Doubt and Confusion Concerning the Holy Spirit as a Person

by Cris Putnam
question-markEver since George Lucas’ Star Wars, there has been an increasing tendency in evangelicalism to think of the Holy Spirit akin to “the Force.”  In the culture at large, it is even worse. According to recent Pew Forum statistics 25% of Americans who believe in God, think of God as an impersonal force.[1] Amongst Christians, doctrine of the trinity leads to similar confusion. The classical understanding is one God in three persons. However, many evangelicals tend to view the Holy Spirit as a force employed by God the Father. In his seminal Christian Theology, Millard Erickson noted, “We are not dealing here with an impersonal force. This point is especially important at a time in which pantheistic tendencies are entering Western culture through the influence of Eastern religions.”[2]  I documented the influx of pantheistic thought through the work of Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in Exo-Vaticana. In a recent Facebook discussion, doubt was expressed concerning the personhood of the Holy Spirit based on the following argument:

Many will point to Scriptures like John 14:26 as proof that the Holy Spirit is a person:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26 KJV)

The problem is, the Greek word used here for “he” is ekeinos (Strong’s 1565), which is a demonstrative pronoun that means “that, that one there, yonder” as opposed to the standard pronoun autos (Strong’s # 846), which is a personal pronoun meaning, “he, she, it, they, them, same” as seen repeatedly for instance in 1 John 3:24:

And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. (1 John 3:24 KJV)

 

This is a poor argument. What is defined as “the problem” above is John’s use of ἐκεῖνος which means “that” or “that one.” The force of the argument is that if John wanted us to understand a male person he would have simply used αὐτός which translates “he, she, it” depending on grammatical gender. It implies his choice of the demonstrative imparts ambiguity upon the personhood of the Holy Spirit, but this is simply not so and reflects a lack of understanding basic Greek grammar.

Greek employs a lot more pronoun forms than English: personal, reflexive, demonstrative, indefinite, interrogative, relative and reciprocal.  Demonstratives are used when the author wants to communicate where something is in relation to the speaker/writer and there are two forms near and far. In this case, it was a distance in time.

 

 demonstrative pronoun. n. A pronoun that serves as a pointer or indicates where something is in relation to the speaker/writer (Lat. demonstrare, “to point out”). Near demonstratives (this and these) speak of things that are relatively close; far demonstratives (that and those), of things that are relatively distant. The latter are sometimes distinguished as demonstrative adjectives.[3]

 

John chose to use a demonstrative pronoun in John 14:26 because the Holy Spirit was not yet present, but in Greek there is no ambiguity concerning gender because he chose the masculine form. What is important is that John could have chosen the neuter form (and technically should have) but he didn’t for a reason.  After the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, it makes sense that 3rd person singular would be used rather than a demonstrative pronoun. Attested in 1 Corinthians 12:11, which states that the recipients of the various spiritual gifts are “the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” (βούλομαι, verb, present,  middle/passive, indicative, third person, singular) When Jesus spoke the Holy Spirit had not yet come, when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians he had. This demonstrates that simply using a concordance to translate Greek words to English is not sufficient for biblical exegesis.

What makes this particularly dangerous is that these types of misunderstandings have a long checkered history of spawning cults. In apologetic theology a cult is defined:

 

A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.[4]

 

The personhood of the Holy Spirit is a central doctrine of classical Christianity. Denying it qualifies as a cultic belief akin to other groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Theology is important. Matt Slick has a nice outline detailing the biblical basis for the classic doctrine of the Spirit here.

 



[2] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology., 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), 875–876.

[3] Matthew S. DeMoss, Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 44.

[4] Alan Gomes, Unmasking the Cults (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 7.

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. Laura says:

    Chris, I agree with you. And thank you for writing this article. It’s insane that so many Christian leaders (not just your average Christian) are also now beginning to “teach” that the Holy Spirit is just God the Father in another form and that there is no Trinity. These same leaders/teachers are also questioning the 66 canonical books and claiming that there are more books “out there” including the books of Jubilees and Enoch. The question they plant in their listener’s minds is “Can I really trust these 66 books? And if some men just put them together, maybe there are more.” But this opens them up for the enemy to come in and confuse. No wonder so many “average Christians” now believe that the Mormons are simply another denomination within the Protestant church.

    • jaz says:

      In Genesis we read that “the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters” Gen1:2 and in Vs3 we read “Then God said, let there be light.
      The point I am making is that it was God that spoke and not the Spirit. But it was the Spirit of God in unison with the spoken word which god said that brought forth Light. and we are also told by Jesus that “God is Spirit” Jn4:24

      Furthermore; Nowhere in the scriptures will you find the Trinitarian concept (God the Holy Spirit ) It is always the Spirit of God. So; The Holy Spirit in essence is God, But manifested as His Power, for there is only One God Deut6:4
      The concept of (three persons) is foreign to the Hebrew race and their Torah scriptures Just as the word Trinity cannot be found in the Apostolic writings.

      To blindly accept the theological expressions of the Church fathers as authentic, is just as cultic as denying the deity of God’s Spirit. The largest religious cult is catholicism.

    • owl says:

      Laura, what difference does it make if the Holy Spirit is an aspect of God or a person as we understand it in our fallen 3-dimensional state regardless of translations? Practically it makes no difference and arguing on semantics and our blind understanding of higher heavenly mechanics is pointless.

      Also, where does it state in the bible not to question the 66 book cannon? I think you are confusing Revelation 22:19 with the whole cannon yet it specifically relates in context to the prophecy of the Book of Revelations. I think you need to contemplate on Hosea 4:6 lest you be deceived from numerous satan’s traps that have been set long before the kjv cannon was assembled together.

      • Cris Putnam says:

        owl, You are misinformed. The OT cannon was decided long before the so called “kjv cannon” by the Jews in the third century BC. The NT cannon was decided in the second century based on authorship and eyewitness status. Jesus taught that Holy Spirit is a person and the trinity is revealed in NT.

