Wesleyan Theology I - Lesson 20

Holy Spirit (Part 1)

The personhood of the Holy Spirit is revealed by the roles of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told the disciples that he would send an advocate. The Holy Spirit is an advocate, teacher, proclaims truth, provides direction and assists in prayer. Four characteristics of the Holy Spirit that indicate his deity are eternity, omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. The Filioque controversy is a difference between how the Eastern Orthodox and Western Traditions describe the nature of the Holy Spirit.

Kenneth J. Collins
Wesleyan Theology I
Lesson 20
Watching Now
Holy Spirit (Part 1)



A. Advocate

B. Truth

C. Teacher

D. Direction

E. Assists in prayer


A. Methodist articles

B. Gregory of Nazianus

C. Macedonianism


A. Prophecies of the Messiah

B. Birth of Jesus

C. Baptism of Jesus

D. Temptation of Jesus

E. Death and resurrection of Jesus

F. The Holy Spirit attests that Jesus is Lord



  • For the first 5 centuries after Christ, the theology of the Christian Church was ecumenical. Since then, you have differences in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theology, and then the Reformation with different Protestant traditions. The Church has a history of promoting and preserving knowledge in all fields of study. Ideological secularization is characterizing theological ideas as irrelevant and not academic. Structural secularization is the process of marginalizing the subject of theology in the academy. Both revelation and reason are both important elements in the discussion of philosophical and theological subjects. God is transcendant, which means that he is distinct from everything that has been made. God is immanent, which means that the Spirit of God can be communicated in time and space through media, but is not the media itself. 

  • God can only be fully know by revelation. However, we can know some things about God by observation and reason. Thomas Aquinas gave 5 reasons that supports the idea of the existence of God. We can perceive motion and there must be something that caused the motion. Nothing can come from nothing, so something must exist at all times, which is God. Humans are contingent beings, but God’s essence is to exist. There are different degrees of goodness and complexity in organisms, so there must be a being of a highest form of good. Design and purpose must be at work because it’s not reasonable that the universe resulted from chance. Dembski also estimates that the mathematical odds for everything happening from a single cell at less than 1 in 10 to the 150th power. 

  • Humans are both material and spiritual and have the capacity to experience transcendence. Without God, you are describing a diminished view of humanity. John Calvin says that wisdom is the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves. Revelation of God comes from Scripture (the most important), tradition, reason and experience. Theology should be participatory and result in transformation. …Wesley’s theology describe in two words would be, “holiness” and “grace.” Wesley’s theology is conjunctive. Holy love is a tension. Holiness results in separation and love results in community. Wesley’s view of grace includes both cooperant grace and free grace. 

  • Two sources for knowledge are revelation and reason. Empiricism teaches  that you get knowledge from your senses. Rationalism teaches that you get knowledge from the operation of your mind. Kant said that the mind makes a formal contribution to knowledge by organizing it.  All knowledge begins with experience but it does not all arise out of experience. Reason can only take us so far. Humans are the only species that worship God.

  • Scripture is unique, the word of God and inspired by God. Scripture is the source of truth and provides a norm for truth. Wesley gives four arguments for inspiration. They are miracles, prophecy, goodness of the doctrine and the moral character of the penmen. Characteristics of Scripture include the sufficiency, clarity and wholeness of Scripture. 

  • Univocal refers to a one-to-one correspondence between the language we use and the reality of God. Equivocal refers to the idea that human language does not correspond directly to describing God, so it acknowledges ambiguity and more than one interpretation. Analogical refers to language used to describe God using  analogy. “Via Negativa” is describing characteristics that God is “not.” “Via Positiva” is describing a characteristic that is true of God, using analogy. Aseity means that God’s essence  is to exist. Eternity means that God transcends the limitations of time-space. There is not a space where God is not. Omniscience of God means that God knows all things. Omnipotence of God means that God is all powerful. Once God creates, there is an order in creation, and God works within the framework he created.  Immutability means that God’s essence does not change. Leslie Weatherhead describes three aspects of the will of God as the intentional will of God, circumstantial will of God and the ultimate will of God. Wesley describes God’s holiness as purity and simplicity. The wrath of God can be described as God’s unending determined opposition to evil.

  • Triunity describe God’s nature. The concept of the Trinity was foreshadowed in the Old Testament and taught explicitly in the New Testament. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all active in creation, baptism of Jesus and resurrection of Jesus. The Trinity is three distinct persons with the same essence. The distinctiveness has to do, not with their nature or essence, but with the relations. Person is different than an individual. According to Wesley, the Trinity is an invitation to participate in the deeper life of God. The gospel is the universal love of God, manifested in the person of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Holiness apart from love can result in legalism. Love apart from holiness can result in sentimentality and wishful thinking. 

