THE HOLY SPIRIT IN CONTEXTS OF FIRST CENTURY

"SPIRITS" AND POST MODERN (21ST CENTURY)

ANIMISM (PANTHEISM)

 

Pentecost, the Holy Spirit and The Mission of The Church

 

"Quench not the Spirit"

 

Two fundamental challenges to the Church in this millennium are resurgent Charismatic Phenomenon and the intensification of Animism in the second and third worlds. This emphasis does not include the animism present in certain scientific philosophies regarding nature in the West. Throughout our brief survey we must not forget constant attention to the Pentecost experience and the mission of the Church.

 

What is the Significance of Pentecost?

 

What is the significance of Pentecost in the entire Theology of Promise? From an answer to this question we can move to missions as the purpose of The Church.

 

1.  What is really meant by the "outpouring of the Spirit?" Was not the Spirit present before?

2.  What functions did the "outpouring of the Spirit" fulfill?

3.   What is the relationship to sin in the early Christian community and how is the Holy Spirit related to this fact?

4.  How was the Pentecost event an eschatological phenomenon?

 

We must address at least four issues: (1) Coming of the Spirit; (2) The Spirit as the Giver of Life; (3) The Pauline conception of the Spirit as earnest and as first-fruits; (4) The eschatological significance of Pentecost

 

1.  Coming of The Spirit: [see esp. E. Ichweger, "pneuma" TWNT, VI, 330-453; "sarx", 7, 98.151; "soma", 1024-91; F. D. Bruner, A Theology of The Holy Spirit (Eerdmans, 1970); and H. R. Boer, Pentecost and Missions (Eerdmans, 1961)].

 

The advent of the spirit is presented in both the Old Testament and the gospels as the coming of a new factor. The Spirit will be 'poured', Joel 2.28; God will give a new heart and a new spirit, and will take away the stony heart, Ezek 11.19; God's Spirit will cause men to walk in His statutes, for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, Joel 2.28ff. This strong emphases is declared in the Gospel, "When the Holy Spirit comes He will reprove the world, guide the disciples into all truth, show them things to come, glorify Christ and, having received from Him, shall show it to them, (Jn 16.8,13,14).  When the Spirit comes they shall witness to Christ to the ends of the earth (Lk 24.45f; Jn 7.39; Acts 1.8). Though there was "all kinds of activity through gifts of the Holy Spirit" in the Old Testament, nowhere in the OT does the Holy Spirit send his people to the ends of the earth. If the Spirit is present in the OT, then how can we understand this "outpouring of the Spirit" in the Gospels? Note how Israel responded to God's revelation in the OT.

 

(Cf. Acts 7.51f; 6.8-15; I Cor 10.1-4,9a - the Spirit and Christ; II Cor 3.17 - relationship between Christ and the Spirit; Gal 4.28-29 - the promise and power of the Spirit; Rom 4.18-24 - Abraham's faith in God's promise; Gal 3.14 - to be a child of promise is to be a child of the Holy Spirit; I Pet 1.10-11 - against the Spirit is related to the promise; Heb 11.40 - future promise of being "made perfect"; Eph 1.4; Rev 13.8 - the presence of the Holy Spirit in the OT affirms the unity of the Holy Spirit in the NT by promise. The purpose of Pentecost is one of God's promises. The resistance to the Holy Spirit is revealed in the Jewish resistance to preaching the Gospel.

 

In I Cor 10.1-4, spirit is identified with Christ. The Spiritual is in its Pauline use. The Spirit is not divided in I Cor 2.13; 121ff.  Only the Spirit can bring the spiritual into being. In II Cor 3.17f, we have an instance of the intimate and inseparable relationship between Christ and the Spirit. The passage expresses a post-Pentecostal relationship. In Gal 4.28,29 God's promise was worked out through Abraham and Sarah to effect the birth of Isaac.  In Romans 4.18-24 Abraham's faith in the integrity of God's promise to give him a son and is reckoned to him for justification. But it is equated with our belief in God who raised Christ from the dead. To be a child of promise means to be a recipient of the Holy Spirit that has been given to the Gentiles, Gal. 3.14). Paul knows no other Spirit than the Spirit who indwells the Church.

 

In I Peter 1.10,11, he speaks of the Spirit of Christ which must be the Spirit of the historical and exalted Christ. The Spirit in these verses is consequently the Spirit given to the Church at Pentecost (Eph 3.5ff; Heb 11.40). The promise of God maintains the unity of Scripture. The Holy Spirit is the same Spirit in both the Old and New Testaments. Pentecost was unique, but the promise to redeem the fallen world is not new, since God has one purpose and one plan to recover the fallen universe (Genesis 1-3).

