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Title:Scholars on the Personality of the Holy Spirit
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Quotes by Scholars Anti-Trinitarians will misquote scholars so frequently, that they effectively projecting the false idea that these scholars actually reject that the Bible teaches the personality of the Holy Spirit and the trinity!

The personality of the Holy Spirit is a knock out against all anti-Trinitarians and automatically proves that the trinity doctrine of three persons in the one Godhead is true!

Discussion:

Deceptive Quoting only a Partial etymological definition of "spirit":

There are no places in the Bible where the Holy Spirit is called an "it" or a "thing".

When Jehovah's Witnesses tell you the word spirit, as used in the Bible, means wind or breath, tell them they are full of hot air!

The scriptures use the word "spirit" in a wide a range of meaning from "wind" to "intelligent personal beings" including: Man, Devil, demons, angels, the Holy Spirit and even God the Father Himself!

The word spirit means breath in some places, but not always. The Holy Spirit is associated with God's power, but is often attributed clear personality in both the Old and New Testament.

To prove the Holy Spirit is not a person, Jehovah's Witnesses and all Anti-Trinitarians deal with the subject of spirit by picking one of many definitions from a Greek dictionary while ignoring the rest. Then they say, "See spirit is nothing more than wind, the Holy Spirit is not a person." Using their same logic, that makes angels, the devil and demons even God Himself nothing more than hot air or some nebulous non-personal energy force.

They likewise "prove" man has no conscious existence after death, by quoting a tiny section of a Greek dictionary that states, "spirit means wind, breath" then they proceed to ignore the rest of what the dictionary says and dishonestly apply this single definition to every passage that says man has a spirit that consciously survives dead.

But in utter hypocrisy they then add another definition found in the same dictionary when they refer to God the Father's spirit, namely: intelligent conscious life and being. (God is a Spirit = God is a breath, doesn't work) Jw's are hot air not God!

The Watchtower booklet, "Should you believe in the trinity?", said of Mt 28:19: "Do those verses say that God, Christ, and the holy spirit constitute a Trinitarian Godhead, that the three are equal in substance, power, and eternity? No, they do not, no more than listing three people, such as Tom, Dick, and Harry, means that they are three in one". Virtually every Trinitarian would agree with this for it is absolutely true! The deception is that listing three people, such as Tom, Dick, and Harry, doesn't tell us anything about them being three in one but it always tells us they are people and not things! So no, Mt 28:19 doesn't tell us how three are one God, but it does clearly attribute personality to the Holy Spirit. Game over! They are proven wrong! Trinity is true! (Unless they are willing to say that Tom, Dick are persons and Harry is electricity!)

Quotes by scholars on the personality of the Holy Spirit:

If the New Testament writers nowhere explicitly call the Holy Spirit God and do not explicitly ascribe to Him the divine functions of creation, salvation and judgment, still they do at times put the Holy Spirit on the same divine level as the Father and the Son, and ascribe to Him the divine functions of vivification, justification, and sanctification. (The Triune God, Edmund Fortman)

The Spirit of God.-On the whole, the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the Spirit as a divine energy or power particularly in the heart of man. ... This divine Spirit is clearly distinguished from the Spirit or conscience of man (Rom. viii 16), and the authority of the Spirit is identified with that of God Himself (Mt. xii. 31 ; Acts v. 3, 9 ; I Cor. U 16 ; but of. Exod. xvi 8 ; 1 Thess. iv. 8). But is a personal existence clearly attributed to the Spirit? No doubt, all through the N.T. his action is described as personal. He speaks (Mk. xiii 11 ; Acts viii. 29), bears witness (Rom. viii. 16; 1 Jn. v. 6), searches (I Cor. ii. 10), decides (Acts xv. 28), helps and intercedes (Rom. viii. 26), apportions the gifts of grace (1 Cor. xii. 11). Most of these places furnish no cogent proof of personality. ... In the fourth Gospel, however, this personal existence is stated more fully and plainly ... I will ask the Father and He will give you another advocate, that Her may be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth. I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you " (v. 16-18). "Advocate " is the same name given in 1 Jn- to Christ Himself, our advocate with the Father, and in each case the name is a personal one. ... Trinitarian formulae occur throughout the N.T. books. ... The persons of the Trinity are further mentioned together by St. Paul (2 Cor. 13:13) and by St. Peter (I Ep. i. 1-2). Considering the strict Monotheism of the NT.,-such language implies the divinity, as well as the personality, of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and they are sufficient warrant for refusing to believe that N.T. writers did not know the doctrine, because they did not, like St. John, state it explicitly. ... The true divinity of the third Person was asserted at a Council of Alexandria in 362, by two. synods at Rome under Pope Damasus, and finally by the Council of Constantinople of 381, in a decree accepted by the whole Church. (A Catholic Dictionary, William E. Addis & Thomas Arnold, 1960, p 822-830)