  • God created humans in his image so we have both a physical and spiritual nature. Sometimes biologists make statements about evolution that are outside of what can be examined and verified by science. According to young earth creationism, creation took place in 6, 24 hour days and the earth is about 6,000 years old. According to theistic evolution, once the process of evolution began, no special supernatural intervention was required for it to continue. The opposite of a naturalistic explanation for life is not supernatural, but intelligent causes. Intelligent design makes information theory and mathematical probability integral to its overall approach. Irreducible complexity argues against gradualism in the evolutionary process. 

  • God freely created the world and chooses to govern within the framework of the created order. The moral law is consistent with the character of God. God uses the moral law to convict the world of sin, bring us to Christ and keep us alive. Natural law is a body of moral principles that can be discerned by reason. Natural law is the will of God expressed in a created order. Deep conscience refers to the interior witness to the foundational principles of the moral law. Four characteristics of our moral design that are evident at the level of the species are interdependence, complementarity, spontaneous order and subsidiarity. 

  • Adam and Eve were created, not just as physical beings, but also spiritual beings. The image of God includes relationality as well as the capacity for rational thought. Wesley describes it as a natural image, political image and moral image. Wesley says that the natural image of God means that we have physical bodies and also a spiritual nature. Humanity is the conduit for God’s blessing of the rest of creation. 

  • The characteristics that give a human personhood belong to another order of explanation than that explored by biology. Sartre, who is an existentialist, says that existence precedes essence. In other words, each person determines their own nature by the choices they make. Others would say that your choices determine your character but that’s separate from your nature. Postmodernism teaches that the self is only a social and linguistic construct. Some scientists have argued that humans do not have a soul, but that cannot be proved or disproved by the scientific method. If God is dead, humanity is dead. Human beings are more than the social groups in which they participate. Humans are animals, but not merely animals.

  • Lucifer brought sin into the world with his sin of pride. The sin of Adam and Eve was unbelief. Wesley describes  unbelief as the perversion of the relationship between God and humanity, a lack of faith in God, resulting in alienation. He distinguishes three types of death as physical death, spiritual death and eternal death. Satan was self-tempted when he sinned. Adam and Eve were tempted by something external to them, Satan.  Wesley sees Adam as a representative of all humans, so all humans inherit Adam’s sin nature. 

  • There are orders of creation and preservation, like family and marriage, that can mediate the grace of God. God sustains creation, and also relates to people as persons. The three-fold circle of divine providence is the outer ring of the whole race of humans, the second smaller circle is all that are called believers and those who profess to be believers, the innermost circle only the true disciples of Jesus who worship God in Spirit and in truth. Wesley doesn’t deny that bad things happen to good people, both from other people and from events in nature. If God eliminated all evil, it would require eliminating freedom, which would also eliminate love. 

  • Wesley describes total depravity as "a want of original righteousness," and also in terms of a "natural propensity to sin.” Luther, Calvin and George Croft Cell agree. Eastern Orthodox teaches that Adam and Eve were not so fallen as to be unable to respond to any subsequent proffered grace. Wesley teaches the total depravity of humans and the sovereign act of God in salvation. He uses prevenient grace in two distinct ways. The “narrow” sense refers to all those degrees of grace that come before justifying and sanctifying grace. The “broad” use views all grace as prevenient and emphasizes the prior activity of God because he is always ahead of us and takes the initiative. Prevenient grace can be understood as both cooperant and free grace. 

  • God acts preveniently to give humans revelation by communicating his divine attributes. God places in humans a moral law that is expressive of the image of God. The Holy Spirit restored to all humans a certain measure of free-will. Original sin makes it impossible for people to respond to God on their own without God restoring their personhood, which they need to be able to respond to God’s grace. God doesn’t do it in a way that overruns a person’s personality.

  • The incarnation is a foundational teaching of the Christian faith. Since Jesus claimed to be God, it’s not an option that he could be just a good person. Paul teaches that Jesus has the same nature as God and that Jesus created all things. Ebionites rejected the divinity and virgin birth of Jesus. Adoptionism taught that Christ was a good man that was penetrated by God’s nature at his baptism and becomes divine, which treats divinity as an acquired attribute. Arias taught that Christ was not coeternal with the Father. He was more than mere man but he was created so he wasn’t equal with God. The first ecumenical council of Nicea in 325 affirms the divinity of Christ in response to the teaching of Arias. Wesley affirmed that Jesus existed as one person with both a human and divine nature. To affirm the essential equality of Christ with God the Father, Wesley often used the terms, “the only-begotten Son of God,” and “the Word of God.” The Son of God is the creator and sustainer of all things and the redeemer of humanity. The difference in the Godhead is relations, not nature. 

