Holy Spirit Who?
Even with the proliferation of the charismatic and pentecostal Christian movements, there is plenty of ignorance and uncertainty amongst most of the Christians I know about who is the Holy Spirit and what kind of work he does.
I distinctly remember many times while in high school praying very earnestly that the Holy Spirit would come into my life. But I never knew if the prayer was answered. So the prayers became less earnest and uttered less often. I may have heard many clear and compelling sermons about the Holy Spirit, but my dense head didn't make sense of it. Even now I feel confused about the identity and role of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity and amongst the Church.
Today I scanned through the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, looking for mention of the Holy Spirit to provide clues to his work and purpose. I also scanned through Romans 8, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians to get clues from St. Paul on his articulation of the Holy Spirit. Finally I did a concordance search for the Holy Spirit and Spirit in the whole Scriptures; Holy Spirit shows up over 100 times, and Spirit over 400 times - I've not yet scanned through those verses yet.
Some observations already: the Holy Spirit of the Gospels and Acts comes across different in Paul's epistles. The first four chapters of Luke are full of activity by the Holy Spirit; Elizabeth, Mary, John the Baptist and Jesus are all filled with the Holy Spirit in a way that is not the same as being saved; their being filled is an issue of power/ability; energy/capacity; life. The Holy Spirit of Acts comes across as a source of power for service within believers, and as a sign of salvation. Paul writes about the Holy Spirit in a variety of ways, usually focusing on his work in us to produce moral purity and ethical righteousness.
My friend Donnie Gentry urged me to pick up some books by R.A. Torrey on the Holy Spirit. I finally received them in the email the other day and have greatly benefited from them. He writes in a clear and straightforward manner, as one who has real experiences with the Holy Spirit. I am looking forward to learning more about the Holy Spirit from what is revealed in Scriptures and what other wise believers have experienced in the past.
I'm not trying to decide whether to be charismatic, pentecostal or dispensational in my view of the Holy Spirit; I just want to come to a clear understanding of who he is and in what way am I to be obedient to him. My gut sense is that the vibrancy and dynamism of Anchor is deeply connected to our understanding and obedience to the Holy Spirit. And considering Anchor is in a refocusing phase, I want to make sure that out of all the things we focus on, the Holy Spirit is in the center.