The “Shy” Member of the Trinity: The Holy Spirit -- By: Larry Dixon

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 11:2 (Winter 2002)
Article: The “Shy” Member of the Trinity: The Holy Spirit
Author: Larry Dixon

The “Shy” Member of the Trinity:
The Holy Spirit

Larry Dixona


“Wherever the Christian church is weak (and it is weak in many places), and wherever Christians are weak individually, it is always because they have never graduated into the high school of the Holy Spirit—they are still babes in Christ, no matter how long they have been Christians.” (Ray Stedman)

“It is not the lofty sails but the unseen wind that moves the ship.” (anonymous)

“We all pray for the Holy Spirit, but as soon as the tongues of flame begin to appear we all run for the fire extinguishers.” (Melvin G. Kyle)

“Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5)

The doctrine of Pneumatology, that is, the study of the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, is fraught with danger. There are those who over-emphasize what

some call this “shy” member of the Trinity 1 appearing to speak more of the Spirit than they do of the Father or the Son. Others overreact to this imbalance and act as if there were no Holy Spirit, or at least seem to imply that we are not to study Him, worship Him, or pray to Him.

I am reminded of J. I. Packer’s important warning as we embark on our study in this chapter. In his work Keep in Step with the Spirit, Packer says, “There is nothing so Spirit-quenching as to study the Spirit’s work without being willing to be touched, humbled, convicted, and changed as you go along.”2 As another theologian put it, the Holy Spirit too has a history. We are not the first generation of Christians who struggle to be biblically balanced in our understanding of and submission to the Third Member of the Godhead.

A Few Historical Notes

We have said very little about historical theology in these articles, and that is not good. Historical theology studies how doctrines have been understood down through the centuries of the church’s existence. When we say that the Holy Spirit too has a history, we are not denying the timelessness of God. Rather we are indicating that He has worked in His people from the days of creation (in His fulness, we believe, only since Pentecost) and He desires to continue His work in and through all who know Christ.3

For my doctoral dissertation I chose...

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