  • 1 John 4:2 describes the incarnation as Jesus coming to earth in the flesh. Jesus is also referred to as the Son of David in the Gospels. Jesus was able to become the mediator between God and humanity because his divinity meant that he was not a part of the problem of sin and his humanity meant that he could fully identify with humans. This is a unique and distinct role that can only be accomplished by Jesus, the God-human. Jesus suffered physically and emotionally and then died and was resurrected to new life. This qualifies him to be priest, a mediator between man and God. The title, Son of Man also emphasizes the humanity of Jesus. Apolliniarism taught that Jesus had a human body and soul, but a divine mind rather than a human mind. Docetism taught that Christ is pure spirit and only seemed to have a body. Gnostics view the body as lowly and the mind is considered higher. Monophysitism taught that the divine and human nature of Jesus was mixed into one nature. Nestorianism teaches that the divine and human natures of Jesus were sharply separated. Wesley viewed Jesus as the expression of the God of holy love, maintaining divinity while becoming human.

  • As a prophet, Jesus proclaimed the coming kingdom of God. Messiah in Hebrew has the same meaning as Christ in Greek. It means, “the anointed one.” The baptism of Jesus was the beginning of his public ministry.  When Satan tempted Jesus, the temptation was real because of the humanity of Jesus. It was necessary for Jesus to experience temptation. Jesus as a preacher, went from place to place, proclaiming the kingdom of God. As a teacher, Jesus taught in the synagogues and the listeners described him as teaching with authority. Christ as a lawgiver is seeking to communicate wisdom to humanity. This moral law is connected to God’s character. Jesus performed miracles to heal the sick, bring people back from the dead and demonstrate his power over nature. Christ as priest, became the mediator to bridge the gap between God and humanity. At the cross, what the holiness of God required, the love of God provided. Theories of the atonement are the best attempts of thinking about how to express the atoning work of Jesus. 

  • Penal substitution asserts that atonement primarily involves Jesus’ taking the sinner’s place (‘substitution’) in bearing the penalty (hence ‘penal’) for his or her sin. That penalty was no less than God’s wrath and the sinner’s death. God’s wrath is his unswerving opposition to evil. The moral influence theory teaches that without the fall, that amazing instance of the love of God to humanity would have never existed. Penal substitution and moral influence theory complement each other. In the governmental view, the death of Christ illustrates the punishment which sin may attract and therefore serves good government by acting as a deterrent. Jesus raised from the dead into an immortal body. Only life can give meaning to human existence. Death destroys all meaning. The first time Christ came as a redeemer. As king, Christ is coming again to rule . Three roles of king are giving laws, restoring people to the image of God and reigning in all believing hearts.

  • The personhood of the Holy Spirit is revealed by the roles of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told the disciples that he would send an advocate. The Holy Spirit is an advocate, teacher, proclaims truth, provides direction and assists in prayer. Four characteristics of the Holy Spirit that indicate his deity are eternity, omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. The Filioque controversy is a difference between how the Eastern Orthodox and Western Traditions describe the nature of the Holy Spirit.

  • At the beginning of creation, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Bible and brings understanding as people read it. The Holy Spirit makes effective the completed work of Christ and gives us the power to live out the Christian life. The Holy Spirit is personal, not an impersonal force. The believers received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after Christ ascended to heaven. The gifts of the Spirit are for the common good of building up the body of Christ. We should be cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit in our individual lives and his influence should be evident in how we interact corporately.

 John Wesley's beliefs understood from an historical and theological perspective

Dr. Ken Collins
Wesleyan Theology I
Holy Spirit (Part 1)
Lesson Transcript


So we are now at a point in our journey. We have discussed Christology, the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Now we are moving on to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this whole area is referred to as new mythology, new mythology relating to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. And in a similar way, as we explored Christology, we are going to consider the person, the person as well as the work of the Holy Spirit. And so we're going to start out with the person. And here I want to lift up a passage from the Gospel of Luke. We're starting out with biblical materials, of course. Luke, Chapter one, verse 35. And we see, quote the Angel answer, The Holy Spirit will come upon you. Meaning come upon Mary. And the power of the most high will overshadow you. So the Holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. And interestingly enough, Wesley focused on this particular passage of the Holy Spirit's role here with respect to the birth of Christ in his New Testament notes, in his notes upon the New Testament. And so he writes on this head, quote, The power of God was put forth by the Holy Ghost. Wesley writes as the immediate divine agent in this work. And so he exercised the power of the highest as his own power, who, together with the father and the son, is the most high god. And so we see here the role of the Holy Spirit involved in the conception of Jesus Christ as a true man, that this bespeaks of the personhood of the Holy Spirit. I think one thing that will help to distinguish our discussion of the person and work of the Holy Spirit, especially as we've done it in terms of Christology, is that the personhood of the Holy Spirit is going to be clearly revealed by the roles of the Holy Spirit, by the roles of the Holy Spirit.


