How Does the Holy Spirit Operate in the Believer’s Life?
Which is why Michael Horton offers an entire chapter on “How the Spirit Gives” in his new book Rediscovering the Holy Spirit.
I’m glad he does. Because as a former pastor I’ve found Horton’s view to be true: people struggle to understand how the Spirit ordinarily operates in their life. After explaining the relationship between the Spirit and the means of grace, Horton helps us understand how the Spirit gives by getting specific:
Hearing Christ preached, being baptized, and taking Communion are not substitutes for faith but are the means through which the Spirit gives us faith and confirms our faith to the…
How the Spirit Gives – An Excerpt from Rediscovering the Holy Spirit
In today’s excerpt from Rediscovering the Holy Spirit, author, pastor, and theologian Michael Horton reveals that the work of God’s Spirit is far more ordinary and common than we realize. Horton argues that we need to take a step back every now and again to focus on the Spirit himself—his person and work—so that we can gain a fresh dependence on the Holy Spirit in every area of our lives.
Along with exploring the distinctness of the Spirit’s person and operations in the external works of the Trinity, my goal in this study has been to highlight the ways in which the Holy Spirit is identified in Scripture with not only—or even primarily—that which is extraordinary, spontaneous, and…
One Concern with Renewed Interest in the Holy Spirit: Depersonalization
In Rediscovering the Holy Spirit, Michael Horton encourages us to refocus on the person and work of the Spirit, in order to recognize him as someone other than Jesus or ourselves—or as something in creation.
Although the Holy Spirit has made something of a comeback in recent years, Horton bears a word of caution:
As with the revival of interest in the Trinity, renewed interest in the Spirit does not always mean clarity or consistency with respect to historic Christian teaching. It is not to be assumed that the Spirit whom people have in mind is the Spirit identified in Scripture. (20)
Horton has one particular concern in mind: the Spirit’s depersonalization.
His concern arises from both the culture and the church. Horton explores why, in order to help us rediscover the…
What Does God Call You? (Acts 2:39) – Mondays with Mounce 275
In Peter’s sermon on the eschatological outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he says this. “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call (προσκαλέσηται)” (NIV).
There are two problems with this translation. (1) It does not particularly make sense. Call what? (2) Why is προσκαλέσηται middle?
The point, of course, is to point out the scope of God’s salvation. Joel has already said that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21); that is the human side of salvation. Now, in v 39, is the divine…
Do Not Quench the Spirit! – An Excerpt from Practicing the Power by Sam Storms
In Practicing the Power, pastor and author Sam Storms offers practical steps to understanding and exercising spiritual gifts in a way that remains grounded in the Word and centered in the gospel.
In Today’s excerpt, we learn how we as Christians often quench the Spirit, as well as how we can welcome the Spirit’s work in our churches.
There are numerous metaphors and analogies employed by the biblical authors to describe both the nature and ministry of the Holy Spirit, the three most common being wind, water, and fire. When it comes to wind, one thinks immediately of our Lord’s words to Nicodemus and the mysterious way in which he brings new birth to spiritually dead sinners (John 3:7–8).
When the apostle Paul wanted to describe the Spirit’s work in…
Are You Afraid of Spiritual Gifts? – An Excerpt from Sam Storms
How can Christians pursue and implement the miraculous gifts of the Spirit without falling into fanatical excess and splitting the church in the process? In today’s excerpt from Practicing the Power, pastor and author Sam Storms helps us rethink our approach to spiritual gifts.
My working assumption is that you are reading this book because you sincerely desire to see a more robust and vibrant expression of the Holy Spirit at work in your personal life and in your church. Please know that this is a good thing! Paul’s exhortation in 1 Corinthians 14:1 is that we should eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially prophecy. To long for and humbly pursue all the spiritual gifts that are described in the NT is…
Is It the Spirit or His Gifts? (1 Cor 14:1) — Mondays with Mounce 260
Here is a great example of the challenges of a substantival adjectives.