 

2.  The Spirit as the Giver of Life

 

What is His central function in the new era which He revealed? The Spirit is given on Pentecost to create the Church which would witness to the world, to all the ethnics.  Pentecost conveys life through the gospel of the crucified and risen Lord.  (cf. note the content of Jewish and Hellenistic preaching in Acts). The bestowal of life in the realm of the natural was the central function of the Spirit in the work of creation. New Life is called a new creation in the NT (II Cor 5.17; Gal 6.3). The function of the Spirit in the re-creation of the world, therefore, parallels His function in creation (II Cor 3.3-6; Gal 5.25). Christ was raised from the dead by the Spirit of Holiness (Rom 1.4), that we, being raised with Him, may walk in newness of life (Rom 6.4ff; 8.13). In Romans 8.13 the sharpest of contrast, life and death, is presented in the form of the contrast, spirit and flesh (I Cor 6.17f; II Cor 3.17). The believer is described as being not only "in Christ" but also "in the Spirit." In several passages Paul applies the expression "in the Spirit" and "in Christ" to the same matter:

 

1. To be - I Cor 1.30; Rom 8.9

2. To speak - II Cor 2.17; I Cor 12.3

3. To be sanctified - I Cor 1.2; Rom 15.16

4. To be justified - I Cor 6.11

The union of believers - Christ - Spirit is therefore expressed by Paul in varied forms indicating the intimacy of the relationship. Christ is the Spirit, the believer in Christ, and he is also in the Spirit. This relationship centers, as we have seen, in the resurrection of Christ (Rom 8.11). Surely this is the reason for the emphasis on the resurrection in Apostolic preaching (see preaching in Acts).

 

John's emphasis on life is centered in the person of Christ (cf. 4.10; 6. 33,35,48,51,63,68; 11. 25; 14. 6; compare Acts 7, 38-39; I Jn 5.   4; 2. 29).  Christ and the Spirit brings "eternal life."

 

3. Pauline Conceptions of The Spirit as Earnest and as First-Fruits

 

The Church is the same - the dwelling place of the Spirit at Pentecost, and that His central function to confer life through the evangelistic expansion of the Church. Paul refers to the Spirit as earnest in three places - II Cor 1.22; 5.5; Eph 1.14 - and first-fruits but once, Rom 8.23.  In Ephesians 1.13, Paul writes that the Spirit of promise by which his readers were sealed is the earnest of our inheritance.  Earnest and Spirit are here entirely convertible terms; (see "arraban" in TDNT). First fruit in Rom 8.23; II Cor 1.22; Eph 1.14; Gal 3.14, "promise of the Spirit" II Cor 5.1f. Paul says Christians have "the first-fruits of the Spirit" in Rom 8.23. The Spirit's function in the "end time" is to confer "life" through the mission of the Church.

 

4.  Eschatological Significance of Pentecost

 

At Pentecost the Church was introduced into the new unending era of redeemed creation. The fullness of time (Gal 4.4) came in Christ. The Spirit is to empower His people to fulfill the promise. The mark of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are in reality no more than distinguishable aspects of the one redemptive work of God in Christ.

 

Here the missionary foundation is finished and empowered. To the "ethnics" empowered by word and spirit to fulfill the promise (see my syllabus, Theology of Promise).  It is the Church which has the gift of the Spirit which empowered to proclaim the Gospel of Christ (not the Gospel of the Holy Spirit). The missionary function of the Church will last till the consummation of creation.  At the beginning of the history of the Church of Christ stands the Pentecost event.  It stands at the absolute beginning of the Church, the people for whom Christ died and was raised from the dead.

 

The Gospel is the word of life (Phil 2.6); it is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1.16); it brings life and immortality to light (II Tim 1.10); and surpasses the ministration of the latter glory, for the ministration of the Spirit gives life (I Cor 3.6-12).  It is a recognition of the central function of preaching and of faith as the proper response to it, that constrained Paul to write, "For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they nave not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Rom 10.13-15).  Preaching of the Gospel is the central task entrusted to the Church in the New Testament. The Promise of God is in our hands  (Matt 24.14; Mk 13.10; Rev 6.1-8; 19.13). In the time between the times, the concurrent judgment of God and the Gospel of God point to the consummation of history and creation. Creation restored! The time between the incarnation and His return is the time of apostolic parachlesis (II Cor 6.2)

The Church is a witnessing community. There are at least four dimensions to the Witness:

 

1. The witnessing Spirit

2. Pentecostal empowering for witness

3. The final commission as law of the Church's life

4. The reticent Spirit

 

The phenomenon of "speaking with other tongues" as the unique characteristic of Pentecost.  It is no-where explained.  Do we have a speaking or hearing wonder? or both? We are confronted only with the fact of His presence, with power of His presence, and with the effects of His presence. The Holy Spirit is the qualification from speaking about Christ; He is the panoply of the prophets and the apostles. His is the gift of speaking about the mighty acts of God.

 

The Paraclete, Pentecost and The Commission

 

The first great effect of Pentecost is Peter's great sermon (Acts 2).  It also provides the only interpretation that the Bible gives us of the speaking with "other tongues." "This is that which has been spoken through the prophet Joel (Acts 2.16-18).  With this quotation from Joel, Peter begins his inspired witness to the saving work of Christ. Preaching was set as the norm of the witnessing pattern in the early Church.

