1. Who is the Holy Spirit?
I think many Christians do not know who the Holy Spirit is. Often He is described as the unknown God. But the Bible’s view of the Holy Spirit is that He is the unseen but real person, presence, power and activity of God.
In the Synoptic Gospels the Holy Spirit was active at the birth of Jesus and his anointment by God during his baptism (Mt 3:16, Mk 1:8, Lk 3:16). The Synoptics also articulate that Jesus is the source of the work of the Holy Spirit for he …baptises in the Holy Spirit and with fire… (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16). In the Gospel of John the Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete (or Comforter, Counsellor, Helper, the Spirit of truth; Jh 15:26). In Acts (2:4, 38) the baptism with the Spirit was an act of God who empowered the disciples and early Church and was accompanied by both unusual visible and audible phenomena. Paul articulates the Holy Spirit as the divine energy or dynamic of the new life whose Head is the living Christ (1 Rm 15:13; Eph 5:18; 1 Th 1:5). Paul helped to personalise men’s thinking about the conception of the Spirit. In Revelation the Holy Spirit is called Seven Spirits or the Seven Eyes of God (Rv 1:4, 3:1, 4:5, 5:6). The number seven is a symbolic indication of the plenitude of the Holy Spirit. The Seven Eyes of God are symbolic of the Spirit as the eyes of God. He sees the entire cosmos. Nothing escapes him. He is the Spirit of perception (the Deus praesens). He is also identified with the eyes of every individual believer (5:6). Through the Spirit, John is able to perceive the need in the seven congregations.
“A man with an experience is not at the mercy of an argument.”
gave the following presentation at Auckland Park Theological Seminary during the one-day seminar on the Holy Spirit on the 18th of October 2016.
The heading: The Law of God and the Fruit of the Spirit might seem to be an unusual combination, because when the Law is discussed, it is usually done opposed to grace and not in connection with the Fruit of the Spirit.
However, the connection between the Law of God and the Fruit of the Spirit is actually something very real in the Bible. But before discussing this connection, the meaning of the concepts “Law of God” and “the Fruit of the Spirit” should be clarified.
As far as the Law of God is concerned, also called the torah of God in the Old Testament and later translated in the New Testament with nomos, we refer to the will of God. For the Jews torah was seen as the direction in which God’s finger points. In other words, torah is an expression of the will of God for man. Therefore, it stands to reason that the Law of God can never be seen as something that has fallen away or having been abolished. The will of God cannot be dealt with like that!
The subject of the spirit world is awfully overlooked in Christian theology. What contributed to this theological omission was largely due to the Enlightenment presuppositions which essentially denied the existence of the spirit world. This caused early missionaries to simply fail to see a natural consequence of the primal worldview which allows for the interrelationship between the natural world and that of spirits and gods or simply between the material and the spiritual worlds. This secular or non super-naturalistic worldview tends to exclude such a relationship, so it questions the whole concept or phenomenon of spirit possession. Witchcraft and sorcery are explained and analysed in psychological, medical and non-religious terms.
Baptism should be understood in terms of Christ – in Him we find the truth of every Biblical doctrine. To understand the sacrament of baptism, one should therefore start with how Christ was baptized, and what He has said in this regard.
The Bible refers to two events where Christ was baptized, and we are going to discuss both events in order to give us clarity concerning the sacrament of baptism.
Prof WJ Hattingh gave the following presentation at Auckland Park Theological Seminary during the one-day seminar on the Holy Spirit on the 18th of October 2016.
This presentation will unfold as follows:
- Secondly, I will give a Biblical alternative of the Holy Spirit and His work, with examples from the Old Testament.
- I will discuss an important Hermeneutic key to guide our understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit.
- We will especially give attention to Jesus’ visit to His disciples during the night after His resurrection and His command to them a few days before His ascension.
- In conclusion, I will present three truths we cannot disregard.