        • owl says:

          It wasn’t about when the cannon was put together cris but about questioning the 66 kjv book selection. Catholic douay-rheims has 73 books and is more expansive for example. So a typical protestant argument that nothing should be added to the 66 books is quite ridiculous.

          • Joseph D'Hippolito says:

            Gentlemen, I think the word you’re looking for is “canon,” not “cannon.”

    • Chuckles says:

      Yes, Laura, the heretics are coming out of the wood work, aren’t they?

      Notice that neither jaz nor owl address any of the points Cris has raised.

      So the word “Trinity” (short for tri-unity) isn’t in the Bible, huh? Actually, the word “bible” isn’t in the Bible text. So what? The concept of the individual person-hood of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is all over the Scripture. “What difference does it make?” it is asked. Only that God has revealed Himself in Scripture, and desires that we know Him as He is, that we may worship Him in spirit and in truth.

      Three infinite Persons in one infinite God. Or, as I like to put it:

      Infinite Father + Infinite Son + Infinite Holy Spirit = Infinite God.

      Anyone who denies the triune nature of God worships a false god.

      • jaz says:

        Chuckles; I am not disputing the infinite God ,nor His infinite Son, Nor His infinite Spirit. I do not deny the deity of any..

        It is the concept of (three persons) that infinitely existed before time begun as is in the Catholic doxology
        (Glory be to the father and to the son and to the holy spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be)

        My understanding of scripture does not reconcile with the Catholic doctrine of the trinity. nor with their Eucharist, nor their sacramental systems, nor their clerical system and their Mary. which many of which protestants have taken onboard.

        That does not mean that I am a heretic. Don’t be so quick to judge.

        What you my friend may not understand does not negate the reality of truth given to another!

        • Chuckles says:

          Jaz said:

          ” I am not disputing the infinite God ,nor His infinite Son, Nor His infinite Spirit… The Holy Spirit in essence is God, But manifested as His Power…” (Bold, mine.)

          You obviously deny the person-hood of the Holy Spirit, which is rank heresy. The HS is God as a Person, not as a mere manifestation of God. What you espouse (according to your own words) is a variant of modalism, not biblical theology. The person-hood of the HS is a biblical doctrine, as Cris pointed out. (And, you still have not answered his points!)

          The Roman Catholic Church did not invent the three-persons-one-God concept of the Trinity. It is a scriptural concept, not a Catholic concept.

          If you believe heresy (which you apparently do) you are by definition a heretic, no matter what “reality of truth” the devil gave you.

          • Cris Putnam says:

            You obviously deny the person-hood of the Holy Spirit, which is rank heresy. The HS is God as a Person, not as a mere manifestation of God. What you espouse (according to your own words) is a variant of modalism, not biblical theology. The person-hood of the HS is a biblical doctrine, as Cris pointed out. (And, you still have not answered his points!)

            And they never do address the points because if you honestly examine the biblical data the trinity emerges and they have presupposed against it. The Old testament explicitly denies that the Spirit is God’s power in such places as Zechariah 4:6:

            Then he answered and said to me, “This is the word of [Yahweh] to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says [Yahweh] of hosts.

            Yahweh Himself makes the clear distinction between His power and the Holy Spirit. It would be ludicrous to think that Yahweh said, “Not by power but by power.” The same problem is seen in Romans 15:13, “the power of the Holy Spirit.” Are we to believe that Paul was saying “the power of the power?” It would be redundant to say, “with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10:38) if it meant, “with power and with power.” This phraseology is not compatible with the reduction of the Spirit to a mere impersonal power or force.

          • hopeful_watcher says:

            Who here is denying that the spirit is not an entity all its own. I am just saying that it is not apart from God, but a specific ‘manifestation’ of God. Do we deny God has the power to manifest in the form of spirit?

          • jaz says:

            Amazing is it not! But a privilege to be Like Jesus, To be accused of being of the Devil……… Who then is the pharisee?

            Bless you

      • owl says:

        What points chuckles?

        Please reread my post and tell me specifically how am I a heretic? You say you worship God in spirit and truth, isn’t that what we are all doing regardless of semantics which seem to be redundant in the practicality of the worship?

        • Chuckles says:

          Owl said:

          “Please reread my post and tell me specifically how am I a heretic?”

          Done. Will now do. You said previously:

          “what difference does it make if the Holy Spirit is an aspect of God or a person as we understand it..?”

          You are at least flirting with heresy, if not embracing it already. What difference does it make? Seriously? We are dealing with the very nature of God here, that’s what difference it makes. Whom–or, in your case–what do you worship? From your statement, it seems you don’t know or care much, if at all. You sound like Hillary Clinton at the Benghazi hearings.

          While it’s true that nobody’s theology may be flawless, yet God has given us His written Word that we may know certain aspects of His nature. It won’t do to just slough off the issue with “what difference does it make?” nonsense. That’s the road to heresy.

          • owl says:

            And how are you going to even start to understand the nature of God when you overly focus and argue semantics without the realization that can be gained through the experiential process in prayer and with the help of the Holy Spirit that you seem to want to box outside of yourself in separation?

            It seems to me you are another theoretical believer stuck in doctrine with little if any experiential evidence to prove your theory. Believers as yourself are dime a dozen and have been arguing for centuries with little if any growth & realization.

          • Cris Putnam says:

            Seriously? We are dealing with the very nature of God here, that’s what difference it makes. Whom–or, in your case–what do you worship?

            Outstanding point Chuckles! The danger is in worshiping a false god of one’s own creation.

          • owl says:

            Cris – I agree in the danger you mentioned but how do you know you are not worshipping a false god?

            See I worship the Father Jesus talked about not yahweh, not jehovah, not baal with numerous faces or any other jewish/babylonian kabbalistic genie in the bottle. Did you ever hear Jesus refer to his Father as yahweh? No, you did not cause that is not his father. Yet you are falling for jewish fables masquerading as the roots of christianity influenced by the father of lies long ago.

