The Testimony Of The Holy Spirit: Its Nature And Bearings -- By: Gerrit H. Hospers

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 084:336 (Oct 1927)
Article: The Testimony Of The Holy Spirit: Its Nature And Bearings
Author: Gerrit H. Hospers

The Testimony Of The Holy Spirit: Its Nature And Bearings

Gerrit H. Hospers

There seems to obtain in Calvinistic circles two somewhat diverse views in regard to the nature of the testimony of the Holy Spirit. Because of their implications and bearings the matters involved are important enough to call for serious investigation.

The theologians of the Reformation made much of the doctrine of the testimony of the Holy Spirit. It was their strongest weapon against the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. However, this doctrine has not been developed and maintained as consistently as some other doctrines, so that in the course of time ideas have gained currency which certain scholars claim as failing to represent the ideas of the Reformers, and, in fact, to carry in them the seeds of evil. As objectively as possible I will attempt to present the material, some of which could not be within the reach of large numbers in America. This, with some discussion of the entire matter, will bear further thought on the part of readers of Bibliotheca Sacra. They will forgive me if I think I find a weak spot in our theology which might harm us all. The importance of possessing an armor which renders us invulnerable to the arrows of doubt, also makes it imperative to find out whether, possibly, there may be a flaw somewhere, unbeknown to some of us and undiscovered. This all the more because the matter involved in our subject concerns the very rock-bottom of being and thought, and to them the fact and the method of the Divine revelation stand immediately related.

I. After the example of Paul, Calvin exalted the sovereignty of God, and he consistently developed from this idea, using the data of Scripture, the initiative of the Divine operations in nature and in grace. He did not ignore the human factor, but carefully defined its specific function with its inherent responsibility. However, he subordinated all to the sovereignty of God. For we are

bound to turn to God if we are to find the absolute, the ground of all things.

Having these same matters in mind, Dr. A. Kuyper wrote his Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology. He felt that in theological thinking there had arisen the need of a better formulation and development of the Calvinistic conception of things. Even Reformed theologians of these later times had been relying too much on principles and conceptions which did not prove adequate to the situations which had meanwhile arisen. Therefore Kuyper called theological thinking back to the Reformation, and in a masterful manner he indicated the direction in which the genius of Reformed theology pointed, and we may safely say that he has given this considerable devel...

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