A Breeze of Heresy
12 Jul 2003, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
TITLE: A BREEZE OF HERESY - Three Persons in One Godhead
John 14:16 "… He shall give you another comforter."
Theme: The Divine Personality of the Holy Spirit. The third person of the heavenly Trinity - Godhead.
We live in a time when wild Satanic passions have been aimed at the Biblical Doctrine of the Holy Spirit . We live in a new era when devilish malign influences are driving people from God. Influences which are creating a generation of indifference defiance and rebellion inside and outside of Christianity. Each day the situation intensifies. There is a new and sinister attitude of mind set against God and Divine authority. This has brought with it perversions of the Biblical Doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
There is nothing new as an historical survey of history will show us.
In the 3rd Century A.D. Paul of Samosatar presented his Theory denying the personality of the Holy Spirit. He stated that He was only and influence, a divine energy and power.
In the Reformation times Laleus and Faustus Socinus revised the above heresy . This had a chilling influence on all Protestant Churches. This influence is seen in the KJV (King James Version) in Romans 16 & 26 where they have used , " the Spirit itself". The NIV (New International Version) is correct, it says "Himself", and there are others who have been loyal to the personality of the Spirit.
Some early SDA pioneers were inclined to believe that the Spirit was only an impersonal influence. It is evident that Ellen White received her truth from heaven because her writings to correct the heresy were built solidly on Scripture and she supported the Trinity as Scripture teaches.
In the 4th century, Arius Presbyer of Alexandria, proposed that the Holy Spirit although having personality, was not divine but created. He was created by Christ. He was not proper deity.
The Roman Catholic church has always been Scripturally sound on the personality of the Holy Spirit - the Trinity of Godhead. It is of note that the Waldensees and other protestors against Rome's heresies of the Dark Ages, always accepted the doctrine of the Trinity and claimed that Scripture and the Apostles were Rome's source of the doctrine.
I believe that I have a solemn responsibility to keep you in mind of the Scriptural truths concerning the personality of the Holy Spirit. His Divine Majesty and His Divine personality. The power of His might and the scope of His work. We will deal with His work in future presentations.
As with Christ's incarnation there are mysteries we will never fully grasp in this life. Mysteries yes, but we do know the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person and therefore is God as Christ and the Father are Divine.
In John 13:33-36; Chapt 14, 15, & 16 we find Christ warning His disciples of His imminent departure from earth after His death etc. He goes to great lengths to explain the gift of the Holy Spirit whom He will send to be "another comforter".
Christ explains the personal relationship between Himself and the Father and the believers. "The Father in me, I in the Father and You in me and I in you" see 14:10,20. It is the person of the Holy Spirit "in you" see 14:17-18. This is profound. It is mysterious. It is Divine Truth to be believed by faith as being reality.
PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
In John 14:15 Christ promised to give us "another comforter"- paraclete.
The word for another is most specific and cannot be confused. It means another person of the same kind. A divine person as Christ was Divine. The word for comforter is almost untranslatable!! So the scholars agree. But we do know that it means a "representative, intercessor pleader or consoler." It also means "advocate" as paraclete is translated in 1 John 2:1 KJV. The NIV states Christ is our defence".
In John 16:8-15 the Scripture quoting Christ Himself, repeatedly uses the personal pronoun "He", to describe the Comforter whom He would gift and send to the world after His departure. The doctrine of the personality of the Holy Spirit is firmly established in these Scriptures by the Lord Himself. Personality dominates the grammatical construction of Christ's words in Chapters 14-16. Twenty-four times He applies the personal pronouns He, Him, whom, to the Holy Spirit He promised to send for us all.
Ellen G. White was inspired by God to instruct our early pioneers in the correct interpretation of Scripture with regard to the person of the Holy Spirit. It is a serious matter and not to be trivialized. She wrote,"This is not a mere technical, academic, or impractical question. It is of utmost importance and highest practical value." Gospel Workers, p. 285. She goes on to explain the issues and the alternatives of belief and the practical alternatives for Christians.
In Desire of Ages, p. 669 Ellen says, "The holy Spirit is Christ's representative, but divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof." So He is not human, but He does have personality which is Divine. Ellen does warn us that an exact definition of the Spirit is not essential. She warns,"It is not essential for us to be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is….It is plainly declared regarding the Holy Spirit, that in His work of guiding men into all truth, 'He shall not speak of Himself.' …The nature of the Holy Spirit is a
mystery. …silence is golden." Acts of the Apostles, p. 51-52.