            And do not forget that it is even more dangerous at this point of time to invent and sculpt a new age Jesus that will fit zionistic preferences as you will certainly be deceived.

  2. hopeful_watcher says:

    Might as well throw my hat into the heritics ring.

    I view the trinity similar to the three states of water. Whether it be solid, liquid or gas, in all three states it is still water. In this way, the Holy Spirit is the literal spirit of Jesus Christ. When we have the spirit, we have Jesus’s spirit living inside us and helping us. This is why Jesus had to leave first before the spirit came.

    John 14:20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

    • owl says:

      Agreed… and that is why if we concentrate towards dissecting God into a separate person leads to further confusion and fall from the unification with the Holy Spirit. But they are quick to judge and pass heretic labels yet they cannot realize that this separation would be the opposite to what Jesus said in the verse you mentioned. This usually happens with those who are still stuck predominantly in the OT.

      • jaz says:

        Stuck in the OT is correct. How ironic that a pri-Trib ‘hyper dispensational’ like Chuckles label others a heretics.

        It is the Spirit of truth that abides within that gives the yearning to seek, to investigate, to discern.
        That is how He works and leads into all “the depths of God” 1Cor2:10

        Comes a time when those led of the Spirit are called to repent of theological leaven.

        The Foundation of the faith has been buried under the doctrines and traditions of men that has accumulated over Time. The noble-minded work is an ongoing task Acts17:11

        Here is a scripture that nobody takes on board any more. Phil3:2Why? Because it offends their theological perception. and as a result, they persecute the true circumcision by their misguided Zeal Phil3:6

        • Chuckles says:

          jaz said:

          “It is the Spirit of truth that abides within that gives the yearning to seek, to investigate, to discern.”

          Indeed, but the Spirit of Truth also leads us to the Truth, not to heresy. You seem to assume that whatever “spirit” you hear is God. The statements you’ve made here demonstrate otherwise. The impertinent reference to Phil. 3:6 is a case in point.

          It’s evident there are a few here who claim to be truth seekers, but don’t like it when biblical truth smacks them in the face. So be it.

          • jaz says:

            I am not claiming to hear from any Spirit as you say. If a particular theological doctrine is error, Then it is the Holy Spirit within that stirs the attention to it. That is called discernment! That has been my case with the Trinity doctrine as it presently stands.
            But there are those who have no discernment at all. It is they who have a false spirit.
            These are the gullible who for example believe every word written by men ie: The heretical ‘left behind series’ and teachers like John Haggie and his mile long maps of scofield’s doctrine. men preaching other men’s views.

            The truly born again believer questions (tests) all things and holds on to what is true 1Jn4:1 1Cor2:15
            That is something that you show yourself to be lacking in. The signs of your judgmental mentality proves this truth.

          • owl says:

            Chuckles – We are well aware of the necessity in testing the spirits. But to build discernment skills you need to step out of the bubble from time to time and gain some practical experience otherwise you lock yourself into a prison of your mental constructs based on theoretical understanding of God’s Word that is more than often religious interpretations of men and subject to deception.

            Therefore God does require of us to test all things and hold on to what is true like Jaz mentioned. If you fear stepping into heretical waters you cannot escape from this prison yet alone OVERCOME as Jesus taught. You need to trust that the Holy Spirit will show you the way, it is as simple as that.

      • Chuckles says:

        It is not “dissecting” God to properly understand His nature according to His biblical revelation of Himself. Nor it it “separating” God to understand the triune aspect of His nature as three Persons. The doctrine of the Trinity does not hold that the three Persons of the Godhead are separate (the word “trinity” excludes the idea of “separate”), but that the three persons are distinct. Big difference.

        And who’s “stuck predominantly in the OT”? The Lord Jesus?

        • owl says:

          Again theoretical interpretations. Put it into practice and then contemplate until you arrive at a realization that there are as many interpretations as there are angles in any observation all subjective and all irrelevant to the power of the Holy Spirit that works within you regardless how you attempt to identify it.

          And remember that the priesthood of the day stuck in doctrine called Jesus a heretic and you at the present point of reference are no different than that pharasaical priesthood. Obviously wrong and with limited understanding what Jesus actually taught..

          • Chuckles says:

            Well Cris, it seems those of us who insist on doctrinal integrity based on the Word of God are being branded as “pharisees”, “bigots”, “prideful”, “tyrants” and other nasty things. All in the name of following some “spirit” (who knows which one) that they hear.

            The apostasy definitely is upon us.

  3. hopeful_watcher says:

    Here is where theological scholars (and doctrinal tyrants) leave holy spirit at the door. They don’t want the holy spirit to intrude, because it might screw things up for them. What they want is to be right! They want to be right because they want the truth, yes, let’s be kind and extend that to them. But they also want to know they are smart, important, valuable and a dedicated purveyor of that truth. It is an arrogance and lack of humility that drives their approach and not a humble submissive spirit which may, God forbid, instruct them they got it wrong.

    Hey, I don’t hold all the truth either. I am not really that smart, to be honest. But I have a genuine love of God (and I am not questioning others love mind you), who would rather be corrected by God than to go on believing I am espousing pure truths.

    You believe you got truth by the horns. Awesome! But please take that truth and submit yourself before the holy spirit asking the spirit to humble you and lay you low. You do this with sincerity then prepare yourself for some pain and hold onto your hat, because it about to get bumpy.

    • hopeful_watcher says:

      If I may offer some personal reflection as well. I have some wacky, out of the mainstream speculative theories myself. I do talk about them from time to time, but I never present them as gospel truths, although I do explore their validity against both logic and scripture. I also continually ask the holy spirit to purge falsities from my thinking or at the very least, to shut my mouth before I say too much. I have found myself many times on the correcting end of God’s grace. I praise God for this. I don’t view this as a weakness, but a process of sifting.

      I think most people could benefit from a little sifting.