Although this spirit is often described in personal terms, it seems quite clear that the [Old Testament] sacred writers never conceived or presented this spirit as a distinct person. ... Perhaps it can be said that some of these writings about word and wisdom and spirit did provide a climate in which plurality within the Godhead was conceivable to Jews. However, these writers definitely do give us the words that the New Testament uses to express the trinity of persons, Father, Son, Word, Wisdom, Spirit. And their way of understanding these words helps us to see how the revelation of God in the New Testament goes beyond the revelation of God in the Old Testament. (The Triune God, Edmund Fortman, p8-9)

Besides these passages there are many others in the Gospels which refer to one or other of the Three Persons in particular, and clearly express the separate - personality and Divinity of each. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912, Vol. 15, p 47-49)

In certain texts the coordination of Father, Son, and Spirit leaves no possible doubt as to the meaning of the writer. Thus in II Cor, xiii, 13, St. Paul writes: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God and the communication of the Holy Ghost be with you all." Here the construction shows that the Apostle is speaking of three distinct Persons. Moreover, since the names God and Holy Ghost are alike Divine names, it follows that Jesus Christ is also regarded as a Divine Person. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912, Vol. 15, p 47-49)

In regard to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the passages which can be cited from the Synoptists as attesting His distinct personality are few. ... But in Luke, 12:12 "The Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same our what you must say" (Matt. 10:20, and Luke, 24:49), His personality is clearly implied.(The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912, Vol. 15, p 47-49)

It is evident that, were the Spirit not a Person, Christ could not have spoken of His presence with the Apostles as comparable to His own presence with them (xiv, 16, 17). Again, were He not a Divine Person it could not have been expedient for the Apostles that Christ should leave them, and the Paraclete take His place (xvi, 7). (The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912, Vol. 15, p 47-49)

It is incredible that the phrase "in the name" should be here employed, were not all the Persons mentioned equally Divine. More over, the use of the singular, "name", and not the plural, shows that these Three Persons are that One Omnipotent God in whom the Apostles believed. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912, Vol. 15, p 47-49)

Ruah can exhibit a range of meaning. The "breath" of God may be a strong wind (Isa 40:7; 59:19; cf. Num 11:31). His "spirit" may indicate no more than active power or mood Isa 40:13, "Who hath directed the spirit [intention] of the Lord?" or, "who has known the mind [intention] of the Lord," SO Lxx and I Cor 2:16). At most points, however, context approves and the analogy of the NT strongly suggests that the ruah YHWH is the Holy Spirit, "in the fullest Christian sense" (Theological Workbook of the Old Testament, R. Laird Harris, Vol 2, page 836-7)

The apostolic conception of the Holy Ghost and of His relation to the Father and the Son is clear from Acts. Peter, in explaining the phenomenon of Pentecost, represents it as the activity of the Trinity. 'This Jesus ... being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear' (Acts ii. 32, 33). It is not too much to say that the apostolic Church was built upon faith in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. (New Bible Dictionary, J. D. Douglas & F. F. Bruce, Trinity, p 1298)

The doctrine as to the Holy Spirit is equally clear. That His distinct personality was fully recognized is shown by many passages. Thus He reveals His commands to the Church's ministers: " As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting the Holy Ghost said to them: Separate me Saul and Barnabas" (Acts, xiii, 2). He directs the missionary journey of the Apostles: "They attempt to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not" (Acts, xvi, 7; of. Acts, v, 3; xv, 28; Rom., xv, 30). Divine attributes are affirmed of Him. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912, Vol. 15, p 47-49)

