What do I believe about the Holy Spirit?

I think it is important to understand a little bit about me before I started this class and where I am now.  Prior to coming to this class, I had been engaged with a local Anglican church here in my town.  We followed the three streams model.  We were the living fire of the Holy Spirit. We spoke in tongues, healed the sick, and was blessed to be given some prophecy. Our Sheppard ensured he protected us and prayed in the Spirit with us.  However about three weeks before the class started, I had to leave the church due to the calling of the Holy Spirit.

I currently attend an Episcopal church which does not understand the traditions of the Anglican church I had come from. However, they do understand the Holy Spirit and understand the most important aspect of the call to ministry, they live and perform the Great Commission.[1]  The truly love one another and those in their community. The exciting part is they are called The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit looks and waits for willing vessels. And it wasn’t until I had found my previous Anglican church had I even heard or been a willing vessel for the Holy Spirit. I did not engage with Bible fanatics prior to joining this church. In all honesty, I rarely prayed and when I did it was something for me or someone I cared about.  I never prayed to the Holy Spirit or Jesus.  I just prayed to God.

In 2013 a survey was done comparing the English against American’s and their belief in the devil.[2] They found that American’s are more likely to believe in possession of the devil and that the devil really exists than the British. This is important to recognize because while oppression can occur for Christians it does not mean we can be possessed.  We cannot be possessed after we are Baptized in the Holy Spirit because we are protected by the blood of Jesus Christ.   Prior to attending that church, I suffered from rapid cycle type two bipolar disorder.  I had spent most of my life hearing voices and being placed on and off medications. On and off medications, I heard voices. Angry vile and evil voices.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Those that believe Satan does not sit in the pews at church are wrong. Satan and his demons sit and church.  They communicate with sinners like us to distract us from our service to the Lord. Therefore, intercessory prayer is so important.  Because although we are baptized Satan is a roaring lion that wanders the earth searching for those for whom he can take.  In our discussion group, we have been discussing back and forth about the concept of Sin in relation to the Holy Spirit.  We talked about sin because of the sacrament of Baptism.  The sacrament of Baptism is when original sin is wiped away and you are received in the family of believers but the Holy Spirit enters your Holy of Holies and provides you with gifts.

I believe that the gifts are not something that is permanently provided to you but is provided as needed for the situation by the Holy Spirit.  Sin limits our capabilities with the gifts. Therefore, the repentance of sin is so important prior to assisting or receiving the gifts from the Holy Spirit.  We are all used in God’s divine plan and what we are called to do varies from situation to situation. So, while the most common experience is the receiving of tongues it is not the only gift.   The Holy Spirit provides us with gifts that let others know the presences of God is there and is involved in the activity.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit used by St. Thomas Aquinas are mentioned in Isaiah 11:2-3.  St. Thomas Aquinas discusses the gifts in his writings Prima secundae and Secunda secundae.[3] He aligns the gifts with virtues. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are the gifts for believing in Jesus Christ.[4] In the Bible, the three virtues we are to live in are faith, hope, and charity.[5] As Christians, we desire the virtues to live a virtuous life. These virtues are the theological virtues are faith hope and love. These virtues separated a Christian from the pagan world. Pelser believed that these virtues stemmed from the theological understanding of “human nature, sin, and grace”.[6] There are four cardinal virtues that all individuals can desire and pray for and live in these are prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice.  These four virtues can be practiced by anyone and perfect the capacities of the soul.[7]  Therefore there is a total of seven virtues each of these relate to the seven deadly sins.

