1993 Issue 5 - He Shall Glorify Me: Doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the Westminster Standards Part 3 - Counsel of Chalcedon

As seen in the Introduction, the work of the Spirit is summed up in John 16:14, where the Lord Jesus says, He shall glorify Me. Commenting on this passage, James Boice writes, The work of the Holy Spirit is primarily to glorify Christ. Indeed; when they are correctly understood, all the other works that might be mentioned are included within this one overriding purpose. James M. Boice, Foundations of the Christian Faith, p. 381. As we begin our study of the work of the Spirit, we first need to recognize that His work is wholly Christ-centered. There is an inextricable relationship between Pneumatology (Doctrine of the Holy Spirit) and Christology. The Spirit carries on the ministry of the Lord Jesus, after His ascension to the right hand of the Father. Jesus Himself teaches this in John 16:5-15. Luke further illuminates this fact in the book of Acts.
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   He s the Lord and Giver of ife, everywhere present, and is the source of all good thoughts, pure desires, and /Wly counsels In men. By Him the prophets were moved t speak the· Word of God, and aU the writers of the Holy Scriptures inspired t record infalltbly the mind and will of God. The dispensation of the gospel is espedaUy committed t Him. He pre pares the way for it, accompanies it . with His persuasive power, and urges its message upon the reason and consdence of men, so that they who reject its merdfuI offer are not only without excuse, but are also guiIt;y of resisting the Holy Spirit. WCF 34:2 As seen in the Introduction, the work of the Spirit is summed up in Jo1m 16 :14, where the Lord Jesus says, He shall glorify Me. Commenting on this passage,James Boice writes, The work of he Holy Spirit is primarily to glorify Christ. Indeed ; when they are correctly understoQd, all the other works that might be mentioned are included within this one overriding purpose . James M  Boice, oundations of the Christian Faith p. 381. As we begin our study of the work of the Spirit, we first need to recognize that HisworkifwhollyChrist-centered. There is an inextricable relationship between Pneumatology(Doctrine of he- HolySpitit) andChristology. The Spirit carries on the ministry of the Lord Jesus, after His ascension to the right hand of he Pather.JesusHimselfteaches this inJohn 16:5-15. Luke further illuminates this fact in the book of Acts. The book of Acts is, in a sense, volume two of Luke s gospel. A comparison of Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1: 1 2 confirms this. The gospel is an account of the person and work of Christ, I.e., what Jesus began to do and teach CActs 1:1). The book of Acts, on the other hand , is an account of His continuing work through the Spirit C . 2), who as Abraham Kuyper says, unlike Jesus, leaves no footprints in the s n Cited in R.C. Sproul, The Mystery of the Holy Spirit p. 7. In Acts 2 we read of the ascension of Christ. At His coronation, Jesus received the promised Spirit, which He poured out upon His church (v. 33); He baptized His church with the Holy Ghost (Lk. 3:16; Acts 1:5,8). Each and every Christian has been A srv Y OF THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BASED ONTHE WESTMINSTER STANDARDS anointed by Christ with His Spirit 1 In . 2:20,27). By means of his Spirit baptism, the Lord is continually with His body (Mt. 28:20) . The Holy Spirit, then, is properly called the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9; 1 Pet. 1: 11). Jesus Himself taught that only after His ascension would His people receive the gift of he Spirit; thUS, it was better forthe church that Christ depart Qn. 16:7). In this way Christ becomes ife-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45), and fills all things (Eph. 4: 10).]ohn Calvin, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15 : 45, and Semans in Ephesfans on 4: 7-10. C.H. Dodd writes, the Holy Spirit in the church is the sign of Christ's present power and glory. C.H. Dodd, The Apostolic Preaching and its Development, p. 42. 24 TIll COUNSEL of Chalcedon June, 1993 The Christ-centeredness of he Holy Spirit is further corroborated by the fact that 20% of the New Testment references to the Spirit are found in the gospels and 80% in Acts through Revelation. In other words, it is after the ascension that we see the fullness of the Spirit's ministry. The LordJesus is now the heavenly Parac1ete (parakletos, 1 In . 