And so I'm going to get out, get at the personhood that way. And so we're going to take a look at the roles of the Holy Spirit. Start out by considering the Holy Spirit as an advocate. And so the Person of the Holy Spirit, according to John Wesley, is also revealed in the Spirit's activities, especially in terms of advocate. Instructor and Encourager. And Wesley makes this observation as he comments on John Chapter 14 verses 16 through 17, which states quote, And I will ask the father and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever. The spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, but it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. Okay. And so we see the personhood of the Holy Spirit being expressed in this form in terms of being an advocate and then also the Holy Spirit being described. And I think this is important for us, especially today, that the Holy Spirit is referred to as not just here but also elsewhere in the New Testament as the spirit of truth, truth. We need as a Christian community to be oriented towards the truth, the truth that is Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will bear witness to Christ Who is the truth. Some of us today participate in cultures in which lying is commonplace. It's commonplace. It really is. And so how much more important then is it going to be for us to live our lives in accordance with truth? And to take that and to see that whole enterprise as a discipline, as a discipline. And so the Holy Spirit is both advocate and the Holy Spirit is a spirit of truth along those lines.


I can cite Second Thessalonians chapter two, verse 13, and here it states, But we are always to thank God for you brothers and sisters loved by the Lord because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth, belief in the truth. And so the Holy Spirit has very much to do with truth, indeed is referred to as a spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is also a teacher. A teacher. And this role as teacher underscores the personhood of the Holy Spirit. And so. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. That's a sighting of John Chapter 14, verse 26. And again, if we look at some of the Johannine materials that highlight the importance of the Holy Spirit, as a teacher, I'd like to lift up John Chapter 16 verses seven through 15. It's a very important passage, but very truly, I tell you, and it's Jesus speaking. It is for your good. That I am going away unless I go away. The ad of the kid will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment about sin. Because people do not believe in me about righteousness. Because I am going to the father where you can see me no longer and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to say to you. Jesus continues more than you can bear now. But when he notice the designation again, 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 to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the father is mine. That is why I said the spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you. Now you can see this is obviously a very important passage about the Holy Spirit that's found in the Gospel of John. We see here once again the important role of advocate that the Holy Spirit plays. We also see once again, the Holy Spirit is referred to as a spirit of truth. We see that come forth very clearly. But we also now in this passage, see a relation between Christ and the Holy Spirit. We're beginning to understand more about that relation. And so it is universally allowed. Wesley writes that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost dwell in all believers, and the internal agency of the Holy Ghost is generally admitted. Wesley writes that of the Father and the Son, as represented in this gospel, and his thinking of the Gospel of John deserves our deepest consideration. Now, something else that the Holy Spirit does in terms of the Holy Spirit role is direction, direction. And so we see, for example, in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 13, verses two through three, while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting the Holy Spirit sad set apart for May, Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. So here there is direction being given to the Church by the Holy Spirit.


And the Council here is to set apart for May, Barnabas and Saul. And the purpose here is for a particular particular work. Once again, this underscores the personhood of the Holy Spirit. Because, see, the danger is and I hear this from time to time, not too often, but it does emerge from time to time of people thinking of the Holy Spirit as a force, as energy, and not as the person that the Holy Spirit is. And so we don't want that kind of misunderstanding. We realize when we are talking about the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not an energy or force, but is a formed person. Three persons are in one God, and this same Holy Spirit assists us in prayer. We see that very clearly. The Apostle Paul writes about it in Chapter eight of the Book of Romans versus 26 through 27. In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God. Okay. And so there are many other roles, and we're not going to go into all of them for the sake of time. But there are many other roles of the Holy Spirit, such as illumination, conviction, sanctification and assurance, which point to the personhood of the Holy Spirit. And so we need to be aware of that as well, and don't think that we're going to neglect the Spirit's role, especially in terms of illumination, conviction, sanctification and assurance. We will have opportunity to treat those topics elsewhere as we talk about later on in subsequent lectures.