Seven Deadly Sins Cardinal & Theological Virtues Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Sins Theological Virtues Intellectual Gifts
Pride Faith Knowledge
Envy Hope Understanding
Wrath Charity Wisdom
Corporal Sins Cardinal Virtues Ethical Gifts
Sloth Prudence Counsel
Greed Temperance Piety
Gluttony Fortitude Fortitude
Lust Justice Fear of the Lord (Wonder)

 

spiritual sins of pride, envy, and wrath.  The spiritual gifts mentioned in Isaiah 11 is a reflection on understanding and identifying the Messiah. Isaiah expresses the hope that the Messiah would be a unique bearer of the Holy Spirit and with the ratifying of the New Age and Covenant that would impart the Holy Spirit upon all of God’s people.[8]

The gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8–10 are gifts brought to the people in the Christian community.  It is an extension of being given the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  While the Holy Spirit can reside in our Holies of Holies in our souls, we must confess our sins on a regular basis to ensure we have an untarnished communication path with the Lord. This is not to say that every day we will be able to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We must be just waiting and willing vessels although faulty be prepared to do the Lords will although we might not always be called to do great things today we have faith that when our day comes to serve the Lord and do his will, we will be ready and prepared to be the vessel that he uses to ensure his divine plan is fulfilled.

Life and Disconnect from the Holy Spirit

So, as we wait to serve the Lord, life happens. Life is not that easy.  We wander from the path and we obtain and loose gifts. How do we get ourselves back to where we are in harmony with the Holy Spirit? Being human we are prone to sin. Man’s life is full of “vanity, trouble, disappointments, vexations and endless self-dissatisfactions.”[9] We faulty beings not perfect and yet we are blessed with the gift of being able to engage the Holy Spirit. The being, the spark that generates our life, is the breath of God brought by the Holy Spirit.  Owen defends that the cure for our sinful condition is holiness.[10] It is the belief that the image of having God in our souls the Holy Spirit does provide us with an inward peace for our troubled soul. “In the holy soul – the sanctified mind alone – that it composed into an orderly tendency towards the enjoyment of God.”[11]

Life without the Trinity becomes meaningless and pointless. You can literally walk the dessert alone for 40 years.[12] Even as a Christian, with a devout faith we become adults in our Christian faith through trials of the faith. As I write this paper I am experiencing a trial. The way to ordination is a marathon and not a race. As I have suffered the loss of my family and church, I have yet to give up on the faith that the Lord is there to provide for me the tools I need to complete his divine plan. Law writes that if we live in self-denial of those things we indulge on this would bring our mind into exactness which would then lead us to follow the rules of prudence and devotion.[13]

Then the question becomes what does the Lord exactly want from us in this trial?  If we fast, worship, and pray and still feel alone what do we do? The key here is that we must experience the darkness before bringing the light of the world, the Light of the Gospel to others. The darkness is not a time of loneliness but of joy.  Like Job, we must remember that even at the worst times in our lives we must remain faithful and worship the Lord with joy and praise.[14]

The Holy Spirit will provide us with comfort during the storm.  The Holy Spirit gives us gifts that allow ourselves to see the sinful men we are.[15] It provides us with a divine light to examine ourselves. This light in the darkness that surrounds us gives us a path to return to the path of our life in fulfilling God’s divine plan. I would saw that we all follow the same path of the Israelites.  We accept the Lord and then we sin.  He saves us and we sin again. He makes us repent by spending 40 years in the dessert before returning to the Promised Land.  We doubt and have faith.  We sin and repent. However, while we are punished and are lost we are never alone.  Jesus provided his followers the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This gift provides us with comfort in our times of distress to weather the storms of life and come about being a refined vessel for the Lord Jesus Christ.

How to Weather the Storm with the Gift of the Holy Spirit

So far, we have discussed the gifts of the spirit and our separation from the Holy Spirit in our life.  Now as for future ministers we must look at how we are to Weather the Storm of trails that await us in our ministries. As ministers during our postulant period prior to ordination, we will experience storms and trials. Unlike the first Adam, we will not have the Holy Spirit removed from us. However, if we sin and continue to sin without seeking forgiveness and have repentance we will experience the first Adam’s fall. When Adam chose to sin against God and was banished from the Garden, the Holy Spirit was removed from him and became flesh.[16] Sin then consumed the house of the Holy Spirit and we were no longer made in God’s image but the image of our corruption. It is through Baptism we are then reestablished in God’s divine graces.

