You are here:Home-Resources

In John 16:14, the Lord Jesus Christ gives us a summary statement of the work of the Holy Spirit: "He shall glorify Me." The major function of the Spirit is, in a sense, self-effacing; He does not seek His own glory, but Christ's, His work is Christ centered. (In as much as Christ came to do the work of the Father-or glorify Him [Jn. 17:4]-all glory that is Christ centered is similarly reflected onto the Father and finally becomes Theocentric. As the angels sang at the birth of Christ, "Glory to God in the highest!" [Lk. 2:14]) In the same way that this verse speaks of the Spirit's work, it also speaks of His "person." This is true on two accounts. First, although the person and work of the Spirit must be distinguished, they must never be totally separated. Second, to perfectly glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, by carrying out His ministry, the Holy Spirit must be intrinsically Holy and divine. This He is; He is the Holy Spirit, a title attested to by Christ Himself (Jn. 14:26). He is also fully divine, possessing all of the attributes of deity. This monograph intends to examine the doctrine of the person and work of the Holy Spirit (or "pneumatology") as set forth in the Westminster Standards, i.e., the Confession of Faith along with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.

(The following article represents an excellent example of how Christians can respond to needs in their community without the intervention of governmental bureaucracy. I thought you would enjoy and profit from these real life messages. Robert Smith is founder and executive director of the Christian Food Mission. He is also a deacon at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Laurel, MS. You might write to encourage or support him at P.O. Box 2422 Laurel, MS 39442. - The Editor)

From the very beginning God has had His hand on this work and, I believe, He is not finished with it yet. Let me begin by sharing something important I recently came to understand about myself.

What men believe determines how they think and live. This has always been the case and is still so today. To focus upon specific historical events while overlooking the theological foundations that provoked those events is to miss the most important lessons history has to offer. To be ignorant of the theological underpinnings of the past is to have a radically short-sighted and woefully misguided view of it.

There have only been two basic faiths throughout the history of the world: The Biblical Faith (God-centered, Scripture-based, teaching salvation by grace) and the non-Biblical faith (man-centered, rejecting the authority of the Scriptures, teaching salvation by works). The latter has many cultic expressions, advertises itself under various names which have an almost infinite variety of minor differences among themselves. Do not be fooled by the apparent disharmony however. All the forms of unbelief, in spite of their trivial differences, are united in their antagonism to Biblical theology. Their variety serves the Deceiver well since it disguises the fact that their common foe is Christianity.

In this article we shall endeavor to answer the following question, Is the postmillennial hope wishful thinking or certain hope? My initial response to this either/or dilemma is to affirm that postmillennialism is both wishful thinking and a certain hope. Let me explain what I mean by this unusual assertion.

By every godly measure postmillennialism should be wishful thinking for the believer. That is, it should be the Christian's wish that the Gospel of Jesus Christ make overwhelming and victorious progress in the earth. It should be our wish that the world be overflowed with the righteousness of God through our diligent, God-blessed labor. It should be our wish that peace arise as a result of the gracious transformation of human nature under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Why would a Christian wish for anything less?

Mark begins his gospel simply by assuming that the Son of God has made His appearance in the world in Jesus. In his fast-moving style Mark moves immediately into a vignette into the ministry of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus.

Matthew, like Luke, says much about the actual incarnation of Jesus, although he basically confines his narrative to a description of the virgin birth of Jesus and related subjects.

John begins his gospel as the book of Genesis begins the Bible: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.... And the Word became flesh...," Jn. 1:1, 14.

Although Luke, with Matthew, reports at length the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ, his emphasis is quite different than that of Matthew, so that Luke's account of the birth of Jesus is in no way a mere supplement to Matthew's account. The two accounts differ widely concerning what they report, although both are historically accurate.

Each month the "Cross-Examination" column presents a summary statement of a Reformed and Reconstructionist conviction in theology or ethics, and then offers brief answers to common questions, objections or confusions which people have about that belief. Send issues or questions you would like addressed by Dr. Bahnsen to the editor.

We have seen that the covenant signs of circumcision and baptism pointed to the cleansed and consecrated (holy) character of God's people, even though not everyone within the covenant community (or church) lived up to that signification in the Old Testament, just as not everyone within the New Testament covenant community (or church) lives up to it. Nevertheless the signs of circumcision and baptism retain their value and importance in the eyes of God, the Lord of the covenant.

Chapter XXXIV of the Westminster Confession of Faith begins with a study of the being of God the Spirit: who He is. Clearly set forth is the orthodox affirmation that the Holy Spirit is fully divine, the third person of the Triune Godhead.

There have always been those who have denied that the Spirit of God is a person. The Arians, Socinians, Unitarians, and numerous Neo-orthodox and Neo-liberal scholars claim Him to be little more than the power, influence, or energy of God. This false teaching denies the existence of the Spirit, and destroys the doctrine of the Trinity. But orthodox theology has always maintained that the Spirit is a person: a living, substantive entity. He is not merely an abstract force. In Luke 1:35; 4:l4; Acts 10:38; Romans 15:13; and 1 Corinthians l5:13, the Bible distinguishes the Holy Spirit and His power. The personality of the Holy Spirit scripturally evidences itself in the following ways.

The coming of l993 brought a great sigh of relief from the organizing committee of the quincentenary of Columbus' voyage to the "New World." Seldom has a five-hundredth anniversary caused more commotion left, right, or center. Everyone, except maybe the "Adult Children of Alcoholics," took the occasion of the quincentenary to cast all sorts of accusations, allegations, defamations, and, as my Mama would say, "plain ole ugly things" upon the "Admiral of the Ocean Sea." It is impossible to relate them all but I cannot resist mentioning a few:

The Universities of the land (modern society's peculiar version of the old insane asylums) were not shy (are they ever?) to jump into this historical/philosophical fracas. The University of Illinois officially changed Columbus Day to a "Day of Mourning" while Arizona State University commemorated the day by allowing a Chicano rap group to shout obscenities about European culture. The University of Minnesota enjoyed an entire day of "festivities" highlighted by a play about the "legacy of Columbus' (it was all bad) to be held at "The Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater" (seriously, I would not make these things up).

Let us turn now to our third foundation stone for the postmillennial hope: Prophecy.

God's prophetic word is power. It is not raw power, however. Neither is it brute force. Rather it is structured, sovereign might. It is guided by divinely ordained creational principle and covenantal promise. It will secure the end toward which it moves: "So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (Isa. 55: ll). Our's is a certain hope, not a mere wishful thought, for God says: "My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please" (Isa. 46:lOb).

He Shall Have Dominion by Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. Institute for Christian Economics P.O. Box 8000 Tyler, Tx. 75711 $19.95 hb. 584 pp with index.

Many times during presbytery exams, when the examiner begins to ask questions on eschatology the one being examined replies that he is pan-mil. This often brings a wave of laughter from presbyters. While eschatology is a very difficult subject, we must realize that the Bible does speak directly to the subject. No Christian should take comfort in hiding behind a pan-mil description of his eschatology. All three (or four, including dispensationalism) cannot be correct. It is important that we study Scripture prayerfully to seek to understand what God has revealed on this important subject.