Paul writes, “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts (τὰ πνευματικά), especially that you may prophesy” (1 Cor 14:1, ESV). πνευματικός is an adjective meaning “spiritual,” often referring to the divine spirit, the Holy Spirit. This is the topic of the end of the verse and also the entire chapter, and this is how every major translation views the verse.
Interesting, then, is the parallel statement in 12:1. “Now concerning spiritual gifts (τῶν πνευματικῶν),* brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed” (ESV). The footnote on “gifts” says, “Or persons.” The HCSB is inconsistent; in 12:1…
The Holy Spirit by Christopher R. J. Holmes Receives Best Theology Book of the Year Award from Australian Theological Forum
The Holy Spirit by Christopher R. J. Holmes, published by Zondervan Academic, has received the 2015 Australian Theological Forum’s annual book award for Best Theology Book.
Holmes will be presented with the award in July at the annual conference for the Australia/New Zealand Association of Theological Schools.
“This is a very serious and competent study of the third person of the Holy Trinity, discussed powerfully within its proper Trinitarian framework,” reported the Australian Theological Forum judges. “It is an engagement with the Trinitarian (and pneumatological) insights of three of the greatest theologians in the history of the church, St Augustine, Aquinas, and Karl Barth.”
“The subject matter is of the greatest importance, while the discussion is subtle and profound,” the judges continued. “Even those not…
What Can South Asia Teach the West About the Holy Spirit?
There has been a fascinating movement afoot within the Church since at least a decade ago: brothers and sisters in Christ from Africa, South America, and Asia have been teaching us Westerners a thing or two about Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
A prime example is the new South Asia Bible Commentary, a resource by South Asian scholars for South Asian readers.
Originally the brainchild of fourteen Langham scholars from India and Christopher Wright, SABC is focused on “building a bridge between biblical teaching and life in modern South Asia.”
I submit it’s also a resource for us Westerners, as it provides a non-Western lens through which to view the Bible and Christian theology. Given increasing global (particularly Eastern) influences in the West and the global nature of the Church…
God’s Freedom – An Excerpt from The Holy Spirit
Today we continue our study of the third member of the Trinity. In The Holy Spirit, Chris Holmes takes up the questions surrounding the Spirit’s procession and mission with the help of three of the church’s greatest teachers—Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Karl Barth. The following excerpt begins to outline Barth’s contribution to pneumatology. This first book in the New Studies in Dogmatics series is now available from Zondervan Academic. Order your copy today.
Karl Barth is the last major classical interlocutor to feature in our account of the Holy Spirit. As Augustine and Thomas, Barth will not leave us room “for a facile self-dispensation from the burden of metaphysical thought.” This is because of one theological conviction above all else,…
[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: Barth’s Pneumatology in Christopher Holmes’s The Holy Spirit
Zondervan Academic’s New Studies in Dogmatics series launches this fall with its first volume, Christopher Holmes’s The Holy Spirit, which is now available. We will introduce readers to this work and engage with some of the doctrinal issues addressed therein over a series of four posts here at Common Places. In this third post, Ben Rhodes takes a closer look at Part 3: Engaging Barth: The Other-Directed Spirit. (Click here to read the other posts in this series.)
Christopher Holmes’s writing is an admirable model of patient exegesis, both of Scripture and of the Christian theological tradition. His most recent book, The Holy Spirit, largely consists of careful readings of Augustine, Aquinas, and Barth as they read the Gospel of John (both in…
South Asian Understandings of the Holy Spirit – An Excerpt from South Asia Bible Commentary
The South Asia Bible Commentary is unique in that it is written by South Asian scholars for South Asian readers. Not only a one volume commentary on the whole Bible, this new resource includes ninety articles, many of them focused on building a bridge between Biblical teaching and life in modern South Asia. Ivan Satyavrata contributes this fascinating survey of how the Holy Spirit is understood within Asian culture.
In view of the ancient tradition of spirituality in the Indian subcontinent, the subject of the Holy Spirit occupies a place of prominence in South Asian spirituality. South Asians very naturally tend to think of God as spirit. Sanskrit, the language of the Hindu tradition that dominates South Asia, is rich with “spirit” terminology…