2: 1) who makes intercession (entunchano, Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:2 :) for the saints. The Spirit, on the other hand, is now the earthly, indwelling Paraclete (parakletos, In. 14 : 16) and intercessor (enttmchano, Rom. 8:27). In these passages, the same Greek words are used of Christ and the Spirit, thus st ressing the Christ- centeredness of the Spirit's work. R.C. Trench further points out that in John 14: 16, the Lord says that He will send another (allos) Paraclete. The Greek work alios means another of the same kind. This is significant, in that it reveals the similarity of the furtction of Christ and His Spirit. R c Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament pp. 357-361. Richard Gaffin aptly summarizes the matter: The work of the Spirit is not some addendum to the work of Christ. It is not some more or less independent sphere of activiry that goes beyond or supplements what Christ has done. The Spirit's work is nota bonus' added to the basic Slllvationsecured by Christ. Rather the corning of the Spirit brings to light not only that Christ has liv ed and has done certain things but that He, as the source of eschatological life, now lives and is at work in the church. By and in the Spirit Christ reveals Himself as present. The Spirit is the powerfully open secret, the revealed  mystery, of Christ's abiding presence in the church. Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., Perspectives on Pentecost pp. 19,20. The Holy Spirit in the Life o Christ The Christ-centeredness of the Spirit is clearly set forth in His work in the life of Christ. The Spirit is the agent ofthevirginbirth(Mt.1:20;Lk.1:35); He was present at the baptism of Christ (Mt. 3:16), where He anointed the LordJesus (lk. 4:18; Heb. 1:9), filling Him without measure (In. 3:34; also Lk. p,30 4:1), for His earthly ministry as Prophet d. 1 Kgs. 19:16; Ps. 105: 15), Priest d. Ex. 29:5-7; Ps. 133), and King d. 1 Sam. 16: 13). The Spirit lso led Christ during the temptation in the wilderness Mk. 1:12). Jesus was empowered by the Spirit(Mt.12:28; lk. 4: 14); He rejoiced in the Spirit (lk. 10:21); He exorcised demons by means of the Spirit Mt. 12:28); and He takes away the sin of the world (In. 1:29) by means of baptizing with the Holy Spirit v. 33). It is the Son, along \vith the Father, who sends the Spirit to accomplish His role (economically) in redemptive history (In. 15:26; 16:7). It was the eternal Spirit who was present at the crucifixion of Christ (Heb. 9: 14), the resunection of Christ (Rom. 1:4; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 3:18), and the ascension of Christ (Acts2:33). It was at the ascension that the Lord Jesus poured out His Spirit upon His church ActS 2:33), to supply the defect of His absence. John Calvin, Institutes IV: 17:26. And now, when the resumcted and ascended Lord speaks to His church, He does so through His Spirit (In. 16: 13-15). (This is also recognizable byacomparison of Rev. 1:12,13; 2:1; with 2:7; Rev. 1:17,18; 2:8; with 2:11; Rev. 1:16,19,20; 3:1; with 3:6; etc.) General Revelation general and special revelation. Here the Confession follows Calvin, who taught that the Spirit of God has implanted a sensus deitatis an innate, ineradicable knowledge of God, in all mankind. This enables men to see the rich revelation of God in creation, which is equally clear. All men have an inescapable, cognitive knowledge of the Triune God of Scripture, which leaves them without excuse. John Calvin, Commentary on Romans 1:18-21; 2:14,15. Nevertheless, says Calvin, due to the noetic effects of sin, fallen man, who possesses the seed of true religion, continually suppresses that which he knows to be true (Rom. 1: 18). And without the ·spectacles· of special revelation (the Bible), sinful man is not able to come to a saving knowledge of God. John Calvin, Institutes 1:3-5; 1:6: l At this point in chapter XXXIV, the Confession is not adding anything to the teachings of the earlier chapters 1,1; XXI,l). But in the first sentence, additional information is added about the Spirit's work in common or non saving grace, which is a part of general revelation, and the overall doctrine of God s creation and providence. Common or non-saving grace is the work of God's Spirit with regard to all men; it is common to all. God gives good gifts to all men: rain, sunshine, crops, etc. Mt. 5:44; Acts 14:17). He graciously restrains sin in all men (Gen. 6:3; Rom. 2:14,15; 1 Tim. 1:8-10). Furthermore, God gives natural gifts toallmen(Ex. 31:2-11; 1 Kgs . 7:13,14; Ecc\. 2:26). Louis Berkhof writes: In the sphere 0 fnature it is the Holy Spirit that gives birth to all life, organic, intellectual, and moral, that maintains it amid all changes, and that leads it to its development and destiny.' Louis Berkhof, Manual of Christian Doctrine p.223. extended to all of those who come under the hearing of he gospel. This is the universal call referred to in the Confession (X,4): Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of he Spirit, yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved. The Bible teaches that this common oman saving grace is withdrawn from the non-believer only in hell (Rev. 14:9-11; 2 Th . 