The work of the Holy Spirit in leading centers to Christ, in leading centers to Christ, and also in transforming their being in grace. So we're not going to neglect those topics, to be sure. They simply will be developed at a different point in the course. Okay. So now what I would like to do is to raise the topic, as we did in terms of Christ, to raise the topic of the divinity, the divinity of the Holy Spirit. And here I'm going to make a little shift. I'm going to start with actually some traditional materials. Traditional materials are specifically in terms of how the Holy Spirit is presented in the Methodists articles of religion and also in doctrinal minutes. And so, for example, if we were to take a look at Article four of the Methodist articles, and that article has the title of the Holy Ghost. Here is what it states quote, The Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father and the Son is of one substance Majesty and glory with the Father and the Son very and eternal God. And that, by the way, you know, you can tell that statement which is found in the Methodist articles, is in harmony with the judgment of the early church, especially at the Council of Constantinople in 381. And notice the language here of one substance. Okay, we've encountered that language earlier in a Christological context when we said Christ was homo. We see us with the Father. And so what is being affirmed here is that the Holy Spirit is of one substance with the Father and the Son, meaning that the Holy Spirit is of the same nature as the Father and the Son. Now, you also realize in the Methodist article of religion that this is the Western expression of the relation of the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son, because it states that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.


In other words, the dual perception and not how the East would represented the source being simply from the father. Here we have the dual procession, the Western expression of the proceeding, of the Holy Spirit. And so in this area, John Wesley wrote, quote, I believe the infinite and eternal spirit of God equal with the father and the son to be not only perfectly holy in himself, but the immediate cause of all holiness in us. Okay. Now, Tom Oden, the late Methodist theologian, points out that the spirit is called the Lord in First Corinthians Chapter 12 verse verses four through six, because the Spirit is entitled to the same worship rightly offered up to the father and to the son. And so the Spirit's divinity is also evident, as Odin points out in his own writings, in that the Spirit's name is placed on equal terms with the Lord in the apostolic benediction, which. Reads. And here we are quoting from Second Corinthians chapter 13, verse 14, quote. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And so there we see the three persons of the Trinity clearly expressed here. And we see, of course, the important reference to the Holy Spirit. So the of equality with the Father and the Son is clear also from the Great Commission. In other words, when we look at the material in Matthew chapter 28, verse 19. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Okay. So we see very clearly here not only references, important references to the Holy Spirit in Scripture and tradition, but also testaments to the truth that God is trying.


That God is trying. Now, H. Orton Wiley, who was a Nazarene theologian, he noted that, quote, The deity of the Holy Spirit may be proved scripturally by a collation of texts, as in the case of Divine Sonship, the name of God, his attributes, his works and his worship are all applied to the Holy Spirit. And so what Wiley does in his own theology, he lists four divine attributes, which are characteristic of the Holy Spirit. And each one of these attributes, in terms of the Holy Spirit, is, of course, attested to in Scripture. And so I will cite the evidence here using the naivety of the four basic categories that while he is working with our first the eternity, second omnipotence, third omnipresence, and fourth are missions. And so let's just take a look at those in a little bit greater detail before I consider some other materials. First, the eternity. And here we're thinking of, of course, Hebrews, Hebrews, chapter nine, verse 14. How much more then will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death so that we may serve the living God? Okay, in terms of the omnipotence, we will lift up material from Romans chapter 15 versus 18 and 19. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done, by the power of signs and wonders through the power of the Spirit of God. And this third category that Wiley is working with here, we're going to use a quotation from Psalms 139 seven through eight The Omnipresence. Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence If I go up to the heavens, you are there.


If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. And then lastly, in terms of the omniscience of the spirit, I'm citing first Corinthians chapter two versus 10 to 11, in which it states these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God for who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them. In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Okay. Now I want you to get a sense of how rich some of the writings of the early church fathers are in terms of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. And I'm thinking here of one of the Cappadocian fathers, Gregory Nazianzus. And I want to read a little bit. I'm going to read some excerpts from a passage that comes from Gregory Nazianzus Select orations. His select orations, because it is so rich. It is so rich with proper teaching with respect to the Holy Spirit. And so this is a larger passage. I'm going to simply focus on a couple of particular places in this passage so that you can see how this theologian in the past grappled with important biblical evidence, as well as some of the prior work of theologians. And this is what Gregory Nazianzus had to write. The Holy Ghost then always existed and exists and always will exist. He neither had a beginning nor will he have an end, but he was everlastingly raised with and numbered with the father and the son. Okay. And then in another part of this passage, he continues with those with whom he is raised, meaning the father and the son. And now he's he's talking about characteristics and qualities of the spirit, invisible, eternal, incomprehensible, unchangeable, without quality, without quantity, without form, impalpable self-moving, eternally moving, with free will, self powerful, all powerful.


