Saturday, January 21, 2017

Holy Spirit, a person?

They Speak with Other Tongues’ by John L. Sherrill is a study of the Pentecostal movement in the United States in the early 1960s.  Sherrill comes to his study from a mainstream Protestant perspective.  While Sherrill focuses his study on speaking in tongues, he does include a wonderful chapter where he identifies the Holy Spirit as a person.  

free and unattributable

“One of the clearest indications of the fact that the Holy Spirit is a Person, and not some vague sort of automatic force, is the fact that He can indeed be grieved “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God”, said Paul”. 
Page 148 of book with quote from Ephesians 4:30

Sherrill includes the following summary of the Spirit as a person of the Trinity:

-        In the Old and New Testaments both, the Spirit is thought of in terms of action.  Words that suggest movement – fire, wind, breath, rain, dove – are used to refer to Him.  The Spirit is dynamic: He is God in action.

-        In the Old Testament there are inferences that the Spirit is personal; in the New Testament this side of Him is stressed.  Christ is constantly giving names to the Spirit which describe His shepherding, brooding, caring nature.  He calls the Spirit guide, counsellor, comforter, advocate.

-        In both Testaments, when the Spirit touches human life, personality is transformed.
Reference: Page 121 of book.


Note: all links are good at 22 January 2017

Note: The Spirit has perhaps never worked in this manner:

"A small child was drawing a picture and his teacher said,
"That's an interesting picture.  Tell me about it.
"It's a picture of God"
"But nobody knows what God looks like.
"They will when I get done"

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