In the last two articles we’ve been examining the teachings of a small influential cult called the Christadelphians. The Christadelphians deny the personhood of the Holy Spirit and believe He’s not distinct from the Father. Let’s dive into this one and see if that’s what the Bible teaches? If you’ve missed the last post you can view it here: Christadelphians “Doctrines to be Rejected” 2
We reject the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is a person distinct from the Father.
Other non-Trinitarian cults agree with the Christadelphians on the
personhood of the Holy Spirit, calling Him an “it” and would say the Holy Spirit is “God’s active force” sort of like an electrical current or invisible power.
In the word of God we can gather that the Holy Spirit possesses all the traits and attributes of Personhood, He has a will, a mind, He speaks; and feels just like you and I. If these are not the characteristics of a person then I’m not sure what is?
I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter
The Lord Jesus told His disciples that He must go away, if not then the Holy Spirit wouldn’t come. The Holy Spirit was sent into the world by the Lord Jesus and the Father (John 14:16), just the same as Christ was sent into the world also by the Father (John 10:36, John 3:17, John 17:18). Only a person could be sent into the world, not a force or idea. In this article it’s my task to present to you the Personhood of the Holy Spirit.
The wonderful truth is we can only fellowship with a person, therefore, how important is it to the believer to recognise the Personhood of the Holy Spirit? There are no disagreements as to the Father and the Son (Jesus Christ) being distinct persons, so is the One who lives in believers is a person as well.
He possesses all components of personhood as you and I. Non-Christian cults such as the Christadelphians would refer to the Holy Spirit as an “it.” Confusion from text such as Romans 8:16 reads “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit” this can cause some to think the Holy Spirit is an “it” instead of a person.
This difficulty comes with the English translation. Do not be mistaken Christ refers to the Holy Spirit multiple times as being a “He.” In John chapters 14-16 the Holy Spirit is referenced as “He”, “Him.”
John 14:17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Note these 3 scriptures of many shows forth the characteristics of a person. The Lord Jesus says in John 14:17 the Holy Spirit is called “Him” and we can “know Him” but the world “cannot receive or see Him”, but believers can because “He” will dwell in us.
Christ continues in John 15:26 saying “when the Comforter is come” only a person can “come” only a person can “send” another person. And the verse says the Holy Spirit will “testify of me” that’s of Christ Jesus. Then in John 16:13 “the Spirit of truth” is called “He” and will “guide” believers into all truth. He “speaks” and “hears” lastly He will show believers things to come. Look at all the personal pronouns just in 3 verses.
The Holy Spirit also possesses all the categories of personality that is intelligence, emotion and will. 3 more scriptures which come to mind in regards to these categories are:
Intelligence gives a person the ability to think, know and understand things. This is shown in the book of Romans chapter 8 in which apostle Paul explains to believers the Spirit has a mind of His own “the mind of the Spirit” (Romans 8:27). The verse before tells is the Spirit “maketh intercession” (Romans 8:26) for believers only a person who has consciousness can perform such an act.
Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God.
Emotion is the capacity to feel whether those feelings are sadness, joy or anger; these are only displayed from a person. We find in the book of Ephesians the Holy Spirit can be grieved. The definition of “grieved” is (1) to cause to suffer distress (2) to feel or show grief over (3) to submit a formal grievance concerning. Believers are told “grieve not the Holy Spirit” or don’t cause distress to the Holy Spirit.
The biblical definition of grieve:
λυπέω lypéō, loo-peh’-o; from G3077; to distress; reflexively or passively, to be sad:—cause grief, grieve, be in heaviness, (be) sorrow(-ful), be (make) sorry.
Outline of Biblical Usage
I. to make sorrowful
II. to affect with sadness, cause grief, to throw into sorrow
III. to grieve, offend
IV. to make one uneasy, cause him a scruple
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
How can an impersonal force be caused grief or sorrow? It can’t, it’s just not possible for electricity or wind to be grieved or have emotions. The Christadelphians like other cults that deny the Trinity fail to understand the Personhood of the Holy Spirit. We agree the Father and Son are persons but when it comes to the Holy Spirit they fail to see these scriptural truths.
Will is the ability to make choices, in the book of Acts we’re given insight as the Holy Spirit gave direction to Paul and Barnabas asking for them to separate which was accompanied with speech.
Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
It’s simple to see the Holy Spirit possesses the same characteristics of personhood we do (intellegence, emotion, will), the Holy Spirit is called “He” and “Him” and is able to think, feel and make decisions. If this doesn’t constitute Personhood then what does? In our future article we’ll answer the question does man have an immortal soul.