 

The second consideration to what we must turn in order to understand the significance of Pentecost for the witnessing Church is the meaning of "Paraclete." (cf. in the discourses of Jesus presented in Jn 14-16.  Pentecost sheds light on Jesus' promise in I Jn 2.1; the parakalos in John 14-16). Perhaps the Paraclete is the Spirit of witness who exhorts men to accept the comfort of the messianic age. Moreover parakletos appears nowhere in the New Testament outside of the Johannine writings, and parachesis and parakaleo appear nowhere in the Johannine writings. Barrett's suggestion does have this advantage; it unites in one fully consistent and eternally coherent pattern the functions of the Paraclete, the content of the preaching and a prominent NT description of the apostolic kerygma. Whether we call Him helper, advocate, comforter, teacher, or simply retain the name Paraclete, His activity is clearly defined. He is Christ's witness in and through men to the Church and to the world. This is the Spirit who is the life and who determines the task of the New Testament Church.

 

The witness of the Spirit extends to the final commission. Christ will send the promise of the Father (Lk 24.42-49; Acts 1.8). When the promise comes they shall be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth. In Mat 28.20, the correlation between the promise and Pentecost and the witnessing activity of the Apostles is stated unmistakably. The acts of the Apostles is the only book in the NT that deals exclusively with the history of The Church (Acts 1.8; 2.1-13 presents the theme of the book).  The theme is "The Universal expansion of Christianity begun in the power of, and effected by, The Holy Spirit" (Wickenhouse). The prominence of the Holy Spirit in Acts is undeniable!

 

In the Epistles this witnessing power of the Holy Spirit almost disappears. He is now presented as the distribution of diverse gifts in the Church, I Cor 12; Heb 2.4, the earnest of our inheritance, Eph 1.14; the means of access to the father, 2.18; the sphere in which Christian love obtains, Col 1.5; the means of sanctification, I Pet 1.2; the ground of unity, Eph 4.3; and the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control, Gal 5.22-23. This represents an abrupt change in the NT description of the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

The work of the Holy Spirit is to confer life. The means of conferring life is preaching the Gospel. The Church is first and last a witnessing and proclaiming community.  Acts presents the determinative activity of the Spirit in the Church. All discussion on the Epistles concerning the Holy Spirit is to those who have accepted the Gospel.  Christ dwells in the Church through the Paraclete.  The work of the Holy Spirit in the ekklesia is in sharp contrast to work in the Old Testament kahal congregation. The ekklesia is a world-wide witnessing community. The kahal was not. The Promise begins fulfillment in Christ and The Church's witness.  Another sharp contrast between the kahal and ecclesia is the ministry, Eph 4.11-12; I Tim 5.17.  Preaching in the Old Testament pointed to the coming Messiah. The proclamation of the Church was a witness to the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.  It witnesses to the fulfillment of The Promise in Christ (Num 11.29; 44.5; 59.21; Joel 2.28). Without the Diaspora the day of Pentecost would have had no universal perspective. The preparation for the commission was the Diaspora. Pentecost made the Church a witnessing Church.  "This Mandate" says Karl Barth, "became effective through the gift of the Holy Spirit." Note the relationship between the Word of God and His commission to the world!

 

The witnessing activity of the Church began at Pentecost. The Church exists to secure acknowledgement of Christ's dominion over creation (Gen 1-3; Acts 1-2). Note the spontaneous character of witnessing in Acts. Note also the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the witnessing power of the Church.  (Compare the preaching and all references to the Holy Spirit in Acts.) The Holy Spirit then is a loving, life-giving, and witnessing Spirit. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to direct attention away from 'self to 'God.'

 

The Pentecost account in Acts 2 emphasizes the elements of witness and universality. The reason for this is that Pentecost is the declaration that the Gospel is meant for the world (Acts 2.4-11). The consciously expressed linguistic diversity and the geographic spread of the audience whom the disciples addressed emphasize the interest of Luke in placing the witness that was spoken in a framework of universal reference.  Pentecost envisioned the proclamation of the Gospel to "every nation under heaven" (See Roland Allen, Pentecost and The World, Oxford, 1917, pp. 42,43). The Gospel is to be preached for the reuniting of the world in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. We heard of the promise being fulfilled in "These are the generations of Shem," and there follows the genealogy of the redemptive line which proceeds through Arpachshad, Shellah, Eber, Peleg, etc., to Abram who becomes the father of the nations from which shall arise the universal Messiah, the Son of Man. The Spirit of this Messiah shall bring into being a new humanity welded together into one fellowship of love and understanding by the universal language of the Gospel.  Therefore at Pentecost a new language was spoken, the language of universal redemption through faith in Christ.

 

At Babel the Goyim (the nations) came into being. The Goyim in their religious alienation from God, in all their power and achievement and in all their ultimate moral and spiritual powerfulness.  At Pentecost they began to be resolved into the people of God. At Pentecost they began to enter into fellowship of the new Israel.  At Pentecost the Babel that was destroyed was replaced by the revelation of the new polis, the city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Heb 11.10).