And so you see the kinds of adjectives and descriptive language Gregory Nazianzus is using here to describe the Holy Spirit. And we've encountered some of these adjectives earlier as we were discussing both the Father and the Son again in this passage, which is so rich, he refers to the Holy Spirit as life and life giver, light and light giver, absolute good and the spring of goodness. And then he continues, and this will be the last segment that I quote from this large passage. Gregory Nazianzus refers to the Holy Spirit as the spirit of adoption, of truth, of wisdom, of understanding, of knowledge, of godliness, of counsel, and of fear. Okay. And so we see here in the work of the early church fathers and in this case, the writings of Gregory Nazianzus, in particular adjectives, descriptive lines. Words, exploring who the Holy Spirit is. And we recognize that the Holy Spirit is truly and fully divine by the very adjectives used here. Now, not everyone thought so in the early church. And indeed, just as the early church confronted subordination ism in terms of Christ, in other words, that Christ was somehow less than the Father. We encountered that earlier with Arianism. In a similar sort of way, there were those who the early church had to correct, who were maintaining a kind of subordination ism in terms of the Holy Spirit. And this was called Macedonian as Macedonian as some. And during the fourth century. Some people began to deny the divinity of the Holy Spirit by maintaining that the Spirit had been created by the Sun. This group was known as Macedonians, the Macedonians named after a bishop of Constantinople. Though this heretical group has sometimes been referred to as the new modern mark in the new modern markings.


That's a mouthful for you. That is those who fight against the spirit. Those who fight against the Spirit. And so are the teachings of the Macedonians. They were refuted. They were refuted by Athanasius. So just as Athanasius was critical of the thought of areas in a Christological context. So was Athanasius critical of the teaching of the Macedonians who had a diminished understanding of the Holy Spirit? And Athanasius did this in his letters to Sarah Pond, and then also Basil of Caesarea entered into this conversation as well in his own very important work, which I've read on the Holy Spirit, on the Holy Spirit, refuting the Macedonians. Interestingly enough, this heresy was also opposed by the Emperor, by the Emperor Theodosius, who saw to it that such a teaching would be condemned at the second Ecumenical Council, which took place in Constantinople in 381. And so it is this council that introduces the Orthodox language which referred to the Holy Spirit as the one quote who, with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified. And so when we look at this language from the Ecumenical Council and in some respects in response to heretical teaching, we see here an affirmation of the full divinity of the Holy Spirit being affirmed. It's being affirmed here. And so the early church is very clear in its judgment. It's very clear in its judgment in terms of the Holy Spirit that in order to have proper teaching in this area, that teaching must affirm the divinity of the Holy Spirit without any hint of subordination ism. In other words, any hint that somehow or other the Holy Spirit is less than the Father and the Son, certainly in terms of essence or nature. Now it is important to consider and we've sort of been touching upon it along the way, but it's now important to focus on it now the relation of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ.


That's important to consider and I think it's clear from the Bible, especially from reading the New Testament, that the Holy Spirit continually bears witness to Jesus Christ. We see that again and again in the New Testament materials. The Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus Christ that He is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. And so we think of, for example, we can think very early on of the Messiah and the Holy Spirit in terms of Old Testament materials such as found in Isaiah, Isaiah Chapter 11, verses one through three, which reads, quote, A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse. From his roots. A branch will bear fruit. The spirit of the Lord will rest on Him. The spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of might, the spirit of the knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Okay. And so we see this also, if we take a look at Isaiah 42 one. Which reads, Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen, my chosen one in whom I delight. I will put my spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. And again, in Isaiah 4816. Come near or come near me and listen to this. From the first announcement, I have not spoken in secret at the time. It happens. I am there. And now the sovereign Lord has sent me endowed with his spirit. And then, of course, a very famous passage with which I'm sure you're familiar. Isaiah Chapter 61, verses one through two and incited by Jesus himself, the spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness, for the prisoners to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.


Okay. And so we see here the relation between the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ in this biblical material. And we are also going to see a relation between the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ in terms of the birth of the Messiah. And so if we look at the infancy narratives that are found, for example, in Matthew and here I'm thinking of Matthew chapter one, verse 18, which states quote, This is how the birth of Jesus, the Messiah came about. His mother, Mary, was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. So once again, we see a relation between the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. And then in Luke, chapter one, verse 35, the Angel answered. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you so that the Holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Now, in terms of this material, especially this last past passage here, Luke 135, Wesley made some commentary on this in his New Testament notes, and this is what he had to write. The power of God was put forth by the Holy Ghost as the immediate divine agent in this work. And so he exerted the power of the highest as his own power, who, together with the father and the son, is the most high God. And so then when we think about the birth of Christ, or if we think about the Incarnation, we again see an important role for the Holy Spirit. And this is how you can recognize the spirit of God. The author of First John says Every spirit that acknowledged Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.


