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The Spirit's Importance (Doctrine of the Spirit, part 4)

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This post continues a series presenting "The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit" by Dr. Gary Deddo, President of Grace Communion Seminary. For other posts in the series, click a number: 12, 3.

Why is it important to say anything about the Holy Spirit beyond simply acknowledging the Spirit? First, because a disconnection between the divine Persons can develop in our understandings of the triune God. In some churches this happens with an almost exclusive emphasis on the Father. Others restrict their focus to the Son, and still others put the spotlight on the Holy Spirit. Though these approaches to God are fragmented, God is not.

A poor understanding of God's actual nature trips us up in our faith and in our lived relationship to God. Therefore, our goal is to have our understanding of God be faithful to and coherent with the reality of who God is in the fullness of all three divine Persons. This is important because we recognize and interact with things better when we ha…

Who is the Spirit? (Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, part 3)

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This post continues a series presenting "The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit" by Dr. Gary Deddo, President of Grace Communion Seminary. For other posts in the series, click a number: 124.

You have probably heard the triune God referred to as one in three and three in one. Though not incorrect, this statement is easily misunderstood. Why? Because it can sound as if we're saying that God is both three and one of the exact same thing. But that makes no sense. God is not one being and three beings; nor is God one person and three persons. To avoid misunderstandings, it's better to say that the triune God is one in being and three in divine Persons. Let's explore what this means as we continue this series on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. 

Fundamental to the discipline of theology is making sure we don’t talk about God as if God was a creature. This way of disciplining our thinking takes some time and effort to ca…

Triune Relations (Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, part 2)

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This post continues a series presenting "The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit," an essay by Dr. Gary Deddo, President of Grace Communion Seminary. For other parts, click a number: 1,3, 4.

Last time, we noted that every act of God, whether in creation, redemption or bringing about the perfection of creation itself, is done together as one God. But how then are we to understand those places in Scripture that ascribe certain acts of God to one of the divine Persons? Take, for example, the Incarnation. The Father and the Spirit are never said to be incarnate, as is the Son. Note also that the Spirit seems to descend on Pentecost and indwell the believing church in a way distinct from the Son and the Father. The explanation in these two and similar examples is that all three of the divine Persons are involved together in all the acts of God, but often in different (distinct, unique) ways.

How are the divine Persons distinct? Scripture leads us to understand that each of the divi…

Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, part 1 (key concepts)

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This post begins a series presenting "The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit," an essay by Dr. Gary Deddo, President of Grace Communion Seminary. For other parts, click a number: 2, 3, 4.

Seeking to understand and know the Holy Spirit is a wonderful, rewarding endeavor. It ties in with every aspect of the Christian faith and life. But if ever there was a topic we are likely never to get to the bottom of, this one would qualify. The very name of this Divine Person, the Holy Spirit, already tells us that we’re in pretty deep. But we do have a good amount of insight given to us by biblical revelation that can inform our understanding and help us stay away from pure speculation. God has seen fit to reveal himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and has provided and preserved teaching about the Holy Spirit. Because he wants us to know, trust and worship him, we by faith can dare to pursue understanding on that basis. But we proceed only by God’s grace.


In this essay we will t…

Thoughts for Ascension Sunday

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Some mistakenly view salvation as an external, legal transaction. In doing so, they fail to appreciate the full depth, mystery, beauty and glory of all that Jesus is (in his being as the God-man), and all he has and will yet do for our salvation. In Communion with the Triune God, Dick Eugenio helps us understand the full scope of the doctrine of salvation (soteriology) by reviewing what Thomas F. (T.F.) Torrance taught on the topic. Eugenio notes that T.F. was critical of transactional, truncated views of salvation that tend to give priority (or even sole place) to the cross. According to T.F., when it comes to salvation, there is much more to understand than what occurred on Good Friday, as important and central to salvation as that was. For T.F., the biblical account of salvation leads us to view the cross as one part of a larger, integrated whole, though T.F. does emphasize that the cross has a unique, central and distinct significance that other redemptive experiences of Jesus do…

A theological ethic, part 5 (conclusion)

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This is the fifth and concluding post in a series adapted from "What is a Theological Ethic?" a lecture by GCS President Dr. Gary Deddo.For other posts in the series, click a number: 123, 4.

Last time we saw that our calling as followers of Jesus is first to worship God (and no other), then out of that relationship of worship (loving God), to love our neighbors (sharing in God's love for them). By worshiping only God, we avoid a form of idolatry that is common in our day -- the collapsing of the first Great Commandment (to love God) into the second (to love neighbor). Let's look further at how a theological ethic protects us from this idolatry. We begin with Jesus' example. Jesus' example of sacrificial giving Throughout his life on earth, Jesus showed perfect love by sacrificially giving of himself. He first gave himself in faithful, even joyful obedience to his Father. Then, as part of his worship of the Father, Jesus gave sacrificially of himself to us.…