Editor’s Introduction -- By: John H. Armstrong
RAR 3:2 (Spring 1994) p. 9
“The grand thing the church wants in this time is God’s Holy Spirit. You may get up plans and say, ‘Now if the church were altered a little bit, it would go better.’ You think that if there were different ministers, or a different church order, or something different, then all would be well. No, my dear friends, it is not there the mistake lies; it is that we want more of the Spirit.... That is the church’s great want, and until that want is supplied, we may reform, and still be just the same. All we want is the Spirit of God.”
The words of a modern charismatic Christian? No. A tract written by a modern revivalist? Not at all. These words were written in 1857 by a 23-year-old Baptist minister named Charles H. Spurgeon. Then, as in every age, the one thing needed for the life and vitality of the church is the Holy Spirit.
For far too long we have treated the Holy Spirit as a kind of optional power source for those who go in for certain experiences. On the one hand we stress the recovery of vital evangelism through church growth techniques and strategy, while on the other, we stress recovering the miraculous in day-to-day operation in order to bring down God’s power upon our efforts for Christ. In many traditions, and in much practice, the Holy Spirit is virtually ignored! One wonders if we, like the Ephesian disciples in an unusual set of circumstances in the first century, might not say, “We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:2).
The Holy Spirit actively participated in the work of creation. He worked mightily in giving divine revelation and in guiding the writing of, recognition of, and preservation of, the Holy Scriptures. He still works in illuminating every careful effort to understand and preach the true sense of Scripture. He convicts men of sin, draws them to the Savior and regenerates them in their spiritually dead state. He does this in the same manner as in earlier ages, right down to the present moment. He grants assurance of salvation,
RAR 3:2 (Spring 1994) p. 10
empowers believers for service and witness, and gifts and graces Christians of every kind of background.
We must note, first, that the Spirit is a person, not an it or a force, as some are prone to say. He is revealed to us in the New Testament as a person who can be lied to, grieved and quenched. He intercedes for the redeemed believer night and day, helping him frame his requests before God and pray rightly in accord with the will of God. As the third person in the triune Godhead He is properly called God.
But should we talk abou...
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