Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Beauty and Glory of the Holy Spirit

Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Puritan Reformed Theological have joined to publish, through Reformation Heritage Books, a comprehensive new volume on the Holy Spirit. The Beauty and Glory of the Holy Spirit is a multi-authored work edited by GPTS President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr. and PRTS President Dr. Joel Beeke. Among the 16 contributors are several GPTS faculty and board members and alumni, some of whom lectured on their subjects at the 2011 GPTS Spring Theology Conference on the Holy Spirit. To order the book, go here or click on the ad in the right column of this e-newsletter.

The essays in The Beauty and Glory of the Holy Spirit both exalt and revel in the third person of the Trinity. Through an assortment of studies categorized according to their biblical, doctrinal, historical, or pastoral focus, this book sets before readers the inestimable ministry of the blessed Holy Spirit. Contributors include David Murray, Geoffrey Thomas, John Thackway, Malcolm Watts, Gerald Bilkes, Michael Barrett, John Carrick, George Knight, Morton Smith, Ian Hamilton, William Shishko, William VanDoodewaard, Joel R. Beeke, Joseph Morecraft, Ryan McGraw, and Joseph Pipa.

Below are some excerpts from chapters by faculty and board members.

"There are those who think that the power of preaching lies in the persuasive power of the words. We know that in effectual calling God makes the Word persuasive, but the Word does not possess any persuasiveness apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. Others suggest that there is an inexorable spiritual law that the preached Word operates automatically apart from the Spirit. ... Such a position detracts from the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit in His work.

"The Bible clearly teaches that the efficacy of preaching depends on the Holy Spirit, who is sovereign in making the work of preaching efficacious. Jesus says, 'The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit' (John 3:8). The Spirit must join Himself to the preached Word and act with it."

• Joseph A. Pipa Jr., from Chapter 19, "The Holy Spirit and the Unique Power of Preaching"

"With the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus, the church has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and every true believer has the Spirit of God dwelling in his body. Also, the church universal is seen as the temple of God. We thus have a special incentive to take care of our bodies, because they are the temple of the Holy Spirit. In addition, we should be concerned about the spiritual health of the church universal, since she is also the temple of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within her.

"Of particular significance to us who name the name of Christ are the words of the apostle Paul, warning us not to grieve or quench the Person of the Holy Spirit ... May the Lord assist us all to recognize the Person and personality of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, and to guard against grieving or quenching Him in His work of sanctifying us."

Morton H. Smith, from Chapter 9, "The Person of the Holy Spirit"

"Revival is something that God gives, something He sends. That means we can never organize a revival. ... We might as well speak of organizing a thunderstorm, earthquake, volcanic eruption, or tornado! These acts of God are analogous to times of revival, seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord No man knows the time, the place or even the instrumentalities that will be used.

"So, revival is, in the final analysis, a matter of the sovereignty of God. He chooses the men; He chooses the times; He chooses the places; He chooses the instruments. They are outside of our hands. All we can do is beseech Him. It is the sovereignty of the Spirit! ... He moves where He will. So, there is a sovereignty of the Spirit in revival in terms of time, place, and instrumentalities.

"Revival is, therefore, peculiarly a work of the Spirit of God. Yet characteristically, the Spirit does not focus on Himself. ... His aim is always to testify to and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. To that end, He convicts and convinces men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come."

John Carrick, from Chapter 18, "The Holy Spirit and Revival"

"The vitality of the Reformed faith is evidenced in the regenerating work of God immediately leading to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the ongoing filling of that Spirit in God's people. This work of God enables His people to understand that God sovereignly founded His church in the apostolic age on the apostles and prophets with a display of extraordinary gifts, and also to understand that God continues to build His church on that foundation without those apostles and prophets by the ordinary, not extraordinary, spiritual gifts He still gives His church. This vitality and understanding enables those who embrace the Reformed faith to meet the challenge of the charismatic movement."
• George W. Knight III, from Chapter 7, "The Cessation of the Extraordinary Spiritual Gifts"

"The renewing, new-creation work of the Holy Spirit in our lives necessarily makes itself known. The Spirit leaves His 'fingerprints' unmistakably on every life He indwells. It is the Spirit in us who causes us to cry, 'Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6). It is the Spirit in us who produces all-around likeness to Jesus Christ in our lives (cf. Gal. 5:22-23). It is the Spirit who helps us to 'mortify the deeds of the body' so that we might 'live' (cf. Rom. 8:13). It is the Spirit who helps us in 'our infirmities,' especially in prayer (cf. Rom. 8:26). We could go on. There are however, two evidences of the Spirit's renewing presence in our lives that are not often considered.

"First, the Spirit's new life within leaves us looking forward to the final 'regeneration' at the end of the age....

"Second, the Holy Spirit's regenerating presence and power create and inspire within us godly self-examination. A converted life is, at heart, a deeply penitent life...."

• Ian Hamilton, from Chapter 11, "Regeneration and Sanctification"