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Posts Tagged ‘filled with the Spirit’


The 3rd view of sanctification presented in Christian Spirituality is a Wesleyan view by Laurence Wood. There are aspects of the Wesleyan view that he clarifies so common misunderstandings no longer remain misunderstanding. The main positive I found was that of expectation- the expectation that God will work in you to sanctify you. Forde, in his Lutheran response did not share my view of this as positive.

“In this regard, it should be kept in mind that a Wesleyan hermeneutic, though it gives priority to the Scriptures as the basis of all beliefs, assumes that all truth is existentially perceived and appropriated. …. For the Bible is always interpreted through experience, tradition and reason. This is not a subjectivizing of the biblical revelation, but a frank acknowledgement that all truth is mediated in a larger context, rather than merely through a logical and rationalistic framework.”

He begins by talking about the Wesleyan hermeneutic. It is very good that he does this because it reveals some of his presuppositions for us to examine as well. Too often the method of interpretation used to arrive at a conclusion is not mentioned. So he unpacks, briefly, the “personal-relational dimension” of the way Wesleyans tend to “do theology.” Certainly our personal and corporate histories shape our understanding of Scripture. Sometimes for good, and sometimes not so good. His main point is that “the crucible of life is the laboratory for testing our interpretation of Scripture.” The key phrase is “our interpretation.” They are not testing the Scripture, but their interpretation. Our theology should work: making sense of life, our experience and shaping our life in positive ways. The gospel produces good things in our lives, though often thru difficult experiences.

The Misunderstanding

Many people stumble over the phrase Christian Perfectionism. Wesley was not speaking about absolute perfection. Entire sanctification, another confusing term for non-Wesleyans, refers to a “second blessing” (yet another confusing term for non-Wesleyans and non-Pentacostals) or subsequent blessing that gives us perfect love for God. This perfect love for God results in “perfect obedience.” This does not mean we are sinless, but that we no longer willfully sin. There may be unintentional sins, and there are “psychologically repressed complexes” that result in disordered behavior. But our intentions are good and pure even if our behavior is not (I wonder how much Neil T. Anderson’s material connects with the Wesleyan view).

“In fact, the entirely sanctified are more aware of their weaknesses and sins and thus are more capable of growth in grace because of the openness of their hearts to their true situation.”

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The same caveat exist for as for my post on Scripture.  This is meant to summarize the doctrine found in the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Chapter II: Of God, and The Holy Trinity

20. List some incommunicable attributes of God. List some communicable attributes of God. Distinguish between the two. Omniscience & omnipotence.  Goodness & love.  Incommunicable attributes are those God does not share with his creatures.  He shares communicable attributes with us, and we are guilty of sin in as much as we do not manifest these attributes.

21. Distinguish between the Transcendence and Immanence of God.  Transcendence is God apart and above creation.  He is not to be confused with creation, and he is sovereign over creation.  Immanence describes God’s involvement in creation, how He draws near to accomplish His purposes in creation.

22. How many persons are there in the Godhead? 3

23. What is meant that the Son is “eternally begotten”? What is being preserved by this statement?  The Son has no beginning but has always been God the Son.  It preserves his unique personhood and divinity.

24. Support from Scripture the full deity of Christ. John 1, Philippians 2

25. Does the Holy Spirit proceed from both the Father and the Son? Why is this teaching important? What does it safeguard against?  Yes.  It is important because Jesus teaches it in His High Priestly prayer (John 17).  It was one of the matters of controversy between the Eastern and Western Church prior to the Great Schism.  It maintains the eternal fellowship of the Godhead and the equality of the Son with the Father.

26. Do you believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit? On what basis?  Yes.  In Hebrews “God said” and “the Spirit said” are used interchangeably.  Jesus calls Him “another Counselor”, placing Him on equal footing.  In His instruction on baptism (Mt. 28) Jesus says “the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” indicating their unity. 

27. Support from Scripture the full deity of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit was present and active in creation (Gen. 1), the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (Rom. 1), Jesus performed his earthly ministry in the power of the Spirit (Luke), and the Spirit works in our salvation (1 Peter 1).  Acts 5 says they lied to God, then in a parallel statement that they lied to the Spirit.

28. What works are assigned to the Holy Spirit in Scripture?  Creation, giving of prophecy, sustaining the ministry of Christ, regeneration, granting of spiritual gifts, sanctification, bearing witness that we are sons of God, leading us into obedience, bringing us into the Father’s presence in prayer.

29. What is the difference between the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and in the New Testament?  The ministry of the Spirit, apart from regeneration and illumination of the Scriptures,  was primarily related to the offices of prophet, priest and king.  Now all Christians enjoy the ministry of the Spirit.

30. What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and when does it occur?  It is the initial & permanent indwelling of the Spirit which occurs at conversion.

31. What is the filling of the Holy Spirit and when does it occur?  The filling of the Spirit refers to our submission to the influence of the Spirit by faith. 

32. What are the evidences of being baptized with the Holy Spirit? Of being filled with the Spirit?  The evidences of being baptized with the Spirit are faith and repentance (Acts 2).  As we mature, the Spirit also bears the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5).  The evidences of being filled with the Spirit are worship, gratitude and submission to proper authorities in the Lord (Eph. 5).

33. What is your view of the gifts of the Holy Spirit? In His sovereignty, the Father gives each Christian spiritual gifts for the building up of the Body.  The sign gifts have ceased.

34. Are you personally committed to the doctrine of the trinity?  Yes.

35. What does it mean for God to be “without passions” (II.1)?  God is not subject to fleeting emotions such as man.

36. Describe the work of each member of the trinity in the economy of salvation.  The Father elects some to salvation, the Son purchases their redemption thru his Incarnation, Identification, active obedience, passive obedience, resurrection and ascension.  The Spirit applies the redemption that Christ has purchased to those the Father elected.

37. Do tongues have any place in the church today? How would you describe the modern day phenomenon?  I don’t see a place for tongues in the church today.  I think they are a learned behavior, therefore a counterfeit- not a spiritual gift.

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