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Friday, August 15, 2014

 

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[CONTENTS] | [CHAPTER 8] | [SUMMARY]

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The Holy Spirit
And the Holy Spirit Gifts
By
Graham Pearce

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CHAPTER NINE

APPENDIX: Consistent Christadelphian Teaching


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In this chapter we quote from the writings of others to illustrate that the exposition of this book is consistent with the teaching of the Brotherhood since the revival of the Truth by Brother Thomas.

The Apostasy Unveiled

Our first extract is taken from The Apostasy Unveiled, being the record of a debate between Brother Thomas and Clergyman Watt.

Concerning the Holy Spirit, Brother Thomas affirmed:

 

"For myself, I believe that the Holy Spirit is the only Authoritative, infallible, efficient, and sufficient teacher of the Christian religion, in all its parts. If I be asked, what is the manner in which he teaches this religion, I reply in the same way that all teachers convey instruction to their pupils; by words, either spoken or written. Hence, it is by the sacred Scriptures that he convinces men of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come in these times, and indeed, in all the times subsequent to the apostolic age. God is simple in all His plans. He never appears to use

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intricate means, when the end to be effected can be produced by simple ones. Simplicity is the characteristic of all that He performs. He rules the heavens, He regulates the seasons, and He saves men upon few, but powerful principles. If one means is able to make men wise, we need not expect to find any other institution than that one to effect the same end. Now Paul says that the sacred Scriptures are able to make us wise to salvation, by the faith (or gospel) which is through Jesus Christ. What more do we want than wisdom in relation to this matter? If the sacred Scriptures are able to make us wise, we need no other instrumentality. The Holy Spirit by the word, without infusing a single idea into it more than it actually and ordinarily contains, and without any collateral influence, teaches us all wisdom and knowledge that is necessary; It instructs man concerning his origin, his constitution, his sinful state, and how he may, though mortal, absolutely and unqualifiedly mortal, yet attain to life and incorruptibility; it informs him concerning the attributes of God, the creation, and the destiny of the earth and the race by which it is inhabited. Why, then, my friends, can we not be content with the means within the grasp of everyone who owns the volume of inspiration? If the ecclesiastical world were content to learn the truth from 'the Bible alone,' and it honestly desired to obey the Messiah, there would soon be an end to Presbyterian and every other ism, by which 'Christendom' as it is called, or 'anti-Christendom,' as it should be termed, has been for ages desolated. But the world loves not the truth; because, therefore, they have "not embraced the love of the truth that they might be saved, God has sent them strong delusion that they might believe a lie; that all might be condemned who have not obeyed the truth." The sacred Scriptures are not a dead letter, as the clergy teach you; they are 'living and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword:' this is Paul's testimony, and ought, therefore, to be received as true by all believers."

Clerical Theology Unscriptural

This booklet, written by Brother Thomas records an imaginary discourse between Heresian (an enquirer after truth) and Boanerges (who answers his questions). They discuss various subjects then current in religious circles, including the remission of sins, repentance, eternal life, the kingdom of God, and the renewing influence of the "Holy Spirit." Relating to the latter subject, the conversation is as follows:

HERESIAN: Do I then understand you to say, that the Baptismal Regeneration of infants grew out of the engrafting of the Nicolaitan doctrine upon the doctrine of the apostles?

BOANERGES: Even so. The Nicolaitanes, of whom were

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Hymeneus and Philetus, engrafted the heathen speculation of immortal soulism upon the doctrine of Christ; and then taught the regeneration of the pagan "soul" by a physical operation of the Holy Spirit upon it. In this way was substituted by men of corrupt minds like "the Fathers," a physical spiritual agency for an intellectual and moral agency upon the heart in the regeneration of individuals.

HERESIAN: But the apostle saith, we are saved by "the renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Tit. 3:5).

