Calvinism on the Holy Spirit

For World History shall yet become Church History.   Jesus Christ’s command to turn all nations into His Disciples (Matt. 28:18f), is certain of fulfilment.   For the kingdoms of this World shall yet become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ, and He shall keep on reigning for ever and ever (Rev. 11:15).   All nations shall come and worship before Him (Rev. 15:4).   Indeed, the whole Earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord — as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14 cf. Isaiah 11:9)!

Thus a careful comparison and contrast of the above superaddition ("ch. 34") with the many quotations from the original Westminster document cited in this present monograph, will surely demonstrate the truth of these statements.   This superaddition is in fact a supersubstraction. Indeed, the real and original Westminster Confession  needed — and still needs — no revision.

May this monograph on John Calvin's doctrine of the infilling with the Holy Spirit set hearts aflame — to the glory of our great Triune God!    May it also serve as a useful introduction to our other (more practical) monograph — Holy Spirit Harvests: Annual Revivals at ‘Pentecost Prayer Meetings’ (especially in Andrew Murray' s South Africa, at Whitsuntides, from 1860 to 1986) !

             Francis Nigel Lee.     Brisbane, Australia.     1986 (updated 2000)

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    1 B.J. van der Walt (ed.): Calvinus Reformator (Potchefstroom: University Press, 1982), pp. 207f & 215f. 2 Inst. I:13:2-6.

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The great Genevan, Rev. Prof. Dr. John Calvin — was the Theologian of the Holy Spirit.  Calvin unswervingly held that God the Holy Spirit has constantly filled the Father and the Son (within the Triune God alias the eternal Jehovah Who always was and always is and always shall be). 

The Spirit has filled the Trinity from all eternity past.   He still does so, even now.   He will also ever continue to do so — for all eternity future.   Unchang-ed-ly; unchang-ing-ly; unchang-ab-ly.

The Spirit has never absorbed — nor been absorbed by — the Father and the Son.  He never will be.   For He never could be.  Indeed, He has always proceeded from the Father and the Son.  Hence, He has therefore always filled Them (without measure).   Isa. 40:12-14; John 3:34 & 15:26; Rom. 11:33-36; I Cor. 2:10-16.

Calvin's doctrine of the Holy Spirit is very comprehensive.   See: Warfield's Calvin's Doctrine of the Trinity (1909); S. van der Linde's Calvin's Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (1943);  W. Krusche's Calvin on the Operation of the Holy Spirit (1957);  and B.J. Engelbrecht's The Personality of the Holy Spirit According to Calvin (1982).

In Dr. B.J. Engelbrecht's work on Calvin, the former writes1  about the latter's views: "All divine action is, in its deepest essence, the action of the Holy Spirit….   Without the work of the Holy Spirit, the coming of Christ and His work would have been in vain.   One could talk, in dealing with Calvin, of 'an all-encompassing working by God through the Holy Spirit.'    Omnes tamen actiones ab Eo prodeunt [= ‘all actions still proceed from Him’]….   The Father is the Source of divine action; the Son is the God’s Wisdom; and the Holy Spirit is the executive Power.  Spiritus Sanctus Manus Dei Qua Suam potentiam exercet [= ‘the Holy Spirit is the Hand of God, through Whom He exerts His power’]."

Says the great Genevan Reformer: "There is a Subsistence (or 'Hypothesis') of the Son, which distinguishes Him from the Father.   The same holds in the case of the Holy Spirit.    For we will immediately prove both that He is God, and that He has a separate subsistence from the Father….

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