 

Pentecost was the revelation of the mystery that the dispersion of mankind at Babel and the separation of Israel to a peculiar service among the nations were but steps on the way to a larger purpose; they were roads on the way to the fulfilled promise. The universality of the Gospel lies rooted in the resurrection by Christ and extends to the eschatological end:

 

A. Pentecost and Promulgation of The Great Commission:

 

Jesus commanded his disciples to go to the nations only after the resurrection (compare the missionary theologies of Harnack and Warnack). The Jewish Church in Acts did not respond to the universal commission of Christ. Only after Pentecost did they begin to understand. The Book of Acts clearly reveals that the early Church required further revelation then the resurrection and Pentecost (compare Acts 1-12 and 13-28). The universalism of the Gospel was not a self-evident phenomenon. God's promise prevails throughout each era of Israel's faith as well as the theology of Promise contained in Genesis 1-11. The Promise represents the constant unfolding of world witness to the risen

 

Christ. The Promise has always been universal, even when God covenanted Israel for the specific purpose of delivering the Messiah to the fallen universe. The Kingdom of God has always been universal.  Both Warnack and Harnack sensed the importance of Jesus' "Great Commission." What is the relationship of The Promise and The Commission? After the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus we note the Lordship of Christ and the Kingdom of God and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a gift for carrying out the Commission (Acts 2.33-36). The great theme of the Apostolic kerygma is that Jesus Christ is Lord (see the work of C. H. Dodd, Apostolic Preaching). Jesus said, "All authority has been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go you therefore and make disciples of all nations. . ." (Matt 28:l8ff). The execution of the Great Commission is the central task of the Church (cf. Lk 24.27; Rom 4.25). Prophecy, promise and fulfillment fused at Pentecost. The commission is to take place as fulfillment of the Promise.

 

B. Missions As An Eschatology and Reality:

 

Missions and Promise are inseparable. This Gospel shall be preached to the whole world (Matt 24.14; 28.19-20; Acts 1.8; 2.17; Rev 6.1-8). The universal Lordship of Christ is to be affirmed by the commission. The missionary significance of Pentecost makes at least two affirmations—mission and the end has come.

 

Christ and Universalism (Rom 8.22-23; 13.11-12; 16.25,26; Eph 1.9,10; 3.3-6; 8-11; 5.32; Col 1.26-29; I Tim 3.16)

 

Pentecost and the Witnessing Church in Action (cf. the classic work of Kraemek and McGovran, esp. his Bridges of God).

 

a.   The Book of Acts if the only historical book in the New Testament that deals with the life of the Church.

b.   Throughout Acts the Church and missions are inseparable (Acts 1-12; 13-28; from Judaism to Hellenism.

c.   In Acts missions is not a department of the Church but the very purpose of the Church.

 

It is in the revelation of the Holy Spirit as a Missionary Spirit at "Acts stands alone in the NT; it is the one prominent feature. Though faith and conversion are individual, the impact was within large social contexts (conversion of families and households). The Church was composed of basic social units and organic wholes (cf. influence of Fuller Theological Seminary missions emphasis.  Acts reveals at least four crucial facts:  (1) The witness was universal; (2) Large groups of people were converted; (3) The one social group emphasized was the home or family; (4) The massive movement was born by the Spirit poured out at Pentecost.  Note that the Promise is the recovery of the fallen universe and conversion of all Jews and the nations. We must not confuse anthropological and soteriological issues. We must guard against "People Group" dynamics (egs. German Volk) and certain implications of McGavran's thesis).

 

In Western culture the family unit has greatly changed. McGavran often fails to distinguish between Discipling and Perfecting converts, though the great merit of McGavran in emphasizing the place of the oikos in missionary strategy can hardly be overestimated. People Movements and "chains of families" approaches people through the family in its organic relationship to the people are, as McGavran has called them, veritable "highways of the Spirit."

 

Pentecost and The Witness of The Church in Unity

 

Church founding is certainly a crucial factor in any scriptural missionary endeavor. The Missionary endeavor takes place in a non-Christian contact.  The context represents a non or anti-Christian world view. In our world of the 1990's, over one-half of the world's population is animistic (see my Holy Spirit in An Animistic Culture; and G. van Rheenen's Communicating Christ in Animistic Contexts, Baker, 1991; and my Shamanism and The New Age). The unity of the Church is a powerful missionary instrument for world evangelism. The object of the witnessing Church is Christ the Lord. His glory and honor is a central theme (see G. Kittle, TWNT, vol II, pp. 236-238). The question of God's glory raises at least the following four issues:  (1) The glory of Yahweh (kabod) in the Old Testament; (2) The glory of Christ in the New Testament; (3) The relationship of the glory of Christ and the Holy Spirit; (4) The significance of the glory of Christ for the witness of Church unity and missions.

 

The Glory of Yahweh - The LXX uses doxa to translate kabod.  Doxa appears some 280 times in the LXX, approximately 180 of which are translations of kabos, the remainder rendering 24 other Hebrew words all of which bear a meaning closely to kabod (Gen 13.2; Gen 45.13; Isa 16.14; Isa 17.4; 21.16). The kabod conception in the OT reaches its highest expression in the frequently appearing phrase, kabod Yahweh, the glory of the Lord (Ex 33.17-23; Isa 3.8; 59.19; Ezel 2.2). The kabod Yahweh conception of the OT therefore presents the idea of great power and majesty from the heavenly regions.  It is associated with the Temple (then the Tabernacle) where God reveals Himself in a special manner; it is a means of revelation.

The kabod Yahweh is the object of religious hope (esp in Isa, coming glory; 40.4,5; 60. 1-3; 66.18).  In the OT the kabod Yahweh is an integral part of the eschatological expectation (II Cor 3.7-11).