BOANERGES: He also says, "we are renewed by knowledge" (Col. 3:10). In this, however, he does not contradict himself, but rather makes the one phrase explanatory of the other; as if he had said, "we are renewed by the Holy Spirit through knowledge. "The Holy Spirit re or regenerates man intellectually and morally by the truth believed. "Sanctify them by thy truth," says Jesus, "thy word, 0 Father, is truth" (John 17:17). "Ye are clean," said he to his apostles, "through the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3). God's power is manifested through means. His Spirit is His power by which He effects intellectual, moral and physical results. When He wills to produce intellectual and moral effects, it is by knowledge revealed by His Spirit through the prophets and apostles. This knowledge becomes power when received into "good and honest hearts;" and because God is the author of it, it is styled "the Knowledge of God" (2 Pet. 1:2), or "the word of truth" (James 1:18), by which He begets sinners to Himself as His sons and daughters. "The word of the truth of the gospel," "the gospel of the kingdom," "the incorruptible seed," "the word," "the truth" "the truth as it is in Jesus," "the word of the kingdom," "the word of reconciliation," "the law and the testimony ," "the word of faith," "the sword of the spirit which is the word of God," "the word of Christ," "the perfection of liberty," etc. -- are all phrases richly expressive of "the power of God" by which He saves His people from their sins, and translates them into the Hope of the kingdom and glory to which He invites them. The truth is the power that makes men free indeed (John 8:32,36). Hence Jesus says, "My words are spirit, and they are life." The prophets, Jesus, and the apostles were the channels through which it was transmitted to mankind; and the spirit the agent by which the knowledge was conveyed to them. Hence, the knowledge or the truth being suggested to the prophets by the spirit is sometimes styled "the spirit" (Rom. 2:29). The spirit is to the truth as cause and effect; and by a very common figure of speech, the one is put for the other in speaking of them relatively to the mind and heart of man. So that the phrase "renewed by the holy spirit" is equivalent to renewed by the belief of the truth testified by the Holy Spirit (John 15:26; 14:13-14).

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HERESIAN: In that case babes and ignorant men and women are not the subjects of a renewal by the spirit?

BOANERGES: Babes are out of the question. God's institution is not a baby-religion. It has to do with men of good and honest hearts capable of reasoning', and of examining and believing testimony: and who can be operated upon by high intellectual and moral considerations. A baby-religion is a thing for clergymen to trifle with when they play at hocus-pocus with the ignorant. Babes without sense, and a gaping multitude without knowledge of the word, are the subjects of the pranks they perform in the name of God before high heaven which make the angels grieve. Their power is maintained by keeping the people in ignorance of the truth. They profess to desire the enlightenment of mankind; but however sincere their professions may be, their own minds are so dark that they are unable to give them light, and those that are able they hinder. The clergy and their flocks are all walking in "the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts" (Eph. 4:18). The consequences of ignorance are fatal. An ignorant man cannot be saved in his ignorance of the gospel of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus; because it alienates him from God's life, which is obtainable only through a possession of that kingdom. The spirit re an ignorant man by enlightening him. When such an one comes to understand and believe the truth his ignorance is dispelled; the blindness of his heart is cured; and a spiritual relation established between him and God. He is then in a prepared state for salvation by the grace of God through faith (Eph. 2:8).

HERESIAN: But doth the Spirit of God exert no physical energy upon man in his regeneration?

BOANERGES: Certainly it does; but not in the renewal of his character. It will operate physically upon "the new creature in Christ Jesus," when through Jesus it raises him from the dead (2 Cor. 4:14). For the apostle saith, "If Christ be in you (dwelling in your hearts by faith) (Eph. 3:17) the body is dead in respect to sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But (though your body be dead being under sentence of death) if the spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you (by faith) He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also make alive your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Rom. 3: 10-11).

HERESIAN: Then if I understand you aright, regeneration is not an instantaneous mesmeric action upon an immortal soul: but a process beginning with the truth understood and believed and ending with the resurrection of the believer from the dead?

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BOANERGES: Precisely so. The order of the process is to hear the truth, understand the truth, believe the truth, obey the truth in baptism, walk in the truth, and inherit the truth by obtaining possession of its promises at the resurrection. When the process is completed the believer will then have been "born of water and the spirit" (John 3:5), and be a fit and proper person to inherit the kingdom preparing for such as he from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34).