As ordained ministers, we must remember that unlike the first Adam we are baptized and free from original sin.  We, therefore, have the Holy Spirit to reside in us and provide us with comfort during our trials. As ministers though we are called to stand apart and lead God’s people. This means we must protect our flock from the roaring Lion that walks about seeking souls to devour.[17]  We cannot stand up against the roaring Lion without the Holy Spirit. As ministers, it is our responsibilities to trust in the Lord and meet the roaring Lion face to face and prevent them from being consumed.

Today as the western church membership drops it is time for us to have the Wind of God blown upon us.[18] As ministers, we must remember once we are ordained we are dead to ourselves and alive in Christ. Therefore, we must walk in the way of the Church and although still sinners we must repent continuously to ensure we lead our sheep as an example of how to live a Christian life in today’s day. Failing to follow in the way of the Holy Spirit will lead to darkness in the Church.  Therefore, brothers and sisters, that have taken orders we must remember we are one body in Christ and although we are all different with different creeds and confessions, we still a living sacrifice unto the Lord.[19]

we will forget our personal family.[20] Again, the failure to engage with the Holy Spirit continually can result in the destruction of this family. Wives must find interpersonal engagement through the reading of the Bible, taking devotional time with the Holy Spirit, and having a strong self-esteem. Having these positive attributes ensures a strong relationship in the personal family as ministers and further ensures there is support from family during times in ministry.

Conclusion

A failure to accept the gifts and virtues of the Holy Spirit leads to us falling for the seven deadly sins. Staying pure and remaining faithful ministers to the Word of God is hard.  We not only are responsible for our flock but also for those we engage daily in our walk with God. If we fail to be in tune with the Holy Spirit we allow for the roaring lion to enter our flock and devour the innocent. We are warriors as ministers of God’s word and God’s church. We are the head of two families, our own and the Church we serve. Therefore, listening to the Holy Spirit and using his gifts is a must to ensure the safety of ourselves and others we are called to protect and defend.

Being the wife of a veteran, I can clearly say that although I have never worn the uniform. I respect and honor all those that have and do. As ministers, we are called to wear another uniform. The uniform of the Body of Christ. And like those service members who put on their boots and actively go into harm’s way to protect the values and traditions of our land, we must be so bold to go and protect our flocks from the roaring Lion.  We personally might sustain injuries and loss of life but we will not experience defeat. We have been told that Jesus will return and win a decisive victory in the final battle. As ministers, we must ensure that people hear that word. Our duties are to prepare our flock for the victory to come.  We do this through

“O Priest of God,

Live this Day As though it were your First Day,

Your last Day, and

Your only Day to do the will of God. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biography

Bouchard, C. E. “Recovering The Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Moral Theology.” Theological Studies 63, no. 3 (2002): 539-58. doi:10.1177/004056390206300305.

Fee, Gordon D. Baptism in the Holy Spirit: the issue of separability and subsequence. Portland, OR: TREN, 1992.

Law, William. A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life; The Spirit of Love. London: SPCK, 1979.

Mcminn, Mark R., R. Allen Lish, Pamela D. Trice, Alicia M. Root, Nicole Gilbert, and Adelene Yap. “Care For Pastors: Learning From Clergy and Their Spouses.” Pastoral Psychology 53, no. 6 (2005): 563-81. doi:10.1007/s11089-005-4821-y.

Omeara, T. F. “Virtues in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas.” Theological Studies 58, no. 2 (1997): 254-285. doi:10.1177/004056399705800203.

Owen, John. John Owen on the Holy Spirit: Pneumatologia. Charleston, SC: Demand Publishing, LLC-Create Space, 2012.

Pelser, Adam. “Virtues and Their Vices.” Edited by Kevin Timpe and Craig A. Boyd. Faith and Philosophy 33, no. 3 (2014): 382-86. doi:10.5840/faithphil201633369.