 

The Glory of Christ - In the New Testament the "glory of Christ" is related exclusively to His eschatological appearance in judgment (esp. Matthew and Mark; Lk 2.9; 9.28-32; 9.26; 21.17.  In Paul and Peter this concept is further indicated (I Pet 1.21; 4.11-13; I Tim 3.16; I Cor 2.8; Titus 2.13). Our interest is especially vital in the Johannine conception of the glory of Christ (Jn 1.14; 2.11; 11.4). The glory manifest in the earthly Jesus is for John, therefore, a heavenly, a supernatural glory.  The glory of Christ is referred to by John in a four-fold way. (1)  It is the glory which Christ had with the Father before the foundation of the world, 17.5; (2) It is the glory that He manifested on the earth; (3) It is the glory that He was yet to receive, 7.39, 12.33; 17.5;  (4) It is a glory which He had not yet received and not yet conferred on the Church, but which He considered as already His and already hers, 17.22. These are:  the glory of the eternal Son of God which is an underived glory, and the glory given to Christ as a reward for His meritorial work which is a derived glory (cf. Incarnation, Humiliation, Jn 17.22 etc.)

The Glory of Christ and The Holy Spirit - The New Testament associates glory and Spirit.  Paul indicates a close connection between glory, Spirit, and the resurrection of believers and of Christ (I Cor 15.Iff; Rom 1.4; 6.4, 14; 8.11; I Cor 13.4). John relates glory, Spirit and the resurrection of Christ no less specifically than Paul relates them (cf. Jn 7.38,39; 12.20ff; 12.23; II Cor 3.7-11f; 4.1-6). Finally, glory in its relationship to the Spirit comes to expression in the membership of the Church (II Cor 3.17; 4.1-6f; I Pet 4.14; Rom 8.21; Col 1.11; Eph 1.17-18.

 

Pentecost and The Witness of The Church in The Unity of The Spirit - In the Old and

New Testaments kabod/doxa appears as manifestation, as revelations, as reflections of divine being (II Cor 3.17,18).

 

1.   It is the Holy Spirit who effects the unity of the Church. The wonderful fellowship of the early Church was a direct outgrowth of Pentecost (Acts 4.32-5.4; II Cor 13.14; Gal 3.28; 5.22-3; Eph 2.13; 4.3; Phil 2.1,2; I Cor 12.12,13; Rom 12.5).

 

2.   The fact that the Spirit is the unifying element in the Church brings us directly to Pentecost. There is between the Church and Christ only one point of connection.  As we can meet God only in Christ, so can we receive Christ only through the Spirit poured out at Pentecost. The whole OT redemptive process moves to its concentration point in Christ, and from Christ to the Holy Spirit. Thus the Spirit's unifying power and in her Spirit-borne witness and life, lies the heart of Pentecost.

 

3.   It should be noted that the prayers of Christ recorded in John 17 follows immediately in chps 14,15, and 16 in which Jesus promises the coming of the "other Paraclete," and the whole of Christ's prayer is permeated with the thought of the declaration of God's word to men, which is the very activity in which the work of the Paraclete will consist. The unity of the Church does not derive by the passive presence of the Holy Spirit, but through His witness activity (see my Paraclete and Preaching in Acts). The power of the Paraclete, the witnessing and life-giving Spirit, works in the Church

 

4.   The glory for which Christ prayed in Jn 17.2 clearly had as its purpose the transmission of eternal life to men (Jn 17.2,22; Matt 28.l8ff).  Jesus intimately relates His glory to the Spirit as the bearer and power of the proclamation whereby life eternal is conferred on men. The unity of The Church is, according to Jesus' own words, a great missionary instrument given to the Church.  Where this unity does not exist we fall short of the glory of God. For the Son was glorified in order through the bestowal of His glory on the Church He might make the Church one, as He and the Father are one, that He might glorify the Father (see my Christ; Incarnational Model and bibliography on The Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

 

Quench Not The Spirit:  Spiritual Declension (Acts 7.51; I Thess 5.19; Eph 4.30)

 

A. Resist not the Holy Spirit

B. Grieve not the Holy Spirit

C. Quench not the Holy Spirit

 

If the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost is so centrally the origin and the undergirding, informing and empowering principle of the missionary witness of the Church, it would seem reasonable to expect that He should also have the greatest significance for the concrete manner in which the actual missionary work of the Church was performed.

 

The Book of Acts acquaints us with the (1) Spirit of Life; (2) Spirit of Power; (3) Spirit of Witness; and (4) Spirit of Fellowship, all of which speak of the dynamic of action. The Spirit of God creates missionary devotion, perseverance, and self-sacrifice. He must open the hearts of hearers, He must establish the spoken word.  Is the only condition that exists for obtaining the blessing and power of the Spirit is the desire for the conversion of men and the glory of God? In Christ, ends do not come into being suddenly or in relative indifference to the methods that are employed to effect them.  Ends are, in Christ, always consummations, realizations, the total outcome of a promise or process. Christ, who is the end, is also the means, and Christ, who is the means, is also the end.