Elpis Israel

In Elpis Israel pp. 51-53, under the heading: A Great Mystery, and expounding upon the statement: "We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones," Brother Thomas comments upon the binding influence of the Spirit-Word:

In writing to the disciples at Ephesus, the apostle illustrated the submission due from wives to their husbands by the obedience rendered to Christ by the community of the faithful in his day. "As the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." This, was an injunction of absolute submission to their Christian husbands as unto the Lord himself; because "the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Ecclesia." But, while he enjoins this unqualified obedience, he exhorts their husbands to return them due benevolence, not to treat them with bitterness, but to love them "even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for it." If unbelieving wives, however were disobedient and perverse, and chose to depart, "let them; a brother is not under bondage, in such cases" (1 Cor. 7:15). The love which should subsist between Christian brethren and sisters in the married state, is such as Christ manifested for the church by anticipation. "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us," says the apostle (Rom. 5:6,8). This is the greatest love a man can possibly show, that he should die for his enemies; and this is the kind of love which Paul commends to the attention of the Ephesians; though always on the supposition, that the wives "adorn the hidden man of the heart with that which is incorruptible, even a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord: whose daughters such women are, as long as they do well, and are not dismayed at any threat" (1 Peter 3:3-6).

As he had introduced the subject of matrimonial love and obedience, and had adduced the love of Christ for them all as his ecclesia, by way of illustration; he proceeds to show the object for which he loved them even unto death; the relationship which was subsequently established between them; and the

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sacrifice which they ought cheerfully to make for him, who had loved them so devotedly. His object in giving himself for the church before it was formed, was that those who should afterwards compose it "might be sanctified and cleansed in the laver of the water by the word, that," at the resurrection, "he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but holy and without blemish." "Ye are clean," said Jesus to his disciples, "through the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3). This word, which is defined to be "the law and the testimony," (Isaiah 8:20), is the great instrument of holiness and purification. It changes men's minds; loosens their attachment to earthly things; causes them to place their affection on things above; creates a new and right spirit within them; diffuses the love of God abroad in their hearts; separates them from sinners; leads them into Christ; and develops in their lives, fruit characteristic of that repentance which needs not to be repented of. The Lord Jesus styles it, "the word of the kingdom," (Matt. 13:19) and Peter, the incorruptible seed; (1 Pet. 1:23) and Paul, "the word of the truth of the gospel;" (Col. 1:5) and John, "God's seed;" (1 John 3:9) and by James it is termed, "the word of truth" (James 1:18), with which the invariable and unvacillating Father of lights begets His children, that they should be "a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." It is by this word that an individual is renewed or renovated; so as, in an intellectual and moral sense, to become a "new man," as appears from what the apostle says to the brethren at Colosse: "Ye have put on the new man, which is renewed unto knowledge (Col. 3:10) after the image of him that created him." This renewing affects the spirit of the mind (Eph. 4:23-24), which may be known to be renovated by a man having turned from his natural subserviency to "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life," to "righteousness and true holiness." When the mental disposition, called "the heart," is renewed, it becomes a mirror, as it were in which one skilled in the word of the kingdom, can discern the spirit, or behold a reflection of the Divine Nature. This image of God in a man's character can only be created by the word of the truth of the gospel of the kingdom. A man may be very "pious" according to the standard of piety set up and approved by his fellow men; but, if he be ignorant of the renewing elements, -- if he neither know nor understand, and consequently, and necessarily, be faithless of the law and testimony of God, "there is no light in him." He is walking in a vain show; "in the vanity of his mind, having his understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in him, because of the blindness of his heart" (verse 18). The law and the testimony are styled by Peter, God s knowledge;" whereby are given unto us exceeding great

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and precious promises, that BY THESE," i e., by the understanding and belief of these, "ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Pet. 1:2-4). Now, the "testimony of God" came by the Holy Spirit, by which God testified in His prophets; (Neh. 9:30) and, in the last days, spoke through His Son (Heb. 1:1-2; John 3:34; 5:47; 6:63; 7:16; 12:48-49) and the apostles (Matt. 10:19-20). Hence, the effects of the word believed are attributed to the spirit; and because the word sets men to breathing in God's moral atmosphere, it is termed "spirit and life." These remarks will explain the saying of the apostle to Titus, "According to his mercy God saved us through the laver of regeneration, and renewal of the Holy Spirit" (Tit. 3:5). This is parallel to the saying, "Sanctified and cleansed in the laver of the water by the word," for the reader must not suppose, that any man, woman, or child, who is ignorant of the word, can be regenerated, or born again, by being plunged into a bath. The Holy Spirit does not renew the heart of man as he re the mortal body, when through Jesus he raises it from the dead. In this case, the power is purely physical. But, when the heart is the subject of renewal it is by the knowledge of the written testimony of God, or the word. "God," says Peter, speaking of the Gentile believers, "purified their hearts by faith;" (Acts 15:9) and Paul prays, "That Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith" (Eph. 3:17). Now, faith comes by hearing the word of God; (Rom, 10:17) in other words, it is the belief of God's testimony concerning things to come, which are not seen; (Heb. 11:1) and without which, it is impossible to please Him (verse 6). When a man is renewed by the truth, he is renewed by the spirit, and not before. There is no such thing in the scriptures as a renewed ignorant man. Ignorance of the testimony of God, and regeneration, are utterly incompatible. The truth is the purifier to those only who understand and obey it; (1 Pet. 1:22) and there is no moral purity, or sanctification of spirit before God, without it. It is only believers of the truth, then, who can be the subjects of a regeneration by being submerged "in the laver of the water." When they come out of this, they have been "washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, by the spirit of God" (1 Cor. 6: 11).

