The Holy Spirit so inheres in his truth, which he expresses in Scripture, that only when its proper reverence and dignity are given to the Word does the Holy Spirit show forth his power…. For by a kind of mutual bond the Lord has joined together the certainty of his Word and of his Spirit so that the perfect religion of the Word may abide in our minds when the Spirit, who causes us to contemplate God’s face, shines; and that we in turn may embrace the Spirit with no fear of being deceived when we recognize him in his own image, namely, in the Word. So indeed it is. God did not bring forth his Word among men for the sake of a momentary display, intending at the coming of his Spirit to abolish it. Rather, he sent down the same Spirit by whose power he had dispensed the Word, to complete his work by the efficacious confirmation of the Word.

John Calvin

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Institutes, 1.9.3


There is certainly biblical precedent for thinking of the gospel as having a power of its own – an innate power inherent to its message. Paul spoke of it as “the power of God unto salvation.” The Book of Acts refers to the Word “increasing and multiplying.” So there is nothing unbiblical about using “gospel” in a way that gives the good news a personification.

But let’s make sure we don’t get carried away with our lingo to the point that we give short shrift to the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

If we only think of power as flowing from the gospel (which is a message), we might unintentionally communicate that we are changed by knowledge of a message and not by personal acquaintance with the Messenger.

Is it possible that we are using “gospel reflection” language as buzz words that reduce the Christian life to continual reflection on a set of propositional truths instead of the dynamic Word that brings us into relationship with Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit?

Good article making a great point:

Article summary:

Evangelicals love to speak in theological shorthand. We employ phrases and terms that become popular, become a badge of identification, and over time get emptied of their meaning.

Read article

It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others. My chat this afternoon is not for these great originals, but for you who are content to learn of holy men, taught of God, and mighty in the Scriptures. It has been the fashion of late years to speak against the use of commentaries… . A respectable acquaintance with the opinions of the giants of the past, might have saved many an erratic thinker from wild interpretations and outrageous inferences.

C.H. Spurgeon, quoted by David Murray as he offers 20 brief counsels on the use of Bible commentaries.



Ian Hamilton (Cambridge Presbyterian Church) vs Wayne Grudem (Phoenix Seminary, Arizona) on “Prophecy in the church today. Or not.”

Prophecy in the church today. Or not.

This video is now almost a couple of years old, but a repost is worthwhile. It is from the 2010 EMA and is a discussion on prophecy in the local church between Ian Hamilton (Cambridge Presbyterian Church) and Wayne Grudem (Phoenix Seminary, Arizona). Not only is the topic worthy of some discussion, but I think the whole thing is conducted in a strong positive spirit; which is just how it should be. Lasts for over an hour, so make a coffee first. 

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