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Doctrine of the Holy spirit - Why Study This Doctrine? Print E-mail
Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

I.  Introduction:

 I want to start the year by looking at the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Yet, before we dive into this next week, I wanted to start tonight by answering the question why study this doctrine. Hopefully we can begin to see the importance of this doctrine even tonight. Also, I want to recommend some books that might interest you concerning this doctrine. I have read at least portions of each of these and some are obviously more helpful than others. Letís move to the why question now.conclude with some implications from the passages.

II. Why study the doctrine of the Holy Spirit?

A. Personal/practical: The most obvious reason for studying this doctrine is simply the fact that we have looked thus far at the doctrine of God the Father and God the Son, thus we need to now turn our attention to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. In our following of the Baptist Faith and Message, the next section is obviously the statement concerning the third person of the Trinity. Let me read that section to you. So for this reason we are looking at this doctrine next.

Yet, personally there is more to why we are looking at this doctrine. I originally wanted to begin the year looking at why we do what we do in corporate worship. In thinking through that subject, I realized that we were going to be talking about the gifts of the Spirit and the role of the Spirit in our worship. Yet, since we had not yet taught through the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, I knew I would need to do some teaching there before we looked at the more practical issues. So, that is where we are going. When we finish our look at the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, I want us to turn to the question of why we do what we do in corporate worship.

B. Historical/Denominational: Some have referred to the 20th century as the century of the Holy Spirit (thus the title of Vinson Synanís book: The Century of the Holy Spirit). Many different events and ideas have gone into this label and I do not have time to cover it all. Yet, let me just mention a couple of things which should help us understand what has happened in the past 100 years. First, I should mention the Azuza Street Revival, which took place from 1906-09 in Los Angeles, California. A pastor by the name of William Seymour was preaching at The Azuza Street Apostolic Faith Mission in downtown Los Angeles. He believed in the baptism of the Spirit accompanied with tongues and many came to receive this baptism. This revival had a worldwide impact for Pentecostalism. Several denominations also resulted from the Azuza Street revival. From here, the Pentecostal movement began to impact the more mainline denominations (Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, etc.). Other factors also contributed to the rapid growth of Pentecostalism. Many Pentecostal leaders began preaching on TV and even formed Christian networks (CBN and TBN). Another branch that is often referred to as the Charismatic movement began in the 60ís and 70ís. Thus, all of this and more has contributed to the labeling of the 20th century as the century of the Holy Spirit.

An interesting question for us in all of this is how have Southern Baptists responded to these events? Again we donít have time to answer this fully, but strangely enough the response is somewhat lacking. In other words, at times it seems as if Southern Baptists have simply ignored the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements at its best and harshly critiqued it at its worst. Granted other issues have been going on throughout these years, but it is somewhat odd how few have responded. However, recently, more attention has been given to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit within Baptist circles, primarily to the issue of spiritual gifts and private prayer language. Thus all of this gives us more reasons to study the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

C. Biblical/Theological: Even though these other reasons are important, of course the most important reason to study the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is to better understand what God has revealed about Himself through the Word. Unfortunately, as we noted above, the Holy Spirit has been largely ignored in Baptist Churches. Granted, this is not true across the board, but if I am honest I have not had that much teaching on the Holy Spirit at the local Church level. Thus, we need to take some time to look at what the Bible has to teach us about the third person of the Trinity.

III. Conclusion:

I realize that we are not all going to come down in the same place on some of the practical issues concerning the spiritual gifts. I realize that there are different ways to interpret some of the passages that we will be looking at. Yet, none of this means that we should not discuss the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. In fact, these issues, along with what we have said above, should actually encourage us to look at this doctrine. My hope is not that we will all agree on everything, but rather that we can understand better the doctrine and how others understand it and more faithfully be led by the Spirit here at Trinity. May the Lord grant us grace as we move forward. Amen.

 ~ William Marshall `

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 January 2009 )

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