THE HOLY SPIRIT (Part 5: Error Regarding the Holy Spirit and How He Works)

So many false doctrines and fictitious claims exist about the Holy Spirit that it would take more than a five-part series to include everything. Many questions surrounding the Holy Spirit have no direct answer in the Scriptures; the Scriptures do not reveal what is not important (Deut. 29:29; Acts 1:7). Believers must trust that what is not mentioned in the Bible holds no importance to their salvation (2 Peter 1:3; Rom. 8:32). From a lack of trust, a great majority imagine the Holy Spirit as they see fit regardless of the soul-damning consequences.

John Calvin (1509-1564) taught and popularized the doctrine of direct operation and direct illumination, convincing people that they cannot understand the Holy Scriptures until the Spirit possesses their hearts. He further persuaded his followers that they cannot be righteous until the Holy Spirit directly controls their actions. Calvin depicted the Holy Spirit as a puppet master. No Scripture or implication from God described the Holy Spirit as one that directly controlled the minds and actions of Christians.

The Church of Christ, Scientists or “Christian Science,” founded by Mary Baker Eddy, wrote in her publication Unity of Good (1912), “The Science of God and man is the Holy Ghost, which revealed and sustains the unbroken and eternal harmony of both God and the universe.” She reduced the person of the Holy Spirit into some enigmatic law of science. As stated before, the Holy Spirit is a divine being, not a metaphor for something else.

The Oneness Holiness Church’s (Pentecostal groups) errant Holy Spirit doctrine is most commonly identified through their belief in modern-day miracles. This church ignores the teachings of Paul on miraculous gifts. Paul explains that not only are the miracles temporary till the written Word (the Bible) is completed (1 Cor. 13:8-10), but the purpose of the miraculous acts was to confirm that the written Word and teachings of the apostles were from God and not from human philosophy (Heb. 2:3,4). They make the Holy Spirit into a half-time show for money!

Furthermore, their Interfaith Evangelism Belief Bulletin, which is a publication that informs the groups of any shifts or changes in doctrinal teachings so they remain united in teaching (they wouldn’t need this if they just used the Bible), affirmed in stating, “Oneness Pentecostals declare that the Godhead consists of only one Person and deny the traditional doctrine of the Trinity…The Holy Spirit is not regarded as a person at all, merely a manifestation of Jesus’ power or a synonym for Him.” Such groups denigrate the Creator of the universe as a God with a multiple-personality disorder.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) hold to their original teachings of Parley Pratt, one of Mormonism’s original ‘apostles.’ Pratt described the Holy Spirit as a force like “magnetism” or “electricity.” He further spoke of the Spirit as “a divine fluid” and “impersonal energy.” Pratt erroneously asserted, “Jesus Christ…was filled with a divine substance or fluid, called the Holy Spirit.” So now, the Mormons have degraded the person of the Holy Spirit, at best, to Jesus’ energy drink!

Taze Russell’s founded organization, The Jehovah’s Witnesses, not only discredit the identity of the Holy Spirit, but they created their own Bible, The New World Translation, and edited the divine word to fit their doctrine. According to their Watch Tower website, Russell said, “The Holy Spirit has no personal name…is not another God, but the spirit, influence, or power…invisible, active force that finds its source and reservoir in Jesus and God and that He uses to accomplish His will.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses corrupted the person of the Holy Spirit into nothing more than some mystical force equal to ‘the Force’ from Star Wars!  

On the other hand, some believers have concluded that engaging in a comprehensive study of the Spirit provides nothing but an exercise in futility. They claim that the intricately tedious, complex, and multifaceted elements of the Bible about the Holy Spirit yield only more confusion. They make the Holy Spirit into a convoluted philosophy too complex for the average Bible reader.

What God instructs and reveals in His Sacred Writ cannot be futile (1 Cor. 15:58). God commands His followers to study the Word (2 Tim. 2:15, 2 Peter 3:18), and He bestowed all that believers need to live godly and go to heaven (2 Peter 1:3, John 20:30-31). Christians need not go beyond the Word for answers. If a Bible student simply reads what God said about the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures without trying to explain or disprove the human philosophies on the subject, then the Christian will have a clear understanding of the work and function of the Holy Spirit.

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