Do you sometimes feel as if God isn’t interested in you? Do you experience times in your life when you face a situation of hopelessness and despair? You pray, but God doesn’t answer; your circumstances stay the same; you feel that you have come to the end of your tether. Facing darkness and despair is part of our lives. The question before us is how do we continue to live the life of faith in the midst of darkness and despair? Let us look at Psalm 88 as an answer to this question.
Psalm 88 has been called “an embarrassment to conventional faith”. What we hear in the psalm is a voice of despair, fear, and hopelessness, crying out to a silent and absent God. It is little wonder that Psalm 88 is often regarded as one of the darkest corners of the Psalter. The psalm is the desperate cry of someone who seeks to connect with God, but the sound of God’s silence explodes in his ears. The psalmist finds himself in the deepest darkness of abandonment and despair. Yet, his unanswered cry does not silence the poet. God may stay quiet, but not the psalmist. He continues to hurl his cries into an empty sky, convinced that even in the face of God’s inattention, He must still be addressed. Even when confronted with the reality of death, the poet sticks to his protest, to be met yet again with more silence. God doesn’t speak, and He doesn’t act. The poet is ignored, snubbed, shunned, and rejected. The last word he speaks is darkness. His life of faith has ended in darkness. Nothing has changed, nothing has been resolved, and life has been denied.
Introducing the Small Group Leader Certificate
The Small Group Leader Certificate is a vocational certificate that was especially created to equip leaders of small groups or cell groups.
The programme has been designed to sharpen you Biblical knowledge of both the Old and the New Testament. ATS has a specific view of how to understand and work with the Bible (hermeneutic principle) and this is especially helpful with regard to the Old Testament (in the past Pentecostal and Charismatic people often shied away from the Old Testament). The programme also gives guidance on specific skills such as preaching and pastoral care, and it provides responsible answers to critical faith issues and Christian ethics.
As a native pastor in Sesheke, a small border town in Western Zambia, David was troubled by the desperate situation of his community.
Sesheke is one of the biggest timber revenue collection areas in Zambia and at the same time remains one of the poorest districts in the country. When he became the chairperson of the pastors fellowship in Sesheke in 2007 they implemented a development program with the aim of transforming the community. After a few years and having to face many challenges David was compelled to ask himself the question “how effective is the Church at its transformational task”? And secondly, “how can the church become more effective”?
In his honest search for answers he was faced with the resounding conclusion from the community that “the church had failed in its transformational task”.
A sermon by John G. Lake in 1921.
Listen to the sermon (32 min, 43Mb) - read by Stephen Bankart.
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is the greatest event in Christian history. Greater than the Crucifixion, of greater import than the Resurrection, greater than the Ascension, greater than the glorification. It was the end and finality of Crucifixion and Resurrection, Ascension and glorification.
If Jesus Christ had been crucified, and there had been no resurrection, His death would have been without avail, in so far as the salvation of mankind is concerned. Or if He had risen from the grave in resurrection, and failed to reach the throne of God, and receive from the Father the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the purpose for which He died, and for which He arose, would have been missed.
There will always be doubt
Doubt was and will always be one of life’s challenges. Our world has never been without the temptation to doubt.
In the beginning, we find the snake’s question to Eve: “Did God really tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden” (Gen 3:1). This question was intended to suggest something along the lines of: “Is God really so nasty in that He does not allow you to eat the fruit from all the trees?” With this question the Devil created the perception that God is not good and sowed doubt in her heart.
The Devil even approached Jesus to plant a seed of doubt when he tempted Him: “If you are God’s Son, order these stones to turn into bread.” After having spent forty days and nights in the desert without food, the Devil tempted a fragile and hungry Jesus with doubt. It was a temptation to go for a shortcut and to tempt God to prove his care for his Son and his Son’s mission.
The world has never been without doubt: doubt in God’s goodness, love and His involvement in this disastrous world and in our own endangered personal lives. People usually ask many “why” questions when things go wrong and events happen which is seemingly against the belief in an almighty and loving God.