The Holy Spirit
For some years now there has been a great deal of interest in
the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, not all of it has
been biblical or healthy.
THE DEITY OF THE SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is more than a divine influence or attribute.
He is a divine Person. He is truly God, the same in substance
and equal in power and glory with the Father and the Son.
"The Lord is that Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:17). So the title of deity
is clearly given to Him. This is seen also in Acts 5:3, 4,
where lying to the Holy Ghost is termed lying to God. The
attributes of deity are ascribed to Him in Scripture, as are
the acts of God, such as creation (Gen. 1:2), resurrection
(Rom. 8:11; 1 Pet. 3:18), regeneration (John 6:63), and the
inspiration of the Scriptures (2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16).
THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT
It is the Holy Spirit who convinces men of sin (John 16:8). He it
is who quickens, or regenerates, souls dead in sins (John 3:3-8;
Eph. 2:1). He baptizes every regenerated soul into the body of
Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). He indwells every believer and makes
him His temple (1 Cor. 6:19). The Holy Spirit sanctifies those
whom He indwells (1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13). He begets an
attitude of prayerfulness in believers (Rom. 8:26). He is
the promised "Comforter," the Paraclete, the One called
alongside God's people to help them. He is Christ's Vicar,
supplying to Christians today what the physical presence of
Christ meant to His Disciples when He was with them on
earth (John 16:7, 13-15).
THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT
Christ promised His disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit
(Acts 1:4). In this way they were to "receive power" (Acts 1:8),
or "be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). He
fulfilled His promise to them on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4).
At various later times we read of those same disciples being
"filled with the Holy Ghost" (e.g., Acts 4:8, 31).
This fullness of power was to equip them for service.
Every Christian is to live his life constantly full of the
Holy Ghost (Eph. 5:18)--constantly under the control of the
Spirit. Scripture also speaks of special demonstrations of the
Spirit's power in and through the witness of His people. The
exhibition of that power is what constitutes true revival, and
the more widespread the demonstration of power, the greater
the revival. In the Free Presbyterian Church we lay great
emphasis upon the reality of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
We pray constantly for His fullness of power. We long for true
revival. We do not despise the ordinary means by which the
Lord carries on the work of His church, but we pray earnestly
and continually that in His sovereign grace He will visit us in
THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT
We view true revival as being far different from the phenomena
associated with the modern Charismatic movement. That
movement has become more and more an ecumenical tool to
produce a one-world church. It is light on the essential doctrines
of the gospel. It exudes the atmosphere and techniques of
the world of show business. Its claimed "gifts" have little or
nothing in common with the gifts of the Spirit set forth in
Scripture. For example, the gift of tongues in Acts 2 was a
gift that enabled God's servants to preach in languages they
had never learned. That is the essence of the biblical gift of
tongues. In contrast, the modern Pentecostal and Charismatic
use of tongues is a jumble of meaningless sounds.
We reject what we believe to be counterfeits of the gifts
that the Spirit gave to the early church. We also reject the
claimed extra-scriptural revelations of modern Charismatics.
One of the leading theologians of the movement has taught
openly that not all God's truth for us is in the Bible and claims
authority for the visions and voices of prophets like himself. We
reject all extra-scriptural revelation as a dangerous delusion.
Furthermore, the Presbytery does not permit anyone who
practices the modern Pentecostal and Charismatic form of
tongues (either in public or private) to be in membership of
any Free Presbyterian congregation.
However, the Charismatic misuse of such biblical terms as
"being filled with the Spirit" must not prejudice us against
a scriptural pursuit of the Spirit's power in our ministry.
Throughout church history God has imparted to His servants
special enduements of power to preach the gospel. Jonathan
Edwards, George Whitefield, John Wesley, C. H. Spurgeon,
D. L. Moody, and a host of other great preachers knew the
anointing of God's Spirit for service. They were not dabblers
in tongues and extra-scriptural revelations. They were not
interested in high-powered human promotions. They cried
to God for the power of His Spirit in revival fullness, and
He answered their cry. We look to Him to answer us in the