Both Scripture and Ellen make it quite clear that we do know He has Divine personality. Again she states, "… the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead…" Testimonies to Ministers, p. 392 . Again, "The Father is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and is invisible to mortal sight. …The Son (of God) is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested. …The Comforter that Christ promised … is the Spirit in all fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. ….. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit … these powers will cooperate with the obedient subjects of heaven ( us on earth) in their efforts to live the new life in Christ." Testimonies, Series B, no. 7, pp. 62,63.
I like to understand Godhead , or God as the family surname of the Trinity. Then the personal names are Father God, Jesus Christ God, and Holy Spirit God.
There are four facets to personality which should help us to understand a little better why the personality of the Spirit is so crucial to our salvation and our Christian practice.
First and foremost personality has WILL - or will power. Secondly, it is imperative that personality have INTELLIGENCE otherwise it would be a shadowy spooky effluence. Again personality always carries with it POWER. Finally, it is consistent that personality have the capacity to give share and receive LOVE. Therefore, personality, the total person is self-conscious, self -knowing , self-willing and self-determining comprising a personal being.
Scriptural references to the Divine personal qualities, relations and actions of the Holy Spirit are numerous. Here are a few.
He has Divine KNOWELDGE. 1 Cor 2:11 . He is the Spirit of God and knows it.
He has Divine WILL to appropriate spiritual gifts 1 Cor 12:11 see Romans 8:27.
He has Divine MIND and makes intercession for saints. Rom 8:27 see Acts 2:28
He has Divine LOVE - for us as Christ does. Rom 15:30
He has Divine COMMUNION (SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP) 2 Cor 13:14 TRINITY
He can be grieved Ephes 4:13. He can be insulted, tempted and lied to as being God. He is called God in this Scriptural reference. See Acts 5:3-4,9; Despised, Hebrews 10:29.
Without question the Holy Spirit is designated as having a Divine personality. He is ETERNAL and is called the eternal Spirit in Hebrews 9:14.
He has OMNIPRESENCE as God does and is present everywhere. Ps 139:7-10.
He is OMNISCIENT and has total knowledge as God does 1 Cor 2:10-11
He is OMNIPOTENT with total Divine power Luke 1:35.
Therefore we conclude that there is one GODHEAD but three Divine Persons who are Co-eternal, Co-equal and Co-essential. All work together at the same God business or governance of the universe and our salvation. All have distinctive roles and phases of prominence. Yet all are perfectly united in perfect unity and harmony of personality. We cannot measure that with our inadequate mortal humanity.
Concerning roles, phases or dispensations of the Godhead's administration, Ellen White said, "The dispensation in which we are now living is to be, to those that ask, the dispensation of the Holy Spirit." Testimonies to Ministers, p. 511.
This can be likened to the great triangle of the Trinity's essence and activity in the universe. Any one missing and it is not a triangle. No trinity, no Godhead.
Initially in Old Testament times we have the dispensation of the Father. The time of the re-establishment of God's moral law and His Word with His chosen people. The period when the one Godhead test, as opposed to polytheism was the issue. When God's right to rule with the Law as the standard and the Sabbath as His sign of Godhead's Divinity, Sovereignty and Majesty was the test and issue. God's Covenant deal outlined in B.C. time. A real test of Faith.
Christ's time came as transition into the phase or period of New Testament time. The dispensation of the Son when the actual sacrifice for our sins and the provision for reconciliation to God was effectually actioned on our behalf. This is the Covenant ratified. The next test- Would man accept Jesus Christ as Divine son of God and Redeemer.
The N.T. or A.D. era is the Dispensation of the Holy Spirit. This is the period when The Holy Spirit has been designated to equip Christians for sanctification and translation. A time when Christ's gift to us will regenerate our being so that we can do the will of God. The Covenant Lived to the full.
The big test and decision for us is, having accepted and passed the test audits off eras one and two, will we go on to accept Christ's gift of the Divine person of the Holy Spirit. Will we allow the Holy Spirit to work efficaciously in us so that all that Christ and the Father have done for us in their dispensations can climax in total glorious reconciliation and redemption on our behalf.
To believe in the Divine personality of the Holy Spirit is not only Biblical it is imperative and critically essential for our practice of Christianity and final eternal life with the Godhead.
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