 

If there have been missions by the sword, by political power, by privileged position, by dollars, pounds, francs, guilders, etc., if there have been, and if there are missions based on the notion of white superiority, Western individualism, of the finality of Western civilization, if our methods have often quenched and grieved the Spirit, all this God forgives and overcomes and even uses, because there was in it all an element of obedience which He did not despise. We must not forget that Paul was foremost a missionary and the Book of Acts is a missionary book. The Spirit is a witness to both the Church and to the World!!  (cf. Allen and the so-called "indigenous missionary method."  (1) Self-support, (2) Self-government, and (3) Self-propagation (Roland Allen, Educational Principles and Missionary Methods (London, 1919, esp. pp. 41-41). Allen had boundless confidence in the power of the Spirit - (1) Believed Spirit, a witnessing Spirit; (2) Spirit source of all goodness; (3) Spirit places men at liberty; (4) Spirit places believers in a position of total dependence on Christ.

 

Pentecost and Crucial Issues

 

The need of instruction in the nature of the Spirit - The Church is not just an institution alone, nor an organism alone, but as the one body of Christ consisting of two correlative aspects. The kind of Church that met in Acts is a witnessing Church through her members personally and individually. It does not know a witness by the Apostles that ignores or has little appreciation for the witness of individual members of the Church.  "The Church was first established and organized with a world-wide mission for a world-wide work."  (R. Allen, The Spontaneous Expansion of The Church (London, 1949, pp. 131ff.) If the Church is to return to a true appreciation of her missionary character and thereby to a fuller discharge of her missionary duty, the life giving work will have to be emphasized more than has been done in the past.  Note that there is no record of missionary activity between the giving of the Great Commission and Pentecost and for this reason missions is in Acts. The central theme of the Church's activity after Pentecost. The command of the Commission can become actualized by the gift of the Spirit. The Church is commanded to go, not merely to a geographical area but also a cultural world view area.

 

The Spirit and The Indigenous Church

 

The Church grew by the addition of converts to existing congregations and by the organization of converts into new and fully independent congregations. When we turn to the Book of Acts and to the Epistles of Paul we find no trace of Jewish missionary methods.  Paul did not try to bring into being Gentile Churches after the Jewish pattern; note awareness of world view between Jews and Greeks; see my Apostolic Preaching.

 

A.  The Spirit, The Word and Institutions

 

The task of missions is to be instrumental in transmitting the life of the Spirit. Through witness institutional safeguards to strengthen and transmit the faith have arisen (see my Ministry in the New Testament; and The Characteristics of_ Eldership).  In order to transmit His life the Spirit, according to the norm of the NT, uses only one means; this is the kerygma, the witness of the Church (cf. see works of C. H. Dodd). There was an inseparable relationship between preaching and discipleship (II Tim 4.2-5; Rom 10). The Kerygma and some of its alternatives are exposed in Acts 8.18-24.

 

The Church in her institutional expression is the only institution in this world that does not arise out of the created order (cf. see The Christian Faith and The Social Sciences). A Christian world view affirms that The Church stands above all human institutions and has significance for all of them.  A Christian world view addresses every dimension of reality, egs., Science, Technology, Linguistics, Education, Mathematics, etc.  (cf. R. A. Word, "Do Institutions Ruin Missions?" Christian Century, Nov. 14, 1951, pp. 130f).  Naturalistic, humanistic secularism has gained control over all institutions in the West and Animism controls the world view in the third and fourth worlds. The missionary witness of the Church comes to men in the oral proclamation of the Gospel, supported by the life, spirit, and attitude of the witnessing agents. These two are one and inseparable.

 

B. Comprehensive Method or Comprehensive Message?

 

The single purpose of the Church is to preach the Gospel to 5 billion people in the final decade of the 20th century. To bring them to the saving power of Christ is the central purpose of the Church. We are still struggling with the tension between Method and Message. The heroes of the faith recorded in Hebrews 11 did not exercise their faith under favorable conditions. Social renewal is preceded by the renewal of individuals who understand the comprehensive significance of the Gospel. The renewal of the Spirit is cosmic.

 

C. Unity in Witness:

 

In our age of secularism and relativism and private interest groups, the Restoration Movement is a unity movement. Yet division came over the liberal and conservative theologies and the mission of the Church (Eph 4.4-6). Unity in Christ is a visible unity (Jn 17.22; all of Acts). The world must be able to see the Church's unity, not in her institutions but in her spirit filled life.  In the 19th century, liberalism and Biblical criticism (the nature of scripture) divided the Church.  In the 20th century there are four more divisive issues:  (1) Non-theological elements as cultural and historical background; (2) Creed differences, (3) Difference in Church polity and liturgy; (4) Difference that effect the very nature of the Christian faith (Relativism and Cross-cultural communication).

 

The ecumenical movement came into existence to confront classical Christianity. The same issue confronted the Roman Catholic Church which called forth Trent, Vatican I and II (see my Roman Catholic Theology; Changing Paradigms; and my Cults and Occult: Challenge of Christianity, esp. in the 19th and 20th Century). Must we bring divided Christianity to the mission field? Does the Holy Spirit produce theological chaos?  (See R. Allen, Pentecost and the World (Oxford University Press, 1917) and his The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church; all of Kraemer's and McGavran's works for the last decade of the 20th century).