    • owl says:

      Yes the ego, satan’s favorite prison guard to keep all those intellectuals in-line and entrapped until they pass on stuck in the mental deception of the words they have no spiritual understanding of. Even eastern practitioners have realized over the millenia that the ego is the culprit. And why Jesus said “… Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

      • hopeful_watcher says:

        I love that verse and it is so true! So many people believe the words of Jesus, but few try and write it on their heart and live it.

        We are grown-up individuals who have an intellect. Is Jesus really suggesting that we regress into a state of childlike dependence?

        YES!!

        • owl says:

          It is difficult for most to accept the fact that without the Holy Spirit opening our eyes and leading us throughout our lives we are nothing more than a decaying piece of flesh & bones slowly eroding away within a maximum time span of 120 years and usually much sooner with all the poison and sinful sidetracks out there.

          How many priests/pastors/scholars or believers in general for that matter can then confess that they are really nothing and they know nothing without the power of the spirit of God working through them? I totally understand the difficulties for the ego to accept these facts especially where one invests numerous years & decades of study to the Word that is based solely on analytics & traditions (much of which are twisted by the father of lies) and not true humbled spiritual practice in daily life. But that is the way it is and what Jesus taught and demonstrated.

          Those that realize these facts and succeed in popping their ego balloon of self-importance in time will be saved, for the rest I am not so sure without major turmoil. It can be quite mind shattering when long held beliefs based on falsities particularly untested on one’s own skin get flushed down the toilet when that test of circumstances finally arrives.

    • jaz says:

      Well said hopeful, most associate repentance with some sin or bad habit. which is good and correct. but they never acknowledge doctrinal error to be sin and just as The Holy Spirit convicts one of sin He also convicts of error. However; that is where the stronghold seems to be (the doctrines of Men)

      Theological brands cannot be trusted as purity of truth. The evidence for this is revealed in the fact that there are flavoursome mixtures to satisfy bigotry.

    • Chuckles says:

      hopeful_watcher said:

      “Here is where theological scholars (and doctrinal tyrants) leave holy spirit at the door. They don’t want the
      holy spirit to intrude, because it [sic] might screw things up for them.”

      So, you profess to know what’s in the hearts of these “doctrinal tyrants”, these annoying people who wish to know God according to His written Word rather than according to subjective ideas passed off as “discernment”, or “open mindedness”. Isn’t claiming to know what’s in the heart of another person the very essence of “judging” (condemnation)?

      But, the Lord did tell us to “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). I don’t claim to know what’s in anyone’s heart. I have “judged” (assessed) several people here based on what they have posted here, not on any claim to have peered into their hearts. I don’t know what’s in their hearts. The doctrines they openly profess stink enough.

      hopeful_watcher said again:

      “What they want is to be right! They want to be right because they want the truth, yes, let’s be kind and extend
      that to them. But they also want to know they are smart, important, valuable and a dedicated purveyor of that
      truth.”

      Again, you presume to know what is in the hearts of these “doctrinal tyrants”, while judging them for being “judgmental”? How “kind” of you.

      Pot, meet Kettle!

      For your information: I care nothing–nothing–about what you or anyone else here–including Cris Putnam–thinks about me. Frankly, if I detected approval from you or jaz or owl, I would be very worried about it. What I want is for Scriptural Truth–God’s Word–to be proclaimed and defended. There has been so much error, so much rank heresy held high in this thread by some, I have been compelled to respond, and in no uncertain terms.

      But of course, you “Holy-Spirit-as-entity” types have no problem with that, do you? I mean, you’re all so spiritual an’, an’ humble an’ stuff.

      Let me make one last attempt to underline the essential problem with the idea which you “Holy-Spirit-as-entity-but-not-person” sages are presenting:

      You are rejecting the plain teaching of the written Word of God regarding the Holy Spirit–that HE is a PERSON–in favor of your own subjective “revelation” (whatever its source), namely; that the Holy Spirit is an “it”, an entity, not a person. All the while, you claim that you do not deny the deity of this “it” you worship, while missing the fact that person-hood is an essential feature of deity. In other words, an “it” cannot be God.

      Furthermore, you disparage the very idea of the Holy Spirit being a person (as opposed to an impersonal “entity”) as being “intellectual”, as if the Lord doesn’t want us using our God-given brains to interpret the very Word He inspired for our instruction. You have rejected the intelligent, objective study of God’s written Word and substituted a subjective “who-knows-where-this-idea-came-from-but-it’s-non-traditional-so-it-must-be-right” approach. In a nutshell, you reject certain truths God has revealed in His Word, branding these as “traditional” because scholars got them right centuries ago. And besides, they “just don’t seem right” to you.

      And then, then, you congratulate yourselves for your “humility”!

      There’s a well-known term for all that, but I don’t like to use it, even if it does have only four letters.

      • hopeful_watcher says:

        For someone who doesn’t care what others think, you certainly talk a lot about what others think.

        You want to totally concern yourself with the word of God, while passing off discernment from the Holy Spirit as subjectiveness. Well who do you think is one with the author of the word of God but the Holy Spirit? You quibble over your interpretation of the word of God, when you could talk directly to its author. But I completely understand, because without your intellectual grasp on the truths of the word of God based on your own understanding, you would find yourself without authority, just as weak and vulnerable as the rest of us.

        Poor Peter didn’t have a clue what he said or did wrong when Jesus chastised him. 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

        • Chuckles says:

          hopeful_watcher said:

          “For someone who doesn’t care what others think, you certainly talk a lot about what others think.

          I never said I didn’t care what others think at all. I said I don’t care what others here think <about me.

          ” You want to totally concern yourself with the word of God, while passing off discernment from the Holy Spirit as subjectiveness. [sic]”

          Wrong again. You do seem to have trouble with critical details. I do not disparage the Holy Spirit’s role in revealing God’s Word. I am pointing out that God does not contradict Himself! The very Spirit Who inspired God’s written Word refers to Himself as a Person! This fact is amply supported in the links Cris provided in the lead article of this thread. You have not answered–or, it appears–even considered the relevant Scriptures quoted in those links or in Cris’s article.

