Holy Spirit properly addressed
In many of our churches today, we have a hypo focus on the Holy Spirit. Which can be seen as a functionally bi(two)nity or a two-person godhead, consisting of merely God, the Father and God, the Son. In large part, the church has neglected the doctrine of the Holy Spirit because of fear that it would allow the "looney charismatics" a voice. But on the other side of the spectrum, there are some who place the Holy Spirit as the biggest functional person in the Godhead. They over-focus on the Holy Spirit, even though His role is to be in the background shining the light on Jesus. In this blog, we will examine the Charismatics unhealthy and unbiblical focus on the Holy Spirit. The technical $10 word for the theology of the Holy Spirit is called Pneumatology.
It all started in the 1700s with the first Great Awakening. There were many preachers walking through the American lands who were preaching the gospel in such a manipulative, emotive, and decisional way that it caused many faithful believers to examine their practices. These opinions on this method of preaching the gospel led to a divide in the church into two parties, the Old Lights and New Lights. The Old Lights did not agree with this overemphasis on the activity of the Holy Spirit, leading people to be overly agitated, and the New Lights were in support of it and usually were saved through it. So Edwards felt compelled to address the issue pastorally.
Based on 1 John 4:2-3, John Edwards came to the conclusion that
"a true work of the Spirit exalts the true Christ." (Strange fire by John MacArthur 39)
"By this, you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world." (1 John 4:2-3)
In this text, we can see that the Spirit is not in focus, but instead, is teaching us about Jesus. It is similar to the law of God. The law of God is not meant to be the ultimate when we look at the law, but instead is supposed to point to the holiness of God. The reason that the law of God points to the holiness of God is that the law of God is literately created from God's own character and goodness. He did not just create laws from thin air like he did creation, but instead gave us a collection and special portrayal of His nature in the law. The Holy Spirit, in the same way, is not to be focused on but is a signpost pointing to Jesus.
Thus, "Those ministries that distract people away from Christ, or distort the truth of His nature and gospel, or seek to diminish His glory are certainly not empowered by the Holy Spirit." (Strange Fire by John MacArthur 40)
In Jesus’ ministry, He barely ever addresses the Holy Spirit, and when he does, he is the assistant and representative of Christ. Check out John 14 to see one of Jesus’ closing conversations with His disciples.
"Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14:13)
Notice Jesus does not say that believers should go to God the Father in prayer and ask in the Holy Spirit's name, but instead in Jesus’ name. Why is this? Because in the divine economy, God the Father's love for God the Son has set up a spiritual system where any human who wants to talk to God the Father must mention His Son Jesus. In doing this, God the Father is glorified because His Son is being honored.
Jesus’ role was the redemption of mankind on the cross, and once He had fulfilled His mission, the Holy Spirit was to come and be the helper and correspondent for Jesus.
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while, the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also." (John 14:16-19)
Notice that even though we do not see Jesus any longer, He is said to still be with us always because of His representative in the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. Check out the language of the passage, the Holy Spirit is in the background and merely the means of Jesus being with us, He is not exalted or focused on. To focus on the Holy Spirit is like calling into a doctor's office and asking to talk to a secretary instead of talking to or meeting with the doctor himself. The job of the secretary is to mediate and represent the doctor on his behalf.
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. . . He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you." (John 14:26; 16:14)
John MacArthur thus concludes that the charismatic movement has an unbiblical view of the Trinity.
"An emphasis on the person and work of Christ is not the defining feature of the Charismatic Movement- where an intense fixation on a caricature of the blessing and gifting of the Holy Spirit has instead taken center stage." (Strange Fire by John MacArthur 41)
"Within charismatic circles, a proper focus on Christ is obscured by a preoccupation with alleged spiritual gifts and supernatural empowerment." (Strange Fire by John MacArthur 42)
Let us end with our polemics against the charismatic movement with this quote from big name theologian D. Martin Lloyd-Jones
"And so you see how easily we go astray and become heretical if we concentrate overmuch, and in an unscriptural manner, upon the Spirit Himself. Yes, we must realize that He dwells within us, but His work in dwelling within us is to glorify the Son, and to bring to us that blessed knowledge of the Son and of His wondrous love to us." (Strange Fire by John MacArthur 44)
So now that we have all witnessed this spiritual scolding of charismatic learning, what did we learn from this disciplining of these fellow professors of Christ? We learn that proper doctrine of the Holy Spirit or Pneumatology is characterized by exaltation and pointing to the person and work of Jesus. The Holy Spirit's ministry is part two of Jesus’ ministry. His role in the Gospel story is to grant us faith in Jesus and help us pray and grow in holiness so that we will be more and more prepared to be with Christ on Judgment Day and the Marital wedding between the Bride (the Church) and the Bridegroom (Jesus).
This blog has been more about doctrine building and positive defense of truth, but some things need to be addressed in negative language at times. If we are going to have truth, we must know what the lies are that challenge the truth. Before someone can believe the truth, they must be led to see that they have been believing in a lie.
This is a blog by a Reformed Baptist. If you as a reader are confused about the "Reformed" part of the Baptist, then do a Google search on the "2nd London Baptist Confession" and check out its articles. This summary gives a basis for what we believe. I will be quoting its stance on Scripture to start out, and then we will get into the issue that will be addressed in this blog, the Prosperity Gospel, also known as the Word of Faith movement.
Quotes from 2nd London Baptist Confession
CHAPTER 1 OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
Paragraph 1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the light of nature and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore, it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in diversified manners to reveal Himself and to declare (that) His will unto His church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh and the malice of Satan and of the world to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God's revealing His will unto His people being now completed.
The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
Tim Bankes II
Tim is a Christian author. His worldview that informs his writing is Calvinist, Baptist, and Libertarian. His main series is his Christian picture book series, "About God for Kids", where he discusses the attributes of God in a way kids can digest. He also wrote a Christian Romance novel, libertarian book for beginners, and Christian coloring books. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He has written a book on freedom called “Are You Free” (If you are into listening to books I have it in audio also, Are You Free Audiobook )and he has written multiple children’s books about God. Be Sure to check out the podcast version of the blog, Labor for Truth Podcast. And check out “The Truth About” Youtube Channel. You can find his works at his amazon author page, https://amazon.com/author/timbankes. He even has a free digital ebook on how God is the creator. Get your free copy today at, Greater Creator .Also If you are into Christian Fiction, he has made his first book in his Futuristic Christian Fiction series free, Her Dying Wish