Posts Tagged ‘Pneumatology; Holy Spirit; Creeds; Third Article; Athanasian Creed; Apostle’s Creed; Nicene Creed; Karkainnen; Blindside’

We Believe in the Holy Spirit too; a creedal look at the Third Article

April 16, 2013

We believe in the Holy Spirit

Too

except nobody knows it yet:

a creedal look at Pneumatology

 

 “Everyone believes in god,

But it seems like no one does in You

But I do

And I’m not ashamed…

 Beautiful Spirit!

Talk to me!

Holy Spirit!

Walk with me!”

 Nerve  —  Blindside

 

        I did my undergraduate studies at a Pentecostal university in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A century old and steeped in the tradition of studying the Holy Spirit, the school’s curriculum surrounded pneumatology in every subject area. The classes ranged from studies in the book of Acts and Systematic classes focusing on pneumatology.

     With all of the classes centered around and interwoven with studies on the Holy Spirit, many of my classmates varied in backgrounds from unchurched to Lutheran to those who grew up in the Pentecostal church. From many of my classmates from the varying backgrounds, I heard scores of comments about the idea that only the Pentecostal church is the only group of people that believes in the Holy Spirit.

     We were taught that the Holy Spirit was the Cinderella of theology. While the other two Persons of the Trinity are thrust to the forefront of discussion and entire systematic classes are taught on them, but little is ever said about the Holy Spirit.[1] But this was not the case at my Alma Mater.

     When I heard arguments that other Christians did not believe in the Holy Spirit, I thought to myself, “we do”. And then I thought a little further on it and I calculated that we possibly believe in the Holy Spirit more than they do. It’s a bigger part of our beliefs that go into more areas than just spiritual gifts.

     I pondered this for some time. I thought about how I could prove that we believed in the Holy Spirit and to what extent. I went into a lot of thought about this.

     As I pondered, I realized how much we believe in the Holy Spirit and really excited about putting down in words, my thoughts and studies about this. But the more I pondered, the more I realized that we believe in the Holy Spirit, we just don’t know it yet.

     One third, of our creeds, deal with the Holy Spirit. I have heard some people say the third article of the creed is a lump sum of everything else that the first two articles do not cover. Without thinking about it, they recite the deep richness of the first two articles and then say oh by the way we also believe in the Holy Spirit and all these other things.

     If the third article is the sum of everything else not covered and we say, we believe in the Holy Spirit but then that’s it. The Lutheran mantra is “what does this mean?”

     Some say this means the Holy Spirit is the silent partner and it is enough to say that we believe in him. But what if the lump sum is not a lump sum? What if it is the summation of all things that are attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit just as are the words of the first two articles.

     The Creeds are our statements of faith; our statements of faith about God and the Trinity, in detail. It has been said that the Creeds are dead.

     If the Creeds are dead, then we killed them. Yet their shadow looms.

     My attempt is to at least bring to life the third article of the creed; to put flesh and bone to the shadow; a voice to the silent partner; to put the glass slipper on the third article and have a ball.

 


[1] Karkkainen, Veli-Matti Pneumatology: Baker Academics; Grand Rapids pps. 18-19, 2002

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