          Instead, you continually argue against what you think I believe, instead of keeping to the subject; the Person of Holy Spirit (remember Him?)

          Yes, Peter was concerned with human things. Up to that point Peter didn’t believe what the Lord was telling him–straight out–either. Peter was ignoring the plain, literal words that Jesus constantly put before him, just like you are.

          Peter eventually got it, when the real Holy Spirit revealed it to him later on.

      • hopeful_watcher says:

        By the way, I am not going to split hairs with you over my use of the word ‘it’. The Holy Spirit IS the spirit of Christ himself, our savior. If you don’t wish to have a relationship with His spirit, but rather fill the void with your intellectual pursuits, that is your problem.

        The most frightening line in the bible, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

  4. jaz says:

    Chuckles; You hold one theological concept called Dispensationalism. Some other hold to Armenian, whilst another is Lutheran and another calvinist, another Pentecostal, another Greek orthodox ,another Anglican and the list goes on and on and on………………….
    All theological concepts, all believing theirs to be the Truth. just like you believe that yours is.
    I much rather stick with the Apostles original.
    Please do not refer to me as a heretic Lest you be judged by your own system of belief on that Day!
    I have given my reason why I disregard The catholic trinity doctrine.
    Rather than accusing me of heresy, why don’t you search the matter for yourself and you will find that some of these scriptures that you refuse to acknowledge because of your theology all fit in together and provide the complete council of God.
    Jesus said that “the scriptures cannot be broken” Jn10:35 all Theology break the scriptures by picking and choosing what suits mens method of interpretation surely you can understand that!

    • Chuckles says:

      jaz, why do you drag Dispensationalism into this thread? Does it bother you that much?

      We were talking about the Holy Spirit; the One that is a Person, that is.

      (Well, some of us were. Some others are discussing what are–at best–various figments of their own fleshly imaginations.)

      If only you knew what “the Apostles original” really is.

      As for the term “heretic’ and its application to you: You hold and promote a heretical view of the Holy Spirit. That makes you a heretic whether you like it or not, and whether or not I call you a heretic.

      As for me, Christ is my Judge and my Redeemer, therefore I have no worries.

      Nevertheless, I would be falling short of the Truth by not confronting your heresy, nor would it be “loving” for me to neglect such. Yes, you have given your reasons for rejecting what you call “The catholic trinity doctrine” (that very term demonstrating that you understand neither Roman Catholic history or the doctrine of the Trinity). Those reasons were shot down by Cris, whose points you still have not answered in any cogent sense. You haven’t addressed even my own points, only posted more impertinent sophistry about “theology”, and how “anyone’s theology is bound to be wrong, so why bother hashing out these things?”

      If you don’t want to know the God Who has revealed Himself in the Scriptures, that’s your choice. But I must tell you, if you don’t change your mind on this issue, you’re in for several unpleasant revelations when you finally do meet Him.

      As He is.

      • jaz says:

        I am not pointing out Dispensationalism as such, but the myriad of theologies to which you belong! ( the Babylonian Fold)
        I willing to answer any questions.. Would you or Cris give Them to me in a way that would facilitate them being answered.

        • Jaz says:

          I am ready. For the Holy Spirit is with me. So; come on Give it to me for the answers!!!

          • Chuckles says:

            Jaz says:

            “I am ready. For the Holy Spirit is with me. So; come on Give it to me for the answers!!!”

            Which Holy Spirit? The Person revealed in the Holy Spirit-inspired written Word, or the “manifestation” you claim to believe in?

            I’ll point this out to you one last time, though you seem determined to avoid the issue.

            Read the points listed in Cris’s article at the head of this thread regarding the language used in the Greek text of the New Testament, specifically John 14:26 and 1st John 3:24. Also, visit the link Cris provided at the end of the article. Those references make it very clear how that the Bible teaches the person-hood of the Holy Spirit.

            May the true Holy Spirit finally reach you.

      • hopeful_watcher says:

        “If you don’t want to know the God Who has revealed Himself in the Scriptures, that’s your choice.”

        My response: If you don’t want to know the God Who has revealed Himself in the Spirit, that’s your choice.

        Spirit and the Word of God are not mutually exclusive. They work in concert with each other. God’s word… meet your author! What do you think inspired the writers of the bible, but the Spirit of God?

        • hopeful_watcher says:

          BTW, the word of God is not complete. If it were, then why did God make the word into flesh?

          The word of God is not our savior. Jesus is. The bible is the instruction manual to get there.

          Why else do you think the Catholic church likes it in Latin? So they maintain authority over the “uneducated” masses.

          • Chuckles says:

            hopeful_watcher said:

            “The word of God is not our savior. Jesus is.”

            But as you just pointed out, Jesus is “the Word made flesh”. Sorta connects the two together doesn’t it?

            “The bible is the instruction manual to get there.”

            I agree. So why do you subject the Bible to your “it” spirit?

          • hopeful_watcher says:

            Some people use a map to get where they are going, others use a guide. As long as the guide doesn’t give any directions that are contrary to the map, you still get where you are going. Sometimes a map is confusing and some clarification from a guide could help.

            I’ll say this again. They are not mutually exclusive so stop demonizing those who gravitate to the spirit. As long as it doesn’t contradict the gospel message, salvation is not in jeopardy.

        • Cris Putnam says:

          hopeful –

          The Holy Spirit IS the spirit of Christ himself,

          That is not at all consistent with Jesus’s teaching. He refers to the Holy Spirit as a individual different from Himself. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (Jn 16:12-15)

          • hopeful_watcher says:

            Cris, could Jesus be speaking of the spirit in third person here (no pun intended) because the spirit is not released until He is crucified and resurrected?

