm 42:1).  We should desire to see Him glorified in all that we say or do (Colossians 3:17).  Our passion should be to exalt Him as Lord (Philippians 1:20-21).

The Negatives

Let me say that no book, apart from the Bible, is perfect.  All authors are tainted by sin and by their own views which may or may not be inline with Scripture.  This is why we must judge all things by the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1).  We should not blindly accept teaching just because we believe the person to be a child of God.  We should pray for discernment (Proverbs 2:3 NASB) and allow the Lord to teach us from His Word so that we can know whether something is biblical or not (Hebrews 5:11-14).  Experience is not useful to determine truth since experience is always subjective in nature (Matthew 7:21-23).  Truth must be based on the final, ultimate truth of God’s inerrant and infallible Word (John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  So, my negatives are to be tested in light of Scripture as Clark’s book should be as well.  I am not the final authority but God’s Word is.

Experience and Truth.  Several times in the book Clark mulls the water by making experience the basis for truth.  At least twice he does this outright.  First, Clark states that his first major involvement with the “laughter movement” came when he went to see Rodney Howard Browne at Rhema Bible Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Rhema is Kenneth Hagin’s church and Clark admits that he had major doctrinal issues with Hagin but while there, he says, the Holy Spirit rebuked him for his doctrinal differences and rebuked his pride.  He humbled himself and was touched by God.  Frankly, I find this hard to believe that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth (John 15:26), would lead Clark to a heretical church for a subjective experience and rebuke Clark for holding to firm doctrine when the Spirit has said to do this (Titus 2:1).  The other time that Clark mentions subjective experience over the Scriptures is when he writes of the charismatic renewal in the Roman Catholic Church.  Clark should have rebuked the RCC for denying the biblical doctrines of salvation including justification by faith alone but instead he accepts them based on their common charismatic experience.

Clark spends too much time telling stories of subjective experiences instead of teaching what the Bible says about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  This book is supposed to be about God and about the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives but most of it is based on experiences from Clark or others but little is based on teaching from the Word of God.

Finally, the topic of impartation.  Frankly, these words have more in common with witchcraft than with biblical Christianity.  The words never appear in the Bible.  You’ll find nothing to suggest the teaching other than isolated events such as Elisha and Elijah.  While the Apostles did lay hands on people for the receiving of the Spirit (Acts 8:17) or for healing, we find Paul writing that Timothy should not be hasty to lay hands on others (1 Timothy 5:22).  Why would Paul say this if he believed like Clark?  The charismatic teaching of impartation seems to flow from witch doctors and Voodoo instead of the Bible.  It is a practice not seen in the teaching of the New Testament nor does any of the NT letters exhort the disciples of Christ to find an Apostle or some other saint of God and ask them to lay hands on them and pray for them to be anointed.  This is merely a creation of bizarre charismatic teachings.

In closing, I would not recommend this book.  There are much better books on the work of the Holy Spirit such as by Dr. Anthony Palma or by Dr. Stanley Horton.  This book focuses way too much on personal experience and not enough on biblical truth.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/09/2013 at 11:30 AM

Arminius on the Holy Spirit

As the preceding Disputation treated of God the Father and God the Son, order requires us now to enter on the subject of the Holy Ghost.

I. The word Spirit signifies primarily, properly, and adequately, a thing which in its first act and essence is most subtle and simple, but which in its second act and efficacy is exceedingly active, that is, powerful and energetic. Hence it has come to pass, that this word is received, by way of distinction and opposition, sometimes for a personal and self-existing energy and power, and sometimes for an energy inhering to some other thing according to the mode of quality or property: but this word belongs primarily and properly to a self-existing power; and to an inhering power or energy, only secondarily and by a metaphorical communication. (John iii, 8; Psalm civ, 4; Luke i, 35; Kings ii, 9.)

II. But it is, in the first place, and with the greatest truth, ascribed to God, (John iv, 24,) both because He according to Essence is a pure and most simple act; and because according to Efficacy he is most active, and most prompt and powerful to perform, that is, because He is the first and Supreme Being, as well as the first and Supreme Agent. But it is with singular propriety attributed to the hypostatical energy which exists in God, and which is frequently marked with an addition, thus, “The Spirit of Elohim,” (Gen. i, 9,) “The Spirit of Jehovah,” (Isa. xi, 2,) and “His Holy Spirit.” (lxiii, 10.) By these expressions is signified, that He is the person by whom God the Father and the Son perform all things in heaven and earth, (Matt. xii, 28; Luke xi, 20,) and that He is not only Holy in himself, but likewise the Sanctifier of all things which are in any way holy and so called. Our present discourse is concerning the Holy Spirit understood according to this last signification.