1:9,lO).John Gerstner writes, Inhell .. God's ... grace, mercy, and pity are gone forever, never for a moment to return. John H. Gerstner, Jonathan Edwards: Mini-Theology, p. 105. As stated above, although general revelation is abundantly clear,leaving all mankind without excuse, it does not lead to a saving knowledge of God. The Westminster Confession does not adopt a natural theology. Neither does Calvin, the father of he theology of the Standards. The divinely implanted sense of deity, and because of this, the daily disclosure of God in nature, are more than sufficient to manifest the God of Scripture as the one and only true God .833 John Calvin, Institutes 1:3-5. In his Institutes Calvin speaks of the religious andlor moral argument (1:3:1,2; 1:5:8-10), the cosmological argument 0:5: 6; I: 16:8,9), the argument from common grace 1:5: 7), etc. But these, says Calvin, are vain apart froma Christian presuppositional stance, which is founded upon the Word of God (1:6:1). Not even the knowledge of the resurrection of Christ led the disciples to faith; it merely confirmed it (IlI:2:2- 5). For Calvin, as well as the Westminster Confession, the Bible is the axiomatic staning point for all knowledge. Special Revelation and Evidences Section two begins by asserting that But beyond this, the common Special revelation, which is now the Holy Spirit is the author of both blessing, omon-saving grace of God is found only in the sixty-six booksofthe JWle, 1993 TIlE COUNSEL of Chalcedon 25 .. .. -. _ .. . -..... _- _. . ---+---   ..  Old and New Testaments, is the direct work of the Spirit of God. Section two says that, by Him [the Spirit the prophets were moved to speak the WordofGod,andallthe writers of the Holy Scriptures inspired to record infallibly the mind and will of God. See also Westminster Confession of Faith 1,1,2,4-6,10. Too, the Confession (1,4,5) speaks of the numerous internal and external evidences which attestto the Bible as being the Word of God. And yet apart from the internal testimony of he Holy Spirit there is no conviction that this is true: The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word ofGod .. Wemaybemoved and induced by thetestimony of he church to an high and reverend esteem of the Holy Scripture, and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the pans, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are argumentswherebyit dothabundandy evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the inf<tllible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts. The Reformer of Geneva, in complete accord with the Westminster Standards, maintained that Scripture itself is self-authenticating. John evidentialist apologetics is doing Calvin, Institutes 1:7:5. things backwards (1:7:4). There are, said Calvin, in his Institutes various indicia (evidences), both internal and external, that the Bible is God's infallible revelation to mankind. There is the antiquity of the Bible, its majesty and impressiveness, numerous miracles and prophecies, the universal consent of the church, and the faithfulness of the martyrs 0:8:3-13). But apart from the inward testimony of he Spirit, these are vain ; they are secondary aids to our feebleness (1:8: 13). In other words, the evidences can be used apologetically as very useful aids: but never inductively from a neutral position (1 : 8: 1), because although there is common ground between the believer and non-believer, as both of them are made in God's image, there are no common notions (1:5:13). Therefore, says Calvin, it is ''not right to subject it [the Bible to proof and reasoning (1:7:5). The highest proof of Scripure derives .. from the fact that God .. speaks in it...the testimony of the Spirit is more excellent than all reason (1:7:4). True faith rests alone in an implicit belief in the Word of God, as revealed by the Holy Spirit (IIl:2:6-1O). According to Calvin, Finally, we note, asJohn OWen h s rightly stated, that the innertestimony of the Spirit is infallible; not that our faith isinfallible, but theSpirit'swimeSs to it is. Non-believers may have a certain intellectual understanding of the Word of God (indeed sometimes it may be very great), but it is not a saving knowledge. The latter comes only by means of the Spirit. John Owen, Works Vol. IV, pp . 17-20, 155,156. Special Revelation: nspiration And Author ry The Wesnninster Confession is very clear in its teaching on the subject of inspiration and allthority. All ~ixty six books of the Old and New Testaments are given by inspiration of God (1,2). Therefore, the Bible is fully authoritative, and to be believed and obeyed because it is the Word of God (1,4). It is the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts Who convinces us that this is true (1,5); He s the Supreme Judge .. speakingin the Scripture (1,10) . According to the Confession, the Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture . 2 Sam. 23:1,2; 2 Pet. 1:20,21). Both the Old Testament in Hebrew .. and the New Testament in Greek. .. [are) immediately inspired by God [the Spirit) (I,8). P1lritan John Ball writes that to be immediately inspired is to be as it were breathed, and to come from the Father by the Holy the srcinals [Le., the autographa - srcinal autographs ). CitedinBenjaminB. Warfield,Selected Shorter Writings Vol. II p. 579. This is the meaning of the Greek theopneustos ( God-breathed ) used in 2 Timothy 3: 16. 