            The holy spirit is spirit after all, is it not? It’s not called holy person or holy angel
            John 14:15-20 is filled with clues.
            How can Jesus say, “I will not leave you as orphans. ‘I’ will come to you.” This isn’t referring to His second coming. No, this is talking about the holy spirit and he slips in “I will come to you.” Does the holy spirit dwell within us? And yet he says, “on that day you will realize that I am in my father, and you are in me and I am in you.” So who is in us? Jesus or the holy spirit? Doesn’t it make sense that these are related, meaning it’s the spirit of Jesus?

            Why must Jesus leave before the counselor may come? What is holding it back? Perhaps because the spirit is currently occupied in the flesh. They make a point in all the gospels that on the cross Jesus gave up His spirit.

            Lastly, John 20:22 “And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

            The Holy spirit came right out of Jesus’s mouth. Can it get any clearer than that?

  5. Chuckles says:

    owl said:

    “And how are you going to even start to understand the nature of God when you overly focus and argue semantics…”

    It’s not about semantics, it’s about language. Words have specific meanings, do they not? If they didn’t, we couldn’t communicate complex ideas. We’d be like the animals. The capacity to understand spoken and written language is one of the aspects of being human; of having been “created in God’s image”. God has chosen to communicate with us through words–His written Word–to be specific. The whole notion of God giving His Word to us in written form assumes that God uses specific (and translatable) words to convey specific ideas, including certain aspects of His nature. God is a rational God. He created rational beings (us). He uses rational means to communicate with us. “God says what He means and means what He says!” is not just a quaint “fundamentalist tradition”. It is a foundational aspect of biblical Christianity. Take it away, and you’ll have “experience” alright! You’ll have idolatry, superstition, paganism, confusion, and death.

    You’ll have “Emergence Christianity”, is what you’ll have.

    It has ever been a technique of the devil to pose the question, “Has God really said…?” I’m sure everyone here is familiar with that principle. But, what several here do not seem to comprehend (sages though they may be) is that one of the most prevalent ways he does that is to disparage any intelligent, orderly discussion of biblical language and doctrine as being “mere semantics”. Watch out for that. It is the most deadly sophistry.

    owl continued:

    “… without the realization that can be gained through the experiential process in prayer and with the help of the Holy Spirit that you seem to want to box outside of yourself in separation?”

    I’ll say it again: Valid experience is defined literally by the Scriptures!. Otherwise, how can you know what it is you have experienced? And where did I even imply that I wanted to “box” the HS out of my experience? What I want to “box out” of my experience is any false, counterfeit experience. It’s that kind of “experience” that leads one into deception, heresy, apostasy, and… well, Hell.

    Again owl continued:

    “It seems to me you are another theoretical believer stuck in doctrine with little if any experiential evidence to prove your theory.”

    Well then “it seems to” you incorrectly. And, btw, do I know you? You certainly don’t know me. As for “experiential evidence”, once again; valid evidence is defined by biblical doctrine. Without biblical doctrine, nobody can know what “evidence” really is, can they?

    And again owl said:

    “Believers as yourself are dime a dozen…”

    Oh please, you are way too optimistic. To the extent that I seek to define my doctrine by biblical Truth–as opposed to subjective “experience”–believers such as I try to be are decreasing in number these days. Otoh, those seeking “experiential truth” are coming to “church” in droves. Just ask Rick Warren. Sadly, they know little–if anything–of the God of the Bible. They won’t find out either, in those “experiences” they seek.

    Then, owl continued again:

    “…and have been arguing for centuries with little if any growth & realization.”

    Oh, really? So, you don’t think the Reformation was “all that”, huh? Abandoning Rome’s subjective papal proclamations (at the risk of the reformer’s own lives) to get back to biblical doctrine doesn’t qualify as “growth”, you say? You have a strange definition of “growth”.

    But then, it doesn’t surprise me that you reveal yourself as one who elevates “experience” over the serious study of the Bible. Sadly, it is “believers” following that very practice who are “a dime a dozen”.

    The Apostasy accelerates…

    • jaz says:

      Please give the definition of Apostasy? Is it a falling away from Apostolic faith, or is it a falling away from scofieldism? the doctrine to which you belong!

      • Chuckles says:

        Oh come on jaz, now you’re just grabbing at straws. You should know full well from the context of my remarks that by “apostasy” I mean “falling away from the faith”, that is the faith “once for all delivered to the saints” as Paul put it.

        Again you bring up Dispensationalism. It really does bother you, I guess. Would it help if I told you that I do not regard it as a doctrine essential to salvation? I don’t, you know.

    • owl says:

      Your biggest problem chuckles is that you are trying to understand God through scriptures as you say (which i think is the canon to you) yet seem to completely negate the words and works of Jesus Christ who came to demonstrate God’s Word as a living example. That should be your primary focus as we are living in post crucifixion times. Matthew 24:35 is a very important verse in this regard and you need to let it sink in. Scripture from the OT is only useful if it supports the words and works of our Saviour. Add to this that Jesus exposed the synagogue of satan and its works amongst the pharisees who were judging him as a heretic based on their scripture and traditions of the time and we are obviously dealing with a major red flag or satan’s trickery embedded in the jewish belief system of that time. That is why we need to test all things and hold on those things that are true.

      If you positioned your mental state from this angle you would never fall for hypocrisy, lies and true apostasy coming from todays synagogue that operates through the RC and numerous denominations and seminaries including dispensationalism.

      I understand that some things Jesus said are difficult to accept only because our ego has a difficult time to let go especially earthly attachments but that is the only way to overcome satan’s shackles. This is why after crucifixion the Holy Spirit is sent to us to comfort us in the difficulties of this process. Sitting around and doing nothing is not going to get us anywhere.

      Did Jesus not say to follow him? And how many can honestly say they tried or have they defaulted to the comfortable zone of reading the bible, attending services on weekends and sinning the rest of the week and then passing judgments to anyone that rocks their comfortable socially accepted lifestyles? Think about that and be honest to yourself where you currently fit in this spectrum.

      • Chuckles says:

        owl said:

        “Your biggest problem chuckles is that you are trying to understand God through scriptures as you say (which i think is the canon to you) yet seem to completely negate the words and works of Jesus Christ who came to demonstrate God’s Word as a living example.” (Bold Mine.)