Rusu, Alexandru. “DEMONS AND EXORCISMS IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC MIND-SET: PROBING THE WESTERN DEMONOLOGICAL MENTALITY.” Revista Romana de Sociologie 27, no. 1/2 (2016): 89-109

Smeaton, George. Doctrine of the Holy spirit. Place of publication not identified: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2016.

Torrey, Reuben Archer. The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit. Place of publication not identified: Project Gutenberg, 2015.

[1] Matthew 28:16-20, KJV.

[2] Alexandru Rusu. “DEMONS AND EXORCISMS IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC MIND-SET: PROBING THE WESTERN DEMONOLOGICAL MENTALITY,”Revista Romana de Sociologie 27, no. 1/2 (2016): 106.

[3] C. E. Bouchard, “Recovering The Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Moral Theology,” Theological Studies 63, no. 3 (2002):539, doi:10.1177/004056390206300305.

[4] T. F. Omeara, “Virtues in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas,” Theological Studies 58, no. 2 (1997): 275, doi:10.1177/004056399705800203

[5] 1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV

[6] Adam Pelser, Virtues and their vices, ed. Kevin Timpe and Craig A. Boyd (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) pg. 26.

[7] Ibid. pg. 15.

[8] Gordon D. Fee, Baptism in the Holy Spirit: The Issue of Separability and Subsequence (Portland, OR: TREN, 1992) pg. 92.

[9] John Owen. John Owen on the Holy Spirit: Pneumatologia. (Charleston, SC: Demand Publishing, LLC-Create Space, 2012) pg. 643.

[10] Ibid. pg. 644.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Numbers 32:13, KJV.

[13] William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life; The Spirit of Love (London: SPCK, 1979) pg. 142.

[14] James 1:2-5, NASB.

[15] C. E. Bouchard, “Recovering The Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Moral Theology,” Theological Studies 63, no. 3 (2002): pg. 551, doi:10.1177/004056390206300305.

[16] George Smeaton, Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Place of publication not identified: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2016) pg. 15.

[17] 1 Peter 5:8, NASB.

[18] Reuben Archer Torrey, The Person, and Work of The Holy Spirit (Place of publication not identified: Project Gutenberg, 2015) pg. 33.

[19] Romans 12:1-5, NASB.

[20] Mark R. Mcminn et al., “Care For Pastors: Learning From Clergy and Their Spouses,” Pastoral Psychology 53, no. 6 (2005): 566, doi:10.1007/s11089-005-4821-y.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Greatest Gift

In the Gospels, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as he arose from the water as John the Baptist baptized him.[1]  The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove according to all four gospels.  The fact that this occurred during his baptism by John the Baptist in water emphasizes the point of the importance of baptism by water because it is through the water we receive the fire of the Holy Spirit. The acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior allows us to accept the Holy Spirit into our soul.  The act of baptism unites us with Christ. Depending on your denomination, there might be a right of confirmation, which is when you publically announce your acceptance of Jesus Christ and this is when the gifts of the Holy Spirit are inflamed.  While the disciples believed, Jesus to be the Messiah it was not until after the resurrection of Jesus that Pentecost occurred.

Pentecost is a church season and is set aside for the celebration of the transference of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples when Jesus breathed on them.  To receive the Holy Spirit, one must be baptized for the remission of their sins and they shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.[2] As a Christian, we desire this gift because the gift provides us with the possibility of nine separate gifts to assist us in being used in the divine plan of the Lord. These gifts are the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom, the gift of prophecy, the gift of faith, the gift of healings, the working of miracles, the discerning of spirits, the ability to speak in tongues and the interpretation of those tongues.[3] While no one person has all nine gifts, the gifts are given to us, as the Lord needs them for us to ensure his plan is fulfilled.

These gifts are used to reaffirm Christian believers and to bring new believers to Christ.  As a Christian, we are a willing open vessel from which the Lord to work through to ensure God’s will is done. As Christians, we must be dead in order to live in Christ.[4] Therefore, this means we give up our flesh and earthly desires to become empty vessels that the Lord can use to fulfill his divine plans. The Holy Spirit is not only seen in the New Testament but also in the Old Testament.  When God spoke, it happened.[5] The manner in which things were completed was through the Holy Spirit.  In the Trinity when we discuss the Holy Spirit, it is an important part of the trinity because it is the action-oriented part of Trinity.  Where God and Jesus exist so does, the Holy Spirit performing the actions ensuring the divine will of the three in unison is accomplished.