But every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of Antichrist. And so the author of the first letter of John is saying, This is how we recognize the Spirit of God and the recognition of the Spirit of God has to do with the recognition of the truth of Christ, who He is as the logos made flesh. The Spirit, of course, is involved in the baptism of Jesus. We encountered that briefly in passing earlier. One thinks of Matthew Chapter three, verses 16 through 17. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment, heaven was opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him and a voice from heaven said, This is my son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased. Again, this is an important passage here in terms of the Spirit's role in relation to the son and in relation to a recognition of. The Messiah. And so, not surprisingly, Wesley has some interesting things to write upon this in his New Testament notes. And here's what he writes. Let our Lord submitting to baptism teach us a holy exactness in the observance of these institutions which owe their origin merely to a divine command. Surely does it become of all his followers to fulfill all righteousness? Jesus had no sin to wash away. And yet He was baptized. And God owned his ordinance so as to make it the season of pouring forth the Holy Spirit on him. And where can we expect this sacred effusion? But in a humble attendance on divine appointments, Well, that's actually a very rich passage coming from Wesley. And he's showing the important role that the Spirit is playing in the life of Jesus Christ, especially in terms of baptism.


Now there is this differentiation that's made in the New Testament between baptizing with water and being baptized with the Holy Spirit and Fire. So, for example, in Matthew chapter three, verse 11, it states, I baptize you with water for repentance. And this is John the Baptist speaking. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. So how does Jesus baptize? Well, in a way different than how John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ will baptize with the Holy Spirit. So we see a very strong relationship between the work and Ministry of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, such that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire in His New Testament. Notes on this the Theon passage. Wesley has this to say. He shall fill you with the Holy Ghost in flaming your hearts with that fire of love which many waters cannot quench. And this was done even with a visible appearance as a fire on the day of Pentecost, on the day of Pentecost. Now we also see the Holy Spirit's involvement with Jesus in terms of His temptations, because it is the Spirit that leads Jesus into the wilderness. In Matthew four one, it states that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And Wesley notes on this After this glorious evidence of his father's love, he was completely armed for combat. Thus, after the clearest light and the strongest consolation, let us expect the sharpest temptations. And so what Wesley is suggesting here is that the Son, Jesus Christ, had abundant evidence of the father's love. And with that outpouring, if you will, and demonstration that that prepared Christ for the combat that was to come in.


The Temptations. In the Temptations. And so Wesley is drawing a parallel here in terms of the life of Christ, with the life of his disciples, and encouraging us that when we have strong consolations that let us expect that we will also face sharp temptations. Good counsel, indeed. And then, as we've been noting in passing along the way, we see a connection between the death of Christ on the one hand and then the work of the Holy Spirit on the other. We see this, for example, in First Peter, chapter three, verse 18 for Christ also suffered wants persons the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body, but may. Aid alive, made alive in the spirit, made alive in the spirit. And so now Christ, as we've mentioned earlier, was raised by the spirit of holiness. And so in Romans chapter one, verses one through four, Paul refers to himself. He writes, Paul, the servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God, the Gospel He promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who has to his earthly life, was a descendant of David, and who, through the spirit of holiness, was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead. And once again, as we noted earlier, that the Holy Spirit is intimately involved with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And so Wesley writes in this vein Both the natures of our Savior are here mentioned, but the human nature is mentioned first, because the divine was not manifested in full evidence till after his resurrection. And then, of course, believers have the promise related to this that if the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies.


One of the. Most important works that I see of the Spirit in Scripture is attesting to Jesus Christ that Jesus Christ, that the Holy Spirit directs people to Jesus Christ. That's precisely a large part of the Ministry of what the Spirit does. Directing people to Jesus Christ. And so if we take a look at what Paul says in First Corinthians chapter 12 three, he writes this. Therefore, I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says Jesus speaks first. And no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. And so this is part of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit and bespeaks of who the Holy Spirit is in that there is the direction, the direction of sinners towards Jesus Christ, towards Jesus Christ, for redemption, for redemption. Now, this is one area of theology where we start to see some differences between the traditions, and we've been talking about that. And that, of course, is in terms of the whole Philly. Okay. Controversy, the Philly okay controversy, which basically the West after the third synod of Toledo in five, eight, nine, the third Synod in Toledo, So so fairly late in the sixth century, starts to use this language that the Holy Spirit precedes from the Father and from the Son. Okay. It takes time, actually, for this to work its way very strongly into the Western tradition, but it eventually does after five, eight, nine. And then, you know, we have very clearly a distinction between Eastern theologians and Western theologians in terms of how they understand the role of the Holy Spirit. The Eastern tradition, of course, and this is a strong argument that they make. They argue that the Western tradition is backing away from the ecumenical consensus of the church expressed, you know, in the councils, the early councils, Nicaea and Constantinople.


