This course on pneumatology is a complex and comprehensive examination of the part of Christian theology aimed at the study of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Holy Trinity, just as important, equal, and eternal as Father and Son. The Holy Spirit is as much an individual entity as He is fully God. The perspective on the Holy Spirit in the church’s history is contentious as certain philosophies, such as modalism, view the Holy Trinity as separate entities and forms in which God manifests. Each person in the Trinity is fully God, but at the same time, unique in their characteristics in action and creation. The Spirit has a personality, knowledge, feelings, and will, and He can communicate if choosing to. This course covered the multiple manifestations of the Spirit and its acts. The Scripture teaches that the Spirit’s role is to represent God’s active presence in creation, let it be through a burning bush, a dove, water, and wind (Baker, 2021). However, He played a critical role in the vital theological events described in the scriptures ranging from Creation to the incarnation of Christ to bless the apostles.
While the Spirit may not actively show Himself currently as in the Bible, His presence is still accounted for and felt in the physical world. Many aspects and works of the Church work through the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, each individual connects with the Spirit based on their own inner spiritual state, presence of spiritual gifts, and role. He surrounds us, empowers us, fuels faith, and from time to time, demonstrates miracles. The Spirit acts within and through us, and He provides individuals with gifts to act on His behalf for be the betterment of the communion in communities.
Part of Study
The part of pneumatology that continues to amaze me is the perspective of the Holy Spirit as a person. In the Scriptures, particularly the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to the Spirit as almost a friend, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me” (John 15:26). Many, including those who are very faithful and regular churchgoers, likely perceive the Spirit as an impersonal force that is at the command of God and Jesus, while in reality, He is a sentient entity, with personal qualities and functions (Taylor, 2013).
The best means of explanation for the Holy Spirit is that He is God himself (since they are one but not the same) working in the world of man for His own purposes. Since God is omniscient, and Jesus is gone until the Second Coming, the Holy Spirit is the representation of the Holy Trinity, which has committed Himself to the presence on earth. Therefore, I think this aspect that the Holy Spirit is sentient with its own will, emotions, functions, and personality strikes out at me the most due to the combination that He is also an inherent part of the Holy Trinity and, thereof, God. As a result, logically, when being touched by the Spirit or connecting with Him, I am interacting with God, and this connection fundamentally excites and terrifies me simultaneously.
Struggling to Connect
Many people struggle to connect with God and fellowshipping with the Spirit. This is especially relevant in modern society, where faith has seemingly been replaced by other aspects, some would say, becoming a godless society. I believe as a Minister, one has to realize two things. First, it is important to have empathy, from one faithful to the other; just because someone is struggling with fellowship with the Spirit does not make them any less Christian or unworthy of His grace. Second is the realization that the connection to God is a journey. In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar demonstrates this path to salvation, first being far removed from God, even if recognizing Him. However, Daniel, having empathy for the king’s fate, served him, despite all the evils he has committed, and pushed him to the connection necessary, until God demonstrated Nebuchadnezzar that He exists and made the king self-aware (Dixon, 2019). Certain actions and traits contribute to the fellowship and hearing God, such as consistent prayer, patience, humility, and gratitude, among others. As a minister, I would empathetically nudge the faithful towards being self-aware and recognizing what individual barriers or flaws may be preventing them from hearing God and attempt to reconcile this.
Spending Time with the Holy Spirit
As in supplement to this course, I have dedicated a significant amount of time to Scