Overview: Part 1
Of the three persons making up the triune God, it is doubtless and self-evident that the Holy Spirit is least discussed, least studied and least focused upon. Even though the New Testament presents the saving work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in a very balanced manner, underlining the role each of the three Persons of the Trinity have, as early as the post-apostolic period we can already observe a decline in the focus upon the place and the role of the Holy Spirit within the context of the Trinity.
Some have referred to the Holy Spirit as the forgotten attribute of God, while others have said that the Holy Spirit is the one Person of the triune God no one speaks or writes about anymore. Pneumatology, or the study of the Holy Spirit has also fallen out of favor with theologians and scholars because whether they consider the Holy Spirit to be a power, an influence, or an inspiration, some have parted with the reality that the Holy Spirit is a Person. For many, the Holy Spirit is just a force lurking in the shadows, unable to perform any actions in and of Himself, and no longer relevant to the times and the season in which we are living.
‘That all ended with the Apostles’ some say, with an air or pity, ‘God doesn’t do that anymore, why discuss it or study it?’
When pressed on the matter however, and asked for biblical proof that ‘God doesn’t do that anymore’ whether heal, give prophecies, dreams, visions, discernment or wisdom, all the defenders of cessationism come up with one scripture in Corinthians that they interpret through the prism of their denominational dogma, discounting all the words of Christ, of Peter, of Paul, of Luke and of Matthew. At a certain point in this series, we might even get into why cessationists believe what they believe, but we have a far road to travel before we get into such specifics.
Before you start rolling your eyes, imagining a guy in a tweed jacket and a turtleneck sweater giving a boring lecture, this will not be a systematic theology course on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, but a sincere and honest investigation, a journey into a far too long neglected attribute and cornerstone of our faith, one that promises to challenge, enlighten and even excite us to the reality of who the Holy Spirit truly is, His power, His presence in our lives, His availability to those who believe, and the purpose for which He descended.
Throughout this protracted series, my pledge and promise is that we will approach the doctrine of the Holy Spirit from a biblical perspective, and not from the perspective of any given denomination. I will do my best to limit sharing my own theological presuppositions, knowing full well that I will not be able to shake them off altogether, because let’s face it, we begin this journey with the premise that the Holy Spirit is still relevant, active, available, and necessary for the children of God. I did however come to this conclusion not through the prism of denominational dogma, but rather diligent and prolonged study of God’s Holy Word.
If we believe the Word of God to be true, and the times that are upon us will be the most trying times the Church has ever seen, why would God in His eternal wisdom now choose to remove the one Person from our midst who is tasked with warning us, encouraging us, strengthening us, and guiding us? If God is not a respecter of persons, why would He choose to pour out the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit on one singular generation, making it unavailable to everyone else for the rest of time? These are logical questions to which those who contend that the Holy Spirit is no longer among us, and no longer available to us, have no logical or reasonable answers.
I realize I’m getting ahead of myself, but there is no scripture within the entirety of the Bible that would even hint at the idea that the Holy Spirit and the gifts thereof somehow had an expiration date, that the power would somehow descend upon a select few and summarily be withdrawn from the earth.
What could be worse than preparing for a battle, having access to all the weapons necessary to win said battle, yet somehow be tricked or deceived into believing that you in fact have no access to said weapons or the possibility of ever attaining them?
Ambitious as the following may sound, Lord willing the plan for this series is as follows: First, we will be defining the person of the Holy Spirit, Biblically tracing His mention from the book of Genesis, through the entirety of the Old Testament, going on to the promise of Christ that His disciples would be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, to the fulfillment of the promise on the day of Pentecost, to the individual gifts of the Holy Spirit, their availability, and whatever else the Lord would impress upon my heart along the way.
Yes, it will be extensive, yes it will be thorough, and yes it is necessary that it be this in depth, largely due to the neglect that the work, presence, and power of the Holy Spirit has suffered for so long.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.