Contemporary Issues in the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit Part II: Spiritual Renewal -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 130:518 (Apr 1973)
Article: Contemporary Issues in the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit Part II: Spiritual Renewal
Author: John F. Walvoord

Contemporary Issues in the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
Part II:
Spiritual Renewal

John F. Walvoord

[John F. Walvoord, President, Dallas Theological Seminary, Editor, Bibliotheca Sacra.]

A tremendous upheaval has occurred in the twentieth century in regard to morality. In previous generations it was taken almost for granted that man could solve his problems. The advance of science and health, the development of educational programs, the spread of democracy, and the proclamation of the Christian gospel were considered sufficient-to bring in ultimately a utopia for man. It was thought that it would only take time and application of these principles to solve the basic problems of man.

In the period following World War II, however, it has become increasingly evident that moral deterioration instead of improvement seems to mark our generation. The rapid advance of crime, youth delinquency, increase in divorce, exploitation of sex, and extensive use of illegal drugs has spread like a cancer through modern society. Today there is widespread skepticism as to whether the situation can be improved. Youth is in revolt against the civilization which was inherited from their parents, and parents despair in attempting to solve the problem of wayward children. Increased international tensions caused by the struggle between communism and the non-communistic world, racial tensions all over the world, and increasing rebellion against poverty and malnutrition seem to mark our present generation. It is becoming evident that man is not able to solve his own problems, and that only a divine or theological solution provides the answers. Society is desperately sick because the individuals who compose it are more and more manifesting depravity.

Few facts of contemporary experience are more evident that the fact of man’s sinfulness and depravity. Even in non-Christian

points of view the prevailing opinion now recognizes that man is far from what he ought to be and needs renewal if he is going to find the utmost in human experience and realization of his role in life. In Christian thought, especially in orthodox circles, the sinfulness of man is taken as evident in life as well as in Scriptures. One of the main purposes of Christianity is to bring renewal to man who is enslaved by sin and separated from God by both his nature and his acts.

Christianity in large measure can be defined as the application of a divine remedy for man in his depravity. The process of salvation originates in God, is proclaimed by man, and is mediated by the Holy Spirit. Although there is little question within orthodox Christianity of the basic tenets of man’s fall into...

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