Now there were among the Hebrews three outstanding offices of dignity, which made the nation famous, firstly the kingship, secondly that of prophet, and lastly the high priesthood. The prophecies said that the abolition and complete destruction of all these three together would be the sign of the presence of the Christ. And that the proofs that the times had come, would lie in the ceasing of the Mosaic worship, the desolation of Jerusalem and its Temple, and the subjection of the whole Jewish race to its enemies…The holy oracles foretold that all these changes, which had not been made in the days of the prophets of old, would take place at the coming of the Christ, which I will presently shew to have been fulfilled as never before in accordance with the predictions.” (Eusebius, Demonstratio Evangelica VIII)
Posts Tagged With: charismaticism
But when at length the Wisdom of God was manifested in the flesh, he fully unfolded to us all that the human mind can comprehend, or ought to think of the heavenly Father. Now, therefore, since Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, has arisen, we have the perfect refulgence of divine truth, like the brightness of noon-day, whereas the light was previously dim. It was no ordinary blessing which the apostle intended to publish when he wrote: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1, 2); for he intimates, nay, openly declares, that God will not henceforth, as formerly, speak by this one and by that one, that he will not add prophecy to prophecy, or revelation to revelation, but has so completed all the parts of teaching in the Son, that it is to be regarded as his last and eternal testimony. For which reason, the whole period of the new dispensation, from the time when Christ appeared to us with the preaching of his Gospel, until the day of judgment, is designated by the last hour, the last times, the last days, that, contented with the perfection of Christ’s doctrine, we may learn to frame no new doctrine for ourselves, or admit any one devised by others. With good cause, therefore, the Father appointed the Son our teacher, with special prerogative, commanding that he and no human being should be heard. When he said, “Hear him” (Mt. 17:5), he commended his office to us, in few words, indeed, but words of more weight and energy than is commonly supposed, for it is just as if he had withdrawn us from all doctrines of man, and confined us to him alone, ordering us to seek the whole doctrine of salvation from him alone, to depend on him alone, and cleave to him alone; in short (as the words express), to listen only to his voice. And, indeed, what can now be expected or desired from man, when the very Word of life has appeared before us, and familiarly explained himself? Nay, every mouth should be stopped when once he has spoken, in whom, according to the pleasure of our heavenly Father, “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3), and spoken as became the Wisdom of God (which is in no part defective) and the Messiah (from whom the revelation of all things was expected) (John 4:25); in other words, has so spoken as to leave nothing to be spoken by others after him.
Jean Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV.VIII.7
In a recent post entitled, Is the Trinity Father, Son, and Holy Bible?, Seattle Pastor Mark Driscoll writes, “In Reformed churches, you won’t hear a lot about the Spirit, as they tend to attribute much of his work to the gospel and the sovereignty of God. So when lives are changed, the explanation is that what happened was because of the gospel without much reference to the Spirit’s application of it.”
Now I don’t know what experience Pastor Mark has in Reformed churches, but I would like to point out a couple things.
1. According to Reformed theology, as preached in Reformed churches, the primary means of sanctification is the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit, secretly communicating, persuading, and applying the word to believers. At our congregation, I pray every Sunday in a specific purposeful prayer before the sermon that the Holy Spirit would work in us to make us more holy through the word. This is known as the prayer of illumination, and has been a staple of Reformed worship ever since Calvin published La Forme de Prières et Chants Ecclélsiastiques, (1542) aka. the Genevan Liturgy. And when we pray for the Spirit to illuminate us, we mean it, and we expect it, as I’m sure most Reformed churches do. I usually preface it with a pithy exhortation reminding us how absolutely necessary the Spirit’s work is for us to benefit from His word. So much for not talking much about the Spirit!
2. According to Reformed believers, the Spirit’s greatest miracle is in the regeneration or New Birth of a sinner. It is His own sovereign, particular, and peculiar work from start to finish. Reformed preachers, myself included, tend to make the Spirit’s work in regeneration a specific point of emphasis. As it should be.
There, now I feel much better. Now, do you think that the Reformed tend not to emphasize the Holy Spirit?