The truth to be believed is the gospel of the kingdom and name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12). When this is understood, and heartily received, it produces a disposition of mind, such as was in Abraham and Jesus, and which is called repentance. Believers, so disposed, are the begotten of God, and have become as little children. They believe "the exceeding great and precious promises," together with the things testified concerning

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the sufferings and resurrection of Jesus. He fell into a deep sleep; and, while thus unconscious and insensible, his side was opened by a spear, and forthwith rushed blood and water. Being awakened out of his sleep, he was built up a spiritual body, flesh and bones; and, by his ascension, presented to the Father as the federal representative of his church. This is the aggregate of those, who, believing these things, have been introduced into Christ through the laver of the water; according to the saying of the scriptures, "Ye are all the children of God in Christ Jesus through the faith. For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" . . . . "Ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and HEIRS according to the promise" (Gal. 3:26-29). A community of such individuals as these constitutes the mystical body of Christ.

Exposition Of Acts 19

On 7th September, 1869, Brother Thomas delivered a public address in Stoke, England, based upon Acts 19. The following quotations comprise the relevant portions of the address. His rendition of Acts 19:2 is supported by the Revised Version which renders the answer of the disciples as: "We did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given." Brother Thomas expressed himself as follows:

" 'Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed?' You will observe that Paul did not say, 'Did ye receive the Holy Spirit to enable you to believe?' If Paul had been indoctrinated with popular theology about the Spirit he would have asked them, 'Did ye receive the Holy Spirit to enable you to believe?' because the theory is that we have to receive something called 'the Holy Spirit' or 'grace' in order to enable you to believe. But the apostle says, 'Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed?' showing that they believed, and that men are capable of the belief of the truth without being endued with something they call "Holy Spirit," apart from the Word. If we understand what John says, that "the Spirit is the truth," why then it is manifest that no one could believe the truth without the truth, and in that sense, of course, no one could believe the truth without the Spirit; but that is not what is commonly meant. The truth is contained in the Word of God -- in the writings of Moses, the prophets, the Psalms, the discourses of Jesus, and the discourses and writings of the apostles, for, as Jesus said, "My words, they are Spirit and they are life." So that when we understand things right in relation to a man's intellect, that the Spirit in relation to it is the truth, of course, reason teaches us we must receive the truth before we can believe the truth. But in the days of the apostles, with the exception of the Day of Pentecost and the transaction that occurred in the house of Cornelius, the

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Spirit was not imparted to men to enable them to believe, or before they believed.

"We are told in John 7:37, 'In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink; he that believeth on me out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.' Then John says, 'But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive, for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, besides that, Jesus was not yet glorified.' So that you see that all that believed the truth before the glorification of Jesus, believed that truth without having any abstract physical spiritual operation upon their minds or their hearts to enable them to believe. The Holy Spirit was given to those that believed, those who obeyed the gospel, and therefore Peter, when he addressed the Sanhedrin, told them they were witnesses of the truth; "and so," said he, "is the Holy Spirit that is given to all them that obey Jesus. " Thus the Spirit is given to the obedient, not to enable them to believe, but because they had believed and obeyed the truth; and it was not given till Jesus was glorified. So that they believed the truth because of the evidence that was submitted to their understandings, and it was that that convinced them of the truth, The Power of faith is in the evidence credibly reported. If it is not credibly reported, of course it is not reliable. But, being satisfied of the reporters, that they were honest and true, then faith rests upon the testimony of credible witnesses. And the power of faith is in the testimony. We cannot will to believe one thing or another. Faith is not at the disposal of the human will. if a man is arraigned for any offence at the bar of justice, the jury, if they are honest and true, cannot will to believe that that man is guilty or that he is innocent. They are obliged to suspend their judgment till the evidence is adduced, and then, according to the evidence, so is the conviction in their minds; and, according to the conviction wrought in their minds by the evidence, if they are honest and true, they give their judgment. It is so in relation to things religious, and it is in relation to things intellectual, in reference to any branch of human knowledge. The power of faith is in the testimony. So that where there is no testimony there is no faith. And as popular preaching does not, as a rule, submit the testimony of God -- which is greater than the testimony of men -- for examination, therefore the thing that is in the world called faith, is not faith; it is mere credulity. There is nothing so scarce as faith; it is much scarcer than diamonds. The faith, then, that saves a man, results from the power of testimony on his understanding and affections.