 

The task of world missions as we move toward the 21st century requires renewed reflection on the meaning of the Holy Spirit for the missionary proclamation of the Church. This witness requires clear awareness of a Christian world view. This Spirit was given to the Church at Pentecost to carry out God's design for the Church (Matt 28.l6ff; Acts). The mission of the Church is not finished until every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father (cf. Schweizer's article, "pneuma" TDNT, VI).

 

Acts presents the model for The Church in which dwells The Holy Spirit (cf. Dale Moody, Baptism and Foundation for Christian Unity (Phil: Westminster, 1967); cf. Beasley-Murray's Baptism in The New Testament).

 

 1.      Acts 2.1-13 - Pentecost

 2.      Acts 2.14-39 - Christian preaching and the Holy Spirit

 3.      Acts 2.37-39 - Christian baptism

 4.      Acts 2.40-47 - Baptism and life

 5.      Acts 4.3-5.32 - Prayer, obedience and the Holy Spirit (Acts 4.31; Lk 11.13; Eph 5.18)

 6.      Acts 8.4-24 - Baptism and the Holy Spirit at Samaria

 7.      Acts 8.18-24 - How not to seek the Holy Spirit (Simon Magus)

 8.      Acts 8.26-40 - The Ethiopian Eunuch's baptism

 9.      Acts 9.17-19 - Paul's baptism

10.     Acts 10.44-48; 11.13-18 - Cornelius and the household

11.     Acts 11.13-18 - Peter's review

12.     Acts 14.17-28 - Paul's message

13.     Acts 15.1-29 - Circumcision party and Jerusalem conference

14.     Acts 16.11-18.11

15.     Acts 18.24-28 - Six Greek conversions, esp. chp 17

16.     Acts 19.1-7 - Apollos

17.     Acts 20.38 - Paul's final message

18.     Acts 22.16-17 - Paul's testimony to his baptism

19.    Jesus' baptism and The Spirit  (C. K. Barrett, The Holy Spirit and TheGospel Tradition (NY: Macmillan, 1949).

20.    John the Baptist and The Spirit (Promise of The Holy Spirit) (cf. Markus Barth, Baptism, A Sacrament? and his father Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV/4(1969), pp. 62,75; on the two baptisms in the NT "water baptism" and "Spirit baptism"; G. W. H. Lampe, The Seal of The Spirit (London: Longmans and Green, 1951).

21.    Faith, Baptism and the Holy Spirit  (cf. Schweizer, art. "sarx" TDNT, VII, p. 132, 30ff; Fredrick, art. "euaggelion," TWNT, II 731, 42ff; Bultmann, "pistis" TWNT, VI, 221, 1-3; Beasley Murray, "The Holy Spirit and Baptism," Review and Expositor, 63 (Spr 1966); Schweizer, art. "pneuma" TWNT, VI,429.

22.    Paraclete Sayings in The Gospel of John (cf. Raymond E. Brown, "The Paraclete in the Fourth Gospel" (NTS, 13, pp. 113-133). The Paraclete sayings of the Gospel of John contain the most concentrated New Testament witness to the doctrine of the evidence of the Holy Spirit and serve, therefore, as a useful commentary.  John's central message is not the Holy Spirit but Christ and His mission.

 

a.   John 14.15-16 - "another counselor"

b.  The Paraclete is not imperfectly and incompletely given

c.   The Paraclete cannot be received by the world because it does not see him (14.17)

d.  There can be no denial that Jesus identifies Himself with the other counselor (14.16)

e.   The Paraclete will be sent by the Faith (14.26)

f.    The ministry of the Paraclete is a remembering ministry (14.26; Acts 1.8; I Cor 12.3; Jn 15.1-11)

g.   The convicting mission of the Spirit (16.7-11) is a part of His Christocentric mission (16.9).

h.   The Paraclete not only reminds and convicts, He also guides into the future (16.13).

i.    The Paraclete's entire mission may be gathered together in Jesus' own summary (16.14). The evidence of The Spirit par excellence is the glorification of Jesus Christ (I6.15a). This is unanimous testimony of the NT concerning the way of the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus.

j.    The Holy Spirit bears witness that Jesus Christ is "true man and true God" (see my Christology; Incarnational Paradigm). For excellent summary of NT and early Christian teaching concerning Christ, see G. Sevenster, "Christologie des unchristentums" RGG 3, I (745-62).

k. Pentecostalism and John 14-16; I Cor 12-14; Rev 1-3 1. Pentecostalism and Speaking in Tongues (Signs and Wonders),  (cf. Stalin article 'skandalon1 TWNT, VII 354-12-2; Galatia and faith and works - "circumcision"; Pentecostalism and "Speaking in Tongues". What is the relationship between the events of Pentecost and the Mission of Christ and His Church? Today?  (J. F. MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos (Zondervan, 1992).

 

Bibliography

 

A. Understanding the Pentecostal Movement and Its Background

 

Bittlinger, Arnold. Gifts and Graces: A Commentary on I Cor 12-14. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1967.

Bloch-Hoell, Nils. The Pentecostal Movement:  Its Origin, Development, and Distinctive Character. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1964.

Bloesch, Donald G.  "The Charismatic Revival: A Theological Critique," Religion in Life, 35 (Summer 1966), 364-80.

Bright, William.  "The Christian and the Holy Spirit" and "Ye Shall Receive Power" in Ten Basic Steps toward Christian Maturity; Step Eight; Los Angeles: Campus Crusade for Christ, n.d.