The Holy Spirit is usually presented in the Synoptics and in Acts as a divine force or power. But in a few passages the sacred writers leave a vivid impression that for them He was someone distinct from both Father and Son with a distinct personal existence. In both Synoptics and Acts there are traces of the triadic pattern of Father. Son, and Holy Spirit. The clearest expression of this pattern is found in the baptismal formula where Matthew presents the three together as at once a triad and a unity. But nowhere do we find any trinitarian doctrine of three distinct subjects of divine life and activity in the same Godhead. And when the three are coordinated on the same divine level in a triadic pattern there seems to be no realization of the problem of the relationship between the three and of the three to the same Godhead. In both the Synoptics and Acts there is a realization that Jesus' tremendous works-His salvific death, resurrection, and exaltation -indicate that He was and always had been more than a mere man and that only divine titles could properly describe Him. But is there in them, any clear indication that a community in divine function meant a community of nature between Father and Son, so that they could say explicitly that Jesus is one same God with the Father? It seems not. (The Triune God, Edmund Fortman, p15)

The Semi-Arians, who thought it enough to admit the Son's likeness to the Father, but would not allow the second Person to be equal to or consubstantial with the first, were driven by the force of logic, to make the Holy Ghost a creature. (A Catholic Dictionary, William E. Addis & Thomas Arnold, 1960, p 822-830)

The Spirit of God as a Person. Although the NT concepts of the spirit of God are largely a continuation of those of the OT, in the NT there is a gradual revelation that the Spirit of God's a Person. In the Synoptic Gospels. The majority of NT texts reveal God's spirit as something, not someone; this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God. ... The only passage in the Synoptic Gospels that clearly speaks of the person of the Holy Spirit is the Trinitarian formula in Mt 28.19. ... The statement in Acts 15.28, "the Holy Spirit and we have decided," alone seems to imply full personality. ... However, the Trinitarian formulas employed by St. Paul (e.g., 2 Cor 13.13), indicate a real personality. ... So clearly does St. John see in the Spirit a person who takes Christ's place in the Church, that he uses a masculine pronoun (Greek) in reference to the Spirit even though [spirit] is neuter in gender ( 16.8, 13-16). Consequently, it is evident that St. John thought of the Holy Spirit as a Person, who is distinct from the Father and the Son, and who, with the glorified Son and the Father, is present and active in the faithful (14.16; 15.26; 16.7). (New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1965, Spirit of God, Vol 13, p574-576)

The spirit of Yahweh was often described in personal terms. The spirit was grieved, guided men, instructed them, caused them to rest (Ps 143.10; Neh 9.20; Is 63.10, 14). But it seems quite clear that the Jews never regarded the spirit as a person; nor is there any solid evidence that any Old Testament writer held this view. A few scholars today maintain, however, that even though the spirit is usually presented as an impersonal divine force, there is an under-lying assumption that the spirit was a conscious agent, which 'provided a climate in which plurality within the Godhead was conceivable." (The Triune God, Edmund Fortman, p6)

The supernatural appearance at the baptism of Christ is often cited as an explicit revelation of Trinitarian doctrine, given at the very commencement of the Ministry. This, it seems to us, is a mistake. The Evangelists it is true, see in it a manifestation of the Three Divine Persons. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912, Vol. 15, p 47-49)