        What fantastic nonsense! Nowhere do I “negate the words and works of Jesus Christ”.

        Wussa-matta, am I not being “cordial” enough for you? You don’t like being confronted with your heresy in a direct manner? Aw. Sorry, this isn’t the subject, time or place for suggestion, or “nuance”. The time is short. Your error is deadly.

        And anyway, how do you know what “the words and works of Jesus” even are apart from the Spirit-inspired written Word? Did that “it”, that “manifestation” give you additional info during that “experiential process” you imply that you go through from time to time?

        Jaz might be disappointed, owl. You’ve threatened his “king of irony” status by quoting Matthew 24:35. (The same Jesus also spoke in Matt. 5:18, and Lk. 16:17, btw.) No, The Lord’s words will not pass away, not from either testament.

        “Jesus exposed the synagogue of satan and its works amongst the pharisees who were judging him as a heretic based on their scripture and traditions of the time…”

        The Pharisees’ misjudgment of Jesus was based on their own fleshly misinterpretations of Scripture (the O.T., btw) which were refuted by Jesus Himself from the O.T. Much of the Lord’s ministry was devoted to properly interpreting the O.T., no question. But The Lord never told them to subject His written Word to their own “spiritual perceptions”. In fact, that’s what they were already doing, and what He condemned.

        “we are obviously dealing with a major red flag or satan’s trickery embedded in the jewish belief system of that time.”

        Where? Here? With the “Person-hood of the Holy Spirit” issue? Oh, that’s right, some of you seem to think the Spirit-as-Person idea is “satan’s trickery embedded in the jewish belief system of that time”. But that’s where you are wrong. If that was the case, why is there so much New Testament Scripture that supports Holy Spirit person-hood?

        Btw, I am mystified by the denigration of the Old Testament in this thread. Not to mention the apparent notion that I am “stuck in the O.T.” Dunno where that came from. No, wait, I do know; it came from the shallow prejudices of you and others. I am aware that “The Old testament is explained in the New Testament.” That’s why the scriptures I’ve quoted have been N.T., mostly.

        “That is why we need to test all things and hold on those things that are true.”

        I agree completely! And how are things “tested”? By comparing them with the written Word of God, that’s how. Why all the resistance to that practice here? Because it doesn’t lead to the conclusion you want?

        I’ll say it one last time: The subject of this thread is (or began as) the doctrine of the person-hood of the Holy Spirit. I have tried to keep my remarks confined to that subject, but several here insist on talking about me, posting impertinent speculations about “mental state” and other irrelevant tripe, not to mention offering buckets of sanctimonious slop directed not-so-subtly at me, by which they vividly high-light the logs in their own eyes. This only serves to demonstrate that they (you included, owl), have no good answers to the proofs offered here regarding the Holy Spirit’s status as a full-on Person (which He is). These proofs have been documented with appropriate Scriptures, but that isn’t good enough for some here, who apparently don’t like what the Scriptures plainly say because these contradict their own heretical–yes, heretical–views on the Holy Spirit.

        And with that, I’m done with this thread. Tell you what, people: You want me to “practice” the Word? Okay. I will now practice Pro. 14:7.

        • owl says:

          Good to hear on the “practice” part chuckles. May the Holy Spirit lead you towards more pertinent matters and realizations than arguing linguistic technicalities that don’t really matter just like it does not matter if that oxygen you breathe to live is an actual gas or an electromagnetic vibration of light.

          A couple of comments to what you wrote. When I mentioned the synagogue of satan I was talking about the whole conspiracy embedded in the belief system of the jewish pharisees not if the Holy Spirit is a person or not. That the pharisees misintrepreted scripture based on their fleshly limitations as you say is the exact parallel and reason why i commented specifically to you several times in this thread. Basically to get you to realize that living the word instead of just reading and arguing semantics is the way to go.

          And to test things you don’t compare words written on paper cause they are just words and subject to wrong interpretation, bad translation, language limitation and deception in general. But in prayer and through the Holy Spirit those words become the living word and a true test of authenticity, meaning and feeling that no volumes of books can ever teach you if you spent a lifetime studying. A simple example is to try to communicate to someone that fell onto this planet the true feeling of love (if you ever felt it) and you will probably realize the difficulty.

      • Cris Putnam says:

        owl said, “I understand that some things Jesus said are difficult to accept.”

        Apparently owl has difficulty accepting that Jesus refereed to the Holy Spirit as a person. He applies personal pronouns (“He” and “His”) to the Holy Spirit: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13, emphasis added). Personal propnouns are only used for persons that is how language works. If uou believe Jesus you accept the personhood of the spirit.

        @Chuckles – thanks for standing for truth!

        • hopeful_watcher says:

          Did Jesus breath a person out of His mouth? John 20:22 Come on now! He breathed a spirit. It’s not called holy personhood, but holy ‘spirit’.

          They use ‘he’ giving the spirit a gender, because the spirit belongs to Jesus and Jesus has a gender. The male gender is also crucial to circumvent all the disgusting pagan Goddess worship peddled by gnostics and their Sophia, goddess of knowledge and her ‘holy spirit’. The trinity of the antichrist. Nothing is by accident and every element of scripture has its purpose.

          • hopeful_watcher says:

            Goddess of ‘wisdom’. Sorry. Btw, on a related note. The pope asked the world to fast and pray on Sept. 7, the proclaimed Vigil of the Virgin Mary. That same day coincides with the descent of Sophia. Can anyone say pagan initiation ritual. The pope even refers to it as an initiative!

            “To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.”

          • jaz says:

            Very good point Hopeful_ watcher..The simplicity becomes complicated by the precepts of theology.

            With The trinity doctrine, it is men trying to understand the infinite God.

            One of the major problem with theology is that it denies the possibility for God to reveal the depths of His riches to the ordinary man. and if he expresses it outside of the theological order, he is labelled a heretic.

