08 (August 2013)

The Beauty & Glory of the Holy Spirit

The Beauty & Glory of the Holy Spirit
Trevor Baker Trevor works with the Albanian Evangelical Mission.
31 July, 2013 2 min read
The beauty and glory of the Holy SpiritEdited: Joel R. Beeke and Joseph A. Pipa JrReformation Heritage Books 345 pages, £6.84 Kindle edition, £16.06 hardback, ISBN: 978-1-60178-184-0

Star Rating : 3

 This is a collection of addresses given at two Presbyterian seminaries in the USA in 2011. It is inevitable that quality will be variable when a book is multi-authored. The high points are very high, but other contributions are less engaging. It is also inevitable that different authors will not see all things in exactly the same way and, therefore, there are bound to be a few contradictions.       The book comes from an exclusively Presbyterian background and those who do not share this position will not always agree with the approach taken. It is mainly written for preachers, but all Christians will gain benefit from it.       The chapter on cessationism is excellent, but would be better if 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 was cited showing the cessation of revelatory gifts linked to the final maturity of these gifts on the completion of the New Testament.       The accounts of the coming of the Holy Spirit in Samaria (Acts 8) and at Cornelius’ house (Acts 10) are better understood not as a repetition of Pentecost (Acts 2), which is unique and cannot be repeated, but as proof of the apostolic transmission of revelatory gifts, as taught by B. B. Warfield (and outlined in Colin Hamer’s recent book, Finding God’s will).      The paper on the ‘Sealing of the Holy Spirit’ is excellent and rightly sees the sealing as not a post-conversion work of the Holy Spirit, but the presence of the Spirit himself received at conversion. This refutes the teaching of Thomas Goodwin and Martyn Lloyd-Jones.      Later, the chapter on ‘Richard Sibbes on entertaining the Holy Spirit’ seems to veer in the other direction and gets close to encouraging an ‘evangelical mysticism’. There is always a danger when non-biblical words like ‘entertaining’ are used.      There also seems to be some confusion between the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and the believer’s union with Christ. Union with Christ should be understood in a federal (representative) way, as found in Romans 5:12ff where the representative headship of Adam and Christ are contrasted. Union with Christ is to do with our new status ‘in Christ’ rather than the indwelling of Christ by the Spirit.      The chapter on ‘John Owen on the Holy Spirit in relation to the Trinity, the humanity of Christ and the believer’ is magnificent. But the truly high points are the two papers by Geoff Thomas on ‘The Father’s gift of the Spirit’ and ‘The love of the Holy Spirit’.       The exegesis and structure in these are clear. They are warm, encouraging, and spiritually helpful. They are well illustrated and beautifully written. The book is worth the money for these two chapters alone.Trevor A. BakerWigan  
Trevor works with the Albanian Evangelical Mission.
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