McGrath describes the Holy Spirit as the wind, breath, and charism.[6]  He uses the wind to describe the Holy Spirit for its strength, uncontrollable nature, and ability to move. The breath is in reference to Adam when he breathed life into him.[7] Therefore, the Spirit lives in us from the time of our creation. However, it is not until Baptism and Confirmation do we receive the full power of the Holy Spirit.  In the beginning, the breath leads us in the direction towards cross and God but we must be quite and listen for its prompting. The charism is the ability to perform tasks that would be impossible which we see as part of the nine gifts that can be given to a believer if they are willing to receive them. McGrath discusses Hippo’s logic about the Holy Spirit in regards to the consensus on the Trinity.[8] The focus of the discussion of the logic is based on the need and importance of love within the Christian life.  Hippo laid out that the greatest gift can give someone is love and the Holy Spirit.  Because of these two great gifts from God, then it could be concluded that the Holy Spirit is love.[9]  The weakness of this argument by Hippo according to McGrath is that the Holy Spirit is like that of a substance that unifies the Father and Son with believers together.[10]  The weakness in placing a description and understanding of what the Holy Spirit is that we describe it with what we know.

Therefore, any description made by man will be inadequate to express the being of the Holy Spirit.  It becomes more complex when unifying what it is with the Trinity. Any attempt to describe how the trinity works together being one of the same beings leads towards modalism, which is the belief that God is one person who has three separate modes in which he engages with individuals.[11] While this mode of thinking helps explain God in a logical manner that can be grasped and understood, it fails to identify God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit as separate unique beings that are three but one. Understanding the greatness and unexplainable nature of the Trinity is key to understanding that our personal relationships with the three Godheads are important as Christians.  The Holy Spirit is the fire that lit up Jeremiah when he would not mention God’s name or speak any more in his name.[12]  God’s word was in his heart and a burning fire shot up his bones and he was weary but he could not hold back God’s words.[13]  We know all are blessed with that fire in our hearts to speak and “just be” for God. The sacraments of baptism and confirmation ensure that the fire is ignited. We receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit to fulfill God’s will here on earth.  We are made in the image and likeness of God.[14] That image had life breathed into us.[15] This life that has been breathed into us is ignited by the fire of the Holy Spirit.  Like a parent, God gave us life by breathing the Holy Spirit into us to lead us to worship him.

A Christian can see the Holy Spirit today as the ultimate gift from God being shared with us.  This love is like no other love we have ever known in our life.   We are able to display aspects of this love through the gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit. As a Christian, we are all broken.[16] While broken we are made whole by being united in communion with God and therefore are asked to be a living sacrifice which is transformed so we may be a good, acceptable and perfect for the will of God.[17]  Our brokenness has made us whole and with the flame of the Holy Spirit, we are able to be fishers of men and bring others who are broken, into the body of the Christ, which is one of the greatest gifts one can give to another.[18]

[1] Luke 3:22, Matt. 3:16, John 1:32, Mark 1:10 KJV

[2] Acts 2:38 KJV

[3] 1 Corin. 12:7-11 KJV

[4] Ephe. 4:22-24, Luke 9:23-24 KJV

[5] Gene. 1:3 KJV

[6] McGrath, Alister E., Christian Theology: An Introduction (Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 228.

[7] Gene. 2:7 KJV

[8] McGrath, Alister E., Christian Theology: An Introduction (Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 251.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid. 244-245

[12] Jere. 20:9 KJV

[13] Ibid.

[14] Gene. 1:27 KJV

[15] Gene. 2:7 KJV

[16] Psal. 51 KJV

[17] Roma. 12 KJV

[18] Matt. 4:19 KJV