And then, of course, as reflected in the Nicene Constantinople and Creed. Okay. And so the interpolation, the adding to what the creed had said by the Latin, by the West, whereby now the Western Church is arguing for a dual perception of the Holy Spirit and the Eastern tradition. On the other hand, maintaining that the Father alone is the source of the proceeding of the Spirit. The unity in some sense of the ancient ecumenical church is now gone. In some sense, we have discrete theological traditions now. Now I would not call this anything such as schism. That would be inappropriate language here. I think what we have here is a distinguishing of two different traditions, both Christian, but distinct, distinct in how they're viewing some important issues. Okay. Now, when we think of of. When we think of the Holy Spirit, remember earlier in the context of Christology, we said that the Cappadocian fathers suggested that the distinctiveness, the distinctiveness of the persons of the Trinity is expressed in terms of relations, its expressed in terms of relations. So for example, earlier we said the father is under the UN begotten or that the son is the begotten. And what did we say in terms of the spirit? The spirit is the one who precedes. So we have that commonality. What's differing is how does the spirit proceed? Is it a dual source or is it a single source? Is it from the father or is it from the father and the son? The one be speaking of the Eastern tradition, the other of the Western tradition. Okay, let's stop there and take some questions or comments that that you might have in terms of what we've been saying about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.


I think it's interesting as you list some of the different. Functions or roles of the spirit? Yes. That. It overlaps with some of the things that is also true about the son and even the father. Like when we talk about the spirit being an advocate for us. Yes. So it's the sun? Yes. Yes. And that's right. And the right hand. And the father. Yeah. And the and the father advocates for us by sending the son to. Accomplish what it takes for us to be in relationship with them. So God for us. Yes. And as a matter of fact, the late scholar, female scholar, I think her first name was Patricia Luque and last name La Kirchner. And her work is on the Trinity. And the title of the book is God For US, God For US. And so what you're saying here, what you're expressing in terms of and when I hear advocate, you know, I think before us that the father is for us, the son is for us. The Holy Spirit is for us. Yes, I think that that's well taken, that when we think of the advocacy that the Holy Spirit is doing the for us work of the Holy Spirit, that that can also be expressed in terms of the Father and also in terms of the son, once again highlighting the importance of what we called earlier per Croesus, the interpenetration of the divine roles here in terms of father, son and spirit. Yes. Yeah. And when you put that in the context of the previous discussion where we have. Or we talk about the wrath of God. Yes. That even in God's wrath He's for us because he is so much against sin. Yes. That he wants us to live in relationship with him and without having the consequences of living in sin.


So even in the wrath of God, He's for us. Oh, absolutely. Because as we suggested earlier, the wrath of God is an expression of holy love. That God, unendingly and unswervingly, is aiming at our highest good, which will be devoid of all evil and wrath is the ongoing, determined opposition to evil. That's what it is. And so. Yes. Yeah. No, that's important. The more you study Wesley's theological writings, the more you will see that he is a very careful, sophisticated thinker, a theological thinker with lots of nuances along the way that some people miss. And they're clearly there in his writings. As a matter of fact, my approach to John Wesley has been akin to literary criticism. In other words, I look at John Wesley's writings as a body of literature, and I look at it in terms of its rhetoric. I look at key theological themes, how they're handled. I look at how Wesley uses vocabulary and how he may use vocabulary in different contexts, different contexts. And indeed, you know that that's been my whole approach to Wesley studies. I've paid very much attention to his own language and how he uses it. And he's very careful. Far more careful than some of his later representatives. Gosh, you've got me going here now. So now you've got me going. Because. Because here's here's what I sometimes face. We all have limited time. And so, you know, a student asks me, who shall I read? Shall I read some 19th century interpreter of Wesley or some 21st century interpreter? Wesley Or should I read Wesley? I'm always going to say, Read Wesley. Read Wesley. Why not go to the source? Because that 19th or 20th or 21st century interpreter may not be doing their work well.


They may not have read enough of the entire corpus or thought about it long enough. You say, because things are intricately related in Wesley's thought. They want implies another thing. And so I always encourage people to get in the primary sources. What did actually Wesley write and teach? Look at that. That should be the basis of the conversation. And then you can look at how subsequent followers presented his theology in different venues. And lots of times some trouble arises and then the caricatures and the distortions and the stereotypes can easily emerge because they lack the kind of nuance.