Christenson, Laurence, Speaking in Tongues and Its Significance for the Church. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship, Inc., 1968.

Flew, R. Newton.  The Idea of Perfection in Christian Theology; An Historical Study of the Christian Ideal for the Present Life.  London: Humphrey Milford: Oxford University Press, 1934 - now in 2nd edition.

Gerlach, Luther P., and Virginia H. Hine.  "Five Factors Crucial to the Growth of a Modern Religious Movement," JSSR, 7 (Spring 1968), 23-40.

Hills, James W. L.  "The New Pentecostalism: Its Pioneers and Promoters," Eternity 14 (July 1963), 17-18.

Hodges, Melvin L.  "A Pentecostal’s View of Mission Strategy," IRM, 57 (July 1968), 304-10.

Horn, William M.  "Speaking in Tongues: A Retrospective Appraisal," Lutheran Quarterly, 17 (Nov 1965), 316-29.

James, William.  The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. "Gifford Lectures, 1901-02." 2d ed. London: Longmans, Green, 1907.

Jennings, George J.  "An Ethnological Study of Glossolalia," Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, 20 (March 1968), 5-16.

Johnson, Charles A.  The Frontier Camp Meeting: Religion's Harvest Time. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1955.

Kolarz, Walter. Religion in the Soviet Union. London: Macmillan, 1961.

Lindstrom, Harald. Wesley and Sanctification; .A Study in the Doctrine of Salvation. Stockholm: Nya Bokforlags Aktiebolaget, 1946.

McDonnell, Kilian, O.S.B. "Catholic Pentecostalism: Problems in Evaluation," Dialog, 9 (Winter 1970), 35-54.

________. "The Ideology of Pentecostal Conversion," JEcSt, 5 (Winter 1968) 105-6.

Mead, Sidney E.  "Denominationalism: The Shape of Protestantism in America," Church History, 23 (Dec 1954), 291-320.

Murray, Andrew.  The Spirit of Christ; Thoughts on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Believer and the Church.  NY: A.D.F. Randolph, 1888.

Nida, Eugene. The Indigenous Churches.  J.TI Latin America.  NY: The Committee on Cooperation in Latin America, Division of Foreign Missons, NCCC in USA, 1960.

Parkes, William.  "Pentecostalism: Its Historical Background and Recent Trends," London Quarterly and Holborn Review, 191 (April 1966), 141 -53.

Pettit, Norman.  The Heart Prepared; Grace and Conversion in Puritan Spiritual Life. Yale Publications in American Studies, 11; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966.

Rose, Delbert R. .A Theology of Christian Experience; Interpreting the Historic Wesleyan Message. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship, Inc., 1965.

 

B.  Understanding of the NT Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

 

Aland, Kurt. Did the Early Church Baptize Infants? Tr. Beasley-Murray.  The Library of History and Doctrine." Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963.

Allen, Roland.  Pentecost and the World: The Revelation of the Holy Spirit in the ‘Acts of the Apostles’. London: Oxford University Press, 1917.

Beare, Frank W.  "Speaking with Tongues: A Critical Survey of the New Testament Evidence," JBL, 83 (Sept 1964), 229-46.

Beasley-Murray, G.R. "The Holy Spirit, Baptism, and the Body of Christ," Review and Expositor, 63 (Spring 1966), 177-85.

Brown, Raymond E., S.S.  "The Paraclete in the Fourth Gospel" NTSt, 13 (Jan 1967), 113-32.

Cullmann, Oscar. Baptism in the NT. Studies in Biblical Theology, London: SCM,1961.

Gundry, R. H.  '"Ecstatic Utterances (NEB)," JTS, N.S., 17 (Oct 1966), 299-307.

Hull, J.D.H. The Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles. London: Lutterworth, 1967.

Jonas, Hans. The Gnostic Religion; The Message of the Alien God and the Beginnings of Christianity. Boston: Beacon, 1957.

Rung, Hans, S.J.  "The Charismatic Structure of the Church," The Church and Ecumenism.  "Concilium: Theology in the Age of Renewal," 4: "Ecumenical Theology." NY: Paulist Press, 1965, pp. 41-61.

Sherrill, John L. They Speak With Other Tongues. Westwood, NJ:  Revel, 1964.

Sleeper, C. Freeman.  "Pentecost and Resurrection," JBL, 86 (Dec 1965), 389-99.

Smalley, Stephen S.  "Spiritual Gifts and I Corinthians 12-16," JBL, 87 (Dec 1968), 427-33.

Sweet, J.P.M. "A Sign for Unbelievers: Paul's Attitude to Glossolalia," NTSt 13 (April 1967), 240-57.

Wilson, Jack H.  "The Corinthians Who Say There Is No Resurrection of the Dead." ZNW, 59 (1968), 90-107.

Wilson, R. McL. The Gnostic Problem: A Study of the Relation between Hellenistic Judaism and the Gnostic Heresy. Latorjjpn: A. R. Mowbray, 1958.

Windisch, Hans. The Spirit-Paraclete in the Fourth Gospel. Tr. James W. Cox. "Facet Books," Biblical Series, 20; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1968.