This article treats the spirit of God as it is presented in the OT and Judaism, and in the NT. Consideration is given in each of these sections to the spirit of God as a power and as a Person. ... In other OT passages, God's spirit is conceived more as a teacher or guide-the source of all intellectual and spiritual gifts-than as an efficacious force [Ps 142(143).10; Neh 9.20; Dn 5.15]. God's Spirit Not Presented as a Person. The OT clearly does not envisage God's spirit as a person, neither in the strictly philosophical sense, nor in the Semitic sense. God's spirit is simply God's power. If it is sometimes represented as being distinct from God, it is because the breath of Yahweh acts exteriorly (Is 48.16; 63.11; 32.15). Very rarely do the OT writers attribute to God's spirit emotions or intellectual activity (Is 63.10; Wis 1.3-7). ... As a result of the teaching of Christ, the definite personality of the Third Person of the Trinity is clear. However, in most cases, the phrase "spirit of God" reflects the OT notion of "the power of God." ... The Spirit of God as a Person. Although the NT concepts of the spirit of God are largely a continuation of those of the OT, in the NT there is a gradual revelation that the Spirit of God's a Person. In the Synoptic Gospels. The majority of NT texts reveal God's spirit as something, not someone; this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God. ... The only passage in the Synoptic Gospels that clearly speaks of the person of the Holy Spirit is the Trinitarian formula in Mt 28.19. ... The statement in Acts 15.28, "the Holy Spirit and we have decided," alone seems to imply full personality. ... However, the Trinitarian formulas employed by St. Paul (e.g., 2 Cor 13.13), indicate a real personality. ... So clearly does St. John see in the Spirit a person who takes Christ's place in the Church, that he uses a masculine pronoun (Greek) in reference to the Spirit even though [spirit] is neuter in gender ( 16.8, 13-16). Consequently, it is evident that St. John thought of the Holy Spirit as a Person, who is distinct from the Father and the Son, and who, with the glorified Son and the Father, is present and active in the faithful (14.16; 15.26; 16.7). (New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1965, Spirit of God, Vol 13, p574-576)

We have in these chapters the necessary preparation for the baptismal commission. In them the Apostles are instructed not only as to the personality of the Spirit, but as to His office towards the church. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912, Vol. 15, p 47-49)

"Yet, as compared with their thought about the Logos, the Apologists appear to have been extremely vague as to the exact status and role of the Spirit. His essential function in their eyes would seem to have been the inspiration of the prophets. Developing this, Justin interprets Is. 11, 2 ('The Spirit of God shall rest upon him') as indicating that with the coming of Christ prophecy would cease among the Jews; henceforth the Spirit would be Christ's Spirit, and would bestow His gifts and graces upon Christians. Hence it is He Who is the source of the illumination which makes Christianity the supreme philosophy., There are passages, however, where he attributes the inspiration of the prophets to the Logos; and Theophilus, too, suggests that it was the Logos Who, being divine spirit, illuminated their minds. There can be no doubt that the Apologists' thought was highly confused; they were very far from having worked the threefold pattern of the Church's faith into a coherent scheme. In this connection it is noteworthy that Justin did not assign the Holy Spirit any role in the incarnation. Like other pre-Nicene fathers, he understood the divine Spirit and 'power of the Most High' mentioned in Luke 1, 3 5, not as the Holy Spirit, but as the Logos, Whom he envisaged as entering the womb of the Blessed Virgin and acting as the agent of His own incarnation. In spite of incoherencies, however, the lineaments of a Trinitarian doctrine are clearly discernible in the Apologists. The Spirit was for them the Spirit of God; like the Word, He shared the divine nature, being (in Athenagoras's words) an 'effluence' from the Deity. Although much of Justin's language about Him has a sub-personal ring, it becomes more personal when he speaks of 'the prophetic Spirit'; and there is no escaping the personal implications contained in his pleas that Plato borrowed his conception of a third One from Moses, and that the pagan custom of erecting statues of Kore at springs was inspired by the Scriptural picture of the Spirit moving upon the waters. As regards the relation of the Three, there is little to be gleaned from Justin beyond his statement that Christians venerate Christ and the Spirit in the second and the third ranks respectively. Athenagoras echoes this idea when he inveighs [a verbal attack] against labeling as atheists 'men who acknowledge God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit, and declare both Their power in union and Their distinction in order'. This order, however, was not intended to suggest degrees of subordination within the Godhead; it belonged to the Triad as manifested in creation and revelation." (Early Christian Doctrines, J.N.D. Kelly, p 102)

The apostolic conception of the Holy Ghost and of His relation to the Father and the Son is clear from Acts. Peter, in explaining the phenomenon of Pentecost, represents it as the activity of the Trinity. 'This Jesus ... being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear' (Acts ii. 32, 33). It is not too much to say that the apostolic Church was built upon faith in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. (New Bible Dictionary, J. D. Douglas & F. F. Bruce, Trinity, p 1298)

Compiled by Steve Rudd

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