            Most theological minds consider the cannon of scripture to be complete and that their theological exegesis is like wise the final authority. and that this supposedly does not allow for the possibility of the Spirit’s instruction to them that diligently seek and ask.

            Was not that the problem with the pharisees! The doctrine of conformity.

            One may place their theology in the ‘box of their choice’ But God’s Spirit cannot be contained as such.

        • owl says:

          Cris – applying personal pronouns does not prove your point regardless how much you are bent on proving it. It is a limitation of language that causes wrong assumptions or shall we say unnecessary intellectual acrobatics even though in this case they are actually irrelevant as was my point from the beginning of this thread. In a similar way some of us here referred to the Holy Spirit as “it” not because we are absolutely sure that the spirit of God is neither female or male as we understand it in 3D but it was just a personal pronoun we chose at least in my case to avoid the gender issue and pointless jumping of the gun by the linguistic nazis. Either way that is irrelevant as well.

          Besides if that was important then Jesus would have made sure to communicate specifically that the Holy Spirit is a separate person but he did not. How else are you going to refer to something without overdosing on the subject noun usage in a sentence or in-context paragraph but by using a he, she or it? Its only common sense.

    • owl says:

      Maybe this analogy will help you see the light chuckles.

      To enter any profession one needs to spend a few years studying through a collection of textbooks filled with theories, examples and analogies just like the bible canon is a collection of such books and serves as an introductory book set so to speak to familiarize oneself with the domain. Yet to become a true professional one needs to apply what has been learned to gain real life experience no different than in the following of Jesus and experiencing the LIVING WORD.

      It certainly helps to have an experienced and wise mentor on your side helping you stay on course just like having the Holy Spirit as your ultimate mentor lighting the correct path and helping you avoid satan’s snares and pitfalls.

      During this process and through time you will discover what works and what does not and some theories learned maybe proven wrong on your own skin. So you gain wisdom and become a true professional just like your would a true child of God empowered by the Holy Spirit within you on your road to heavenly kingdom. And most importantly, you avoid further imprisonment in satan’s kingdom just like a wise professional would avoid selling one’s soul for a few shekels that comes with a high cost of having no peace of mind, in other words opening oneself to internal turmoil for the rest of their lifetime.

  6. jaz says:

    I previously said; (It is the Spirit of truth that abides within that gives the yearning to seek, to investigate, to discern.
    That is how He works and leads into all “the depths of God” ) 1Cor2:10

    Chuckles you need to come to terms with what the Apostle is here saying in 1Cor2:10 & 1Cor2:11 & 1Cor2:12

    We all have choices to make! I much rather cling to that which is confirmed within my Spirit, rather than accept the thing which causes unsettlement of my spirit. That does not make me a heretic, for I am in full agreement with what Apostle Paul is saying in the above scriptures.
    I would doubt the genuineness of conversion if there had never been a check alert of the Holy spirit within ones fallible theology.

    • Chuckles says:

      jaz said:

      “Chuckles you need to come to terms with what the Apostle is here saying in 1Cor2:10 & 1Cor2:11 & 1Cor2:12”

      jaz, as far as this thread is concerned you are the king of irony!

      As a matter of fact, I have “come to terms” with those verses. In fact, I understand them. You seem quite unaware that those verses support–in a very blatant way–the person-hood of the Holy Spirit. Look closely at them:

      1st Cor. 2:10 “For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”

      The Spirit “searches”? That’s something only a rational person can do.

      1st Cor. 2:11 “So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

      It says “no one comprehends…”, not “nothing comprehends…” Why? Because comprehension is something only a thinking, rational person has!

      1st Cor. 2:12 “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God…”

      What Spirit? “the Spirit who is from God”. Not which is from God, WHO is from God!

      Jaz, I think I have “come to terms with what the Apostle is here saying” much more thoroughly and biblically than you have. Jus’ sayin’.

      As to your misunderstanding, I blame that “manifestation” that you’re listening to. (Not that that absolves you from your own responsibility.)

      “I much rather cling to that which is confirmed within my Spirit, rather than accept the thing which causes unsettlement of my spirit.”

      That’s fine, if you have the right Spirit. But, that’s the question you keep begging.

      “I am in full agreement with what Apostle Paul is saying in the above scriptures.”

      You apparently have no clue what Paul is saying in the above scriptures.

      “I would doubt the genuineness of conversion if there had never been a check alert of the Holy spirit within ones fallible theology.”

      Again you beg the question.

      BIG sigh.

  7. Jeeves says:

    I blame Western Christendom more than Lucas’ “Star Wars”, or modern science fiction, or eastern mysticism for the current vapidity of theological thought concerning the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. There are some–actually, many from the Pentecostal side of Christendom–who have stripped the Holy Spirit from the Trinity. Then there are those–especially from the non-charismatic side of Christendom–who have ignored the role or functionality of the Holy Spirit. If anyone wants a superb reading on the Holy Spirit and its relation to the Trinity, then look no further than St. Basil’s profound treatise “On The Holy Spirit”. Though written back in the 4th century, this book is far better than much of the rubbish one will find in modern theological writings. It was written during a defining moment that would serve as a major defense for the Orthodox Christianity: what St. Athanasius’s “On The Incarnation” did for the the deity of Christ against the Arians, St. Basil’s “On The Holy Spirit” did for the deity of the Holy Spirit against Sabellianism. Thus, throw out your modern books and go back to the Fathers.

  8. Kathryn says:

    The Holy Spirit to me is very troubling and down right confusing
    I don’t feel a thing , sense a thing and well this idea of being a comforter is beyond my comprehension
    Let alone experience . I can’t say there is no Holy Spirit
    But I’m just confused to the point I give up
    Nothing has taken residency in me
    What I do get is get is the Holy Spirit doesn’t show up
    On X-rays etc

    He wiil lead you in all truth ? Uh when ?
    I just haven’t experienced any of this but I’m not the holly
    Spirit nor will I be
    I’m just so confused by all of it

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