26 ~ TIlE COUNSEL of Chalcedon ~ June, 1993  For this reason Augustine can call the Scriptures the august pen of the Spirit. ; Augustine, Confessions VII:21:2 7. Calvin asserts that Scripture is the school of the Holy Spirit, and the mouth of the Lord. John Calvin, Institutes IIl:21:3, and Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16. Even as early as the second century, lrenaeus wrote about the four gospel accounts of he LordJesus, which were, held together by one Spirit. Cited in F.F. Bruce , The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? p. 24. In section two, the Confession correctly states that the Spirit spoke through the prophets and apostles. These were all inspired to record infallibly the mind and will of God. In other words, SCripture is the Word of God, as infallibily and inerrantly written by men. This is the organic view ofbiblical inspiration. Theauthors were acted upon by the Spirit in an organic way, in accordance with their personalities, characters, temperaments, gifts, and talents. Each author used his own style in his prophecy, epistle, gospel, etc. But all the while it was the Spirit of God who was moving them along so that they would write infallible truth (2 Pet. 1:20,21), the influence of sin being totally removed from the author and the text. Calvin writes that the apostles were the certain and authentic amanuenses of the Holy Spirit and therefore their writingsareto be received as the oracles of God .. [as found in) the Holy Scriptures. JohnCalvin, InsUtuftsN:8:9. According to the Confession 0,8), the same Spirit who inspired the srcinal autographs, likewise has so worked providentially that by His singular care and providence [the Scriptures have been) kept pure in all ages, [and) are therefore authentical. That is, the srcnal sacred text, the autographa, has come down to us through the ages, in the various translations, copies, etc., in essential purity, through the work of the Spirit. The Confession also correctly maintains that the canon of Scripture is restlicted to the sixtY-Six books of the Old and New Testaments 1,2). Since the prophets (and prophetiC men, e.g., Ezra, Nehemiah) and apostles (and immediate apostolic disciples, e.g., Mark, Luke) were the only ones inspired by the Spirit to write Scripture, then of necessity, when they died and or ceased writing inspired epistles, there could be no additional special revelation. There would be no need for it. The Sixty-six books thoroughly eqUip us for every good work (2 Tim. ~:16,l7 . The Westminster divines clearly held that the extraordinalY offices of apostles, evangelists, and prophets ceased with the close of Scripture. In the Form of Presbyterial Church Government, which was also fOlmulated and passed by the srcinal Westminster Assembly, we read: The officers which Christ hatll appointed for the edification of His church, and the perfecting of the saints, are some extraordinary, as apostles, evangelists, and prophets, which are ceased. Warfield confirms this in his The Westminster Assembly and its Work where he cites various commissioners (e.g., Edward Reynolds and John Lightfoot) as teaching that all miraculous word gifts ceased with the close of the canon. The Holy Spirit speaks in Scripture alone. Benjamin B. warfield, The Westminster Assembly and its Work pp. 232, 280ff. The close of the canon is explicitly taught in 1 COrinthians 13: 8-13. Here Paul is dealing with the place of the miraculous word gifts in the visible church. What is their purpose and duration? Paul says that they have a place, but they are a panial means of revelation w. 9,10). When the perfect, or complete (teleios) comes, then the partial will be done away with. The apostle is contrasting that which is complete and endures (e.g. , love, v. 8), with that which is partial. The fully canonized Word of God is complete (2 Tim. 3:16,17), and perfect Jas. 1:25), and endures forever (1 Pet. 1:24,25). It is all sufficient. Prior to the close of the canon, the partial means of relating God's Word (prophecy, tongues, supernatural means of relating knowledge,etc., v.8) were used. These were for the infant age of the church (v. 11; cpo 14:20,21). Th en God's people only saw dimly, as in a mirror. But by the time that the canon was complete Call 66 books), they would know fully; they would have the whole counsel of God (v. 12). Hence, the Confession is correct in maintaining that those former ways of God's revealing His will unto His people [are) now ceased 0,1 . Nothing at any time is to be added [to the 66 books), whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men (1,6). The sixty-siX canonical books which are given by inspiration of God [are to be) the [sole) rule of faith and life (1,2). (Note that the Westminster divines are saying that the Word of God does not merely deal with matters of religion [ faith ), but a of life ). The same Spilit who inspires the Word of God, also illuminates it for Christians and causes them to recognize its full authority over all of life. In the words of Willem VanGemeren: The Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture and teaches the deep things of God to those who search .. When the student ofthe Bible approaches the Bible with openness to the Spirit, the Holy Spirit witnesses to the authority of the Word, illumines and transforms the life. Willem VanGemeren, The rogress o Redemption p 28. Thus it is that Augustine can say: it is to the canonical Scriptures alone that I am bound to yield such implicit June, 1993 ~ lliE COUNSEL of Chatcedon ~ 27
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