"Then the apostle says unto them, 'Have ye received the

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Holy Spirit since ye believed?' And they said unto him, 'We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit.' Now, that is a very incorrect rendering, because the question Paul asked them was not whether they knew of, or believed in, the existence of a Holy Spirit, but whether they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed. Their answer was a direct answer to Paul's question; and it ought to be rendered -- 'We have not so much heard as whether the Holy Spirit is received.' That surprised Paul that they should be believers, and not know that the Spirit was received by believers. He says to them, 'Unto' (or into) 'what, then, were ye baptised?' This surprised him; he could not imagine what had been the subject matter of their belief; and it is manifest that he knew they were baptised on some basis; and he asks them, 'Into what then were ye baptised?' It struck him forcibly that they could not have been baptised into the Christian baptism, and yet be ignorant that the Holy Spirit was received by believers. Therefore, in astonishment, he asks them, 'Into what then were ye baptised' (or immersed)? And they said, 'Unto' (or into) 'John's baptism.' Well, this solved the whole mystery -- Paul saw what was the reason of their not knowing that the Holy Spirit was received. Then said Paul, 'John verily baptised' (the word 'with' is inserted here in the common version). 'John verily baptised the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe.' -- Here the word in the original is the same as that in the 3rd verse, rendered 'unto' -- 'That they should believe on (or into) him that should come after him;' then Paul adds 'That is, into Christ Jesus.' 'When they heard this they were baptised.' Here the same word is used in the original, and is here rendered 'in.' 'There were baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus.' Now, John had said, 'I baptise you with water unto repentance' -- 'I baptise you in water in the baptism of repentance, 'but he that cometh after me is mightier than I -- he shall baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.' You will observe then that there are three baptisms alluded to here. First, John's baptism; secondly, the baptism of the Holy Spirit; and thirdly, the baptism of fire. The baptism of John was a baptism based upon the belief that the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One was about to make his appearance. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon those who believed in Jesus as the Christ that had already come. And the baptism of fire was that outpouring of the indignation of Yahweh on the Jewish State which destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple, and broke up the whole Jewish fabric of society; that age, in fact, which had waxed old and was caused to vanish away. It is that that Peter speaks of in 2 Peter 3, a baptism of fire which came on the whole heavens and earth and dissolved them. So that there

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were these three baptisms. But in relation to us, and in relation to the name of Jesus Christ, whereby we obtain remission of sins, there is one baptism, and that one baptism into the name of Jesus is neither a baptism of spirit nor fire, for the spirit is not now poured out. The baptism of fire has been developed in relation to the Jewish State; but the fiery baptism which will wind up the times of the Gentiles, when they come to an end, that is yet future. But in the intermediate period between the apostolic age and the coming of Christ in power and glory there is but one baptism, and that is the immersion of a believer 'in the things of the Redemption and the name of Jesus Christ,' into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. John therefore baptised with water into the baptism of repentance, the basis of which was that, as the result of the doctrine which John preached, men were brought to change their minds. As the result of that doctrine which John preached, announcing that the Kingdom of God or the Messiah was about to appear, it separated his hearers from the traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees, created in them an expectation of the coming of Christ, not knowing what person it was that would make his appearance and put in his claim; and as the result of their belief of John's doctrine, it revived in their hearts a disposition similar to that disposition which obtained in the hearts of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- the disposition of the fathers -- the mode of thinking that was developed in those ancient worthies, when God made promise to them of things which were the most improbable and impossible ever to be accomplished, judging by things then existing in the world.