III. We may not attempt to define the Holy Spirit, (for such an attempt is unlawful,) but we may be allowed in some degree to describe Him according to the Scriptures, after the following manner: He is the person subsisting in the Sacred and undivided Trinity, who is the Third in order, emanates from the Father and is sent by the Son; and therefore He is the Spirit proceeding from both, and, according to his Person, distinct from both; an infinite, eternal illimitable Spirit, and of the same Divinity with God the Father and the Son. This description we will now consider in order, according to its several parts. (Matt. xxviii, 19; John i, 26; and Luke iii, 16; John xiv, 16; 1 Cor. ii, 10, 11; Gen. i, 2; Psalm cxxxix, 7-12.)

IV. On this subject four things come under our consideration and must be established by valid arguments.

(1.) That the Holy Spirit ufisamenon is subsistent and a Person; not something after the manner of a quality and property, (suppose that of goodness, mercy, or patience,) which exists within the Deity.

(2.) That He is a Person proceeding from the Father and the Son, and therefore is in order the Third in the Trinity.

(3.) That according to his Person He is distinct from the Father and the Son.

(4.) That He is infinite, eternal, immeasurable, and of the same Divinity with the Father and the Son, that is, not a creature, but God.

V. The first is proved by those attributes which the whole of mankind are accustomed to ascribe to a thing that has an existence, and which they conceive under the notion of “a Person:” for we assert, that all those things belong to the Holy Spirit, whether they agree with a person in the first Act or in the second.

(1.) From those things which agree in the first Act with a thing that has an existence and is a Person, we draw the following conclusion: That to which belongs Essence or Existence, Life, Understanding, Will and Power, is justly called “a Person,” or nothing whatever in the nature of things can receive that appellation. But to the Holy Spirit belong:

(i.) Essence or Existence: for He is in God, (1 Cor. ii, 11,) emanates from God and is sent by the Son. (John xv, 26.)

(ii.) Life: for He “brooded over the waters,” (Gen. i, 2,) as a hen covers her chickens with her wings; and He is the Author of animal and of spiritual life to all things living. (Job xxxiii, 4; John iii, 5; Rom. viii, 2, 11.)

(iii.) Understanding: “The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. ii, 10.)

(iv.) Will: for He “distributes his gifts to every man severally as He will.” (1 Cor. xii, 11.)

(v.) Lastly, Power: with which, the prophets, and other holy persons, and in particular the Messiah himself, were furnished and strengthened. (Micah iii, 8; Ephes. iii, 16; Isa. xi, 2.)

VI. The same thing is proved

(2.) from those things which are usually attributed to a Person in the second Act. For of this description are the actions which are ascribed to the Holy Spirit, and which usually belong to nothing except a subsistence and a person. Such are to create, (Job xxxiii, 4; Psalm civ, 30,) to preserve, to vivify or quicken, to instruct or furnish them with knowledge, faith, charity, hope, the fear of the Lord, fortitude, patience, and other virtues; to “rush mightily upon Sampson;” (Judges xiv, 6;) to “depart from Saul;” (1 Sam. xvi, 14;) to “rest upon the Messiah;” (Isa. xi, 2;) to “come upon and overshadow Mary;” (Luke i, 35;) to send the prophets; (Isa. lxi, 1;) to appoint bishops; (Acts xx, 28;) to descend in a bodily appearance like a dove upon Christ, (Luke iii, 22,) and similar operations. To these may also be added those metaphorical expressions which attributes such passions to Him as agree with no other thing than a subsistence and a person, and as are signified in the following passages: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.” (Joel ii, 28.) “Jesus breathed on them, and said, receive ye the Holy Ghost.” (John xx, 22.) “They vexed his Holy Spirit. (Isa. lxiii, 10.) “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.” Ephes. iv, 30.) To blaspheme and speak a word against the Holy Ghost. (Matt. xii, 31, 32.) “He hath done despite to the Spirit of Grace,” (Heb. x, 29.)

VII. A similar bearing have those passages of Scripture which reckon the Holy Spirit in the same series with the Father and the Son. Of which class is that commanding men “to be baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;” (Matt. xxviii, 19;) that which says, “There are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost.” (1 John v, 7;) that which declares, “The same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God, effect the diversities of operations, institute the differences of administrations, and pour out the diversities of gifts; (1 Cor. xii, 4 — 6;) and that which beseeches, “that the grace of’ the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost may be with all believers.” (2 Cor. xiii, 13.) For it would be absurd to number an inly- existent quality, or property, in the same series with two subsistences or persons.

VIII. The second topic of consideration [§ 15,] contains three members:

(i.) of which the first, that is, the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father, is proved by those passages of Scripture in which he receives the appellation of “the Spirit of God and of the Father,” and of “the Spirit who is of God;” and by those in which the Spirit is said to proceed and go forth from, to be given, poured out, and sent forth by the Father, and by whom the Father acts and operates. (John xiv, 16, 26; xv, 26; Joel ii, 28; Gal. iv, 6.)

(ii.) The second member, that is, the procession from the Son, is proved by similar passages, which style Him “the Spirit of the Son,” (Gal. iv, 6,) and which declare, that He is given and sent by the Son, (John xv, 26,) and that He therefore receives from the Son and glorifies Him. (xvi, 14.) To which must likewise be added, from another passage, (xx, 22,) a mode of giving, which is called “breathing,” or inspiration.

(iii.) The third member, that is, His being the third person in the Holy Trinity in order, but not in time and degree, appears principally from the fact, that the Spirit of the Father and the Son is said to be sent and given by the Father and the Son, and that the Father and the Son are said to work by Him. It is also manifest from the order which was observed in the institution of Baptism, “Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt. xxviii, 19.)

IX. All those passages of Scripture which have been produced in the preceding Theses for another purpose, prove “that the Holy Spirit is distinguished from the Father and the Son, not only according to name, but likewise according to person,” which is the third part of the description which we have given. [§ 4.] Among other passages, the following expressly affirm this distinction: “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter.” (John xiv, 16.) “That Comforter, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name.” (xiv, 26.) “When that Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father.” (xv, 26.) “The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath annointed me,” &c. (Isa. lxi, 1.) There are numerous other passages in confirmation of this distinction: so that the blindness of Sabellius was most wonderful, who could possibly be in darkness amidst such a splendour of daylight.

X. Lastly. The fourth part comes now to be considered.

(1.) The Infinity of the Holy Spirit is proved, both by his Omniscience, by which he is said to “search all things, yea, the deep things of God,” and to know all the things which are in God; (1 Cor. ii, 10, 11; John xvi, 13;) and by his Omnipotence, by which He hath created and still preserves all things, (Job. xxxiii, 4) and according to both of which He is styled “the Spirit of wisdom and of knowledge,” and “the power of the Highest.” (Luke i, 35.)

(2.) His Eternity is established, (Isa. xi, 2) both by the creation of all things; for whatsoever is before all things which have been made, that is eternal; and by the titles with which He is signalized, for he is called “the power of the Highest,” and the finger of God.” (Luke xi, 20.) These titles cannot apply to a thing that has its beginning in time.

(3.) A most luminous argument for His Immensity lies in this. It is said, that “no one can flee from the Spirit of God; (Psalm cxxxix, 7;) and that the Spirit of the Lord dwells in all his saints, as in a temple. (1 Cor. vi, 19.)

XI. From all these particulars it clearly appears, that the Holy Ghost is of the same Divinity with the Father and the Son, and is truly distinguished by the name of God. For He who is not a creature, and yet has a real subsistence, must be God; and He who is from God, and who proceeds from the Father, not by an external emanation, nor by a creation performed through the intervention of any other Divine power, but by an internal emanation, He, being the power of God, by what right shall He be despoiled of the name of “God?” For when He is said to be given, poured out, and sent; this does not betoken any diminution of his Divinity, but is an intimation of his origin from God, of his procession from the Father and the Son, and of his mission to his office. A clear indication of his Deity is also apparent from its being said, that He also with plenary power distributes Divine gifts according to his own will, (1 Cor. xii, 11,) and he bestows his gifts with an authority equal to that with which “God” the Father is said to “work his operations,”

(4.) and to that with which the Son, who is called “the Lord,” is said to “institute administrations.”

XII. This doctrine of the sacred and undivided Trinity contains a mystery which far surpasses every human and angelical understanding, if it be considered according to the internal union which subsists between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and according to the relation among them of origin and procession. But if regard be had to that economy and dispensation by which the Father and the Son, and both of them through the Holy Spirit, accomplish our salvation; the contemplation is one of admirable sweetness, and produces in the hearts of believers the most exhuberant fruits of faith, hope, charity, confidence, fear, and obedience, to the praise of God the Creator, the Son the Redeemer, and of the Holy Ghost the Sanctifier. May “the Love of God the Father, the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost, be with us,” and with all saints. Amen! (2 Cor. xiii, 14.)

“If the Spirit be third in dignity and order, what necessity is there for his being also the third in nature? Indeed the doctrine of piety has perhaps taught that He is third in dignity. But to employ the expression ‘the third in nature,’ we have neither learned out of the Holy Scriptures, nor is it possible to collect it as a consequence from what precedes. For as the Son is in truth Second in order, because He is from the Father, and Second in dignity, because the Father exists that He may be himself the principle and the cause, and because through the Son there is a procession and an access to God the Father; (but He is no more second in nature, because the Deity is one in both of them.) So, undoubtedly, is likewise the Holy Spirit, though He follows the Son both in order and dignity, as we completely grant, yet He is not at all resembling one who exists in the nature of another. Basilius Eversor 3.

“In brief, in things to be distinguished, the Deity is incapable of being divided; and resembles one vast attempered mass of effulgence proceeding from three suns which mutually embrace each other. Wherefore when we have had regard to the Deity itself, or to the first cause, or to the monarchy, we have formed in our minds a conception of some one thing. Again, when I apply my mind to these things in which Deity consists, and which exist from the first cause itself, flowing from it with equal glory and without any relation to time, I discover three things as the objects of my adoration.” Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. 3 De Theolog.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/29/2012 at 10:00 AM

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