Thus John's preaching was designed to develop the mode of thinking of the fathers, and the disposition of the fathers, that the company of persons to whom John preached should be like so many living Abrahams, that the Messiah might come to those who were comparable to the great friend of God, the father of the faithful. John came before Christ "to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17). Now, how could John turn the hearts of the fathers to their posterity who were living when John preached? Luke did not say so. What he said should be rendered -- "To revive the hearts or the dispositions of the fathers in the children," that is, those contemporary with John, "and to bring the disobedient to the just person's mode of thinking, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." So that there should be a people who reflected the faith or disposition of Abraham. And just the same operation is going on in these times, John worked no miracles. The proclamation of the coming of the Kingdom was all the power he had to develop a people for the Messiah. So in our day we

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have no power to work miracles; all the power we have with which to operate on our contemporaries, is the Word of God. And, while this work is going on, the Lord will come as a thief to those who do not know anything about these things; but not as a thief to those who have been studying the things which I have laid before you tonight."

R. Roberts On The Operations Of The Spirit

In answer to a correspondent,The Christadelphian 1892, p. 133, Brother Roberts wrote: "The difference between the gifts of the Spirit vouchsafed in the apostolic age, and the strength and guidance that God may now grant in response to faith and prayer, is the difference between what God may enable a man to do, and what God does Himself. A man who had the gift of healing could exercise that gift by his own volition, just as he can raise his arm or use his voice. It was not God's volition every time he exercised the gift, though it required God's volition to bestow it. This is shewn by the disorderly use of the gifts rebuked by Paul, coupled with the remark that God was not the author of this disorder, and that the gifts were subject to their possession (1 Cor. 14:32-33). But when God directs our steps or imparts strength for an emergency, the act is His own. It is outside our will or knowledge. We know not when it is put forth. Therefore we must not presume upon it. We have to commit our way to Him in modesty. Not being able to trace Him, we simply trust Him in the spirit that is prepared, like Job himself, to take even death at His hands. It is no doubt as you say, concerning Phil. 4:13; Psalm 138:3, that the assurance of the help of God to His children is as available today as much as at any time. At the same time, it would be a misleading description to call this a work of the Spirit. Truly God works by the Spirit; but the danger of confounding the mere motions of the flesh with the Spirit is so great, that it is best to limit that description to what we can undoubtedly recognise and identify as such.

C. C. Walker On The Holy Spirit

In answer to a correspondent in The Christadelphian, for 1931 (p. 358), Brother Walker wrote: "It is beyond question that we have the Spirit of God in the sense of being sustained in life by his almighty power. This was Paul's emphatic testimony to the Greeks: "In him we live and move and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring" (Acts 17:28). See also the following testimonies (Job 33:4; Psalm 149:2-12). But when we speak of having "the Holy Spirit" we introduce quite another sense, namely that of inspiration. The prophets

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were "moved by the Holy Spirit," and spoke and wrote things of God which even they themselves "understood not." We do not so, and cannot do so. Samson rent a lion as he would have rent a kid (Judges 14:6). If the Spirit of the Lord "came mightily upon us" as it did upon him, we could do the like; but who would have faith enough in his claims to try the experiment? Men have so much of the Holy Spirit in them as they have of the Word of God in their understandings and affections. To that extent they are "not in the flesh, but in the Spirit" as Paul testifies to the Romans (8:9). He is speaking here not of "the power of the Highest," as the angel Gabriel put it to Mary (Luke 1:35), but of the mind and disposition of God in Christ. For he adds, Ye are "in the Spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his." Even bad men, like Balaam and Saul, have been ,'moved by the Holy Spirit." But what did that profit them? What is the use of making impossible professions? When you see people claiming the possession of the Holy Spirit, and not speaking as the oracles of God, and utterly unable to produce the slightest credentials of being "sent of God," what can you conclude but that they are labouring under a "strong delusion?"

Conclusion

Let us not be motivated by any such "strong delusion" in these closing days of the Gentiles. Soon, at the coming of the Lord, the greatest outpouring of Holy Spirit will be manifested in the resurrection and glorification of saints who have revealed "the fruits of the spirit" (Gal. 6) in developing a righteous character through the motivation of that Word which the Lord described as being "spirit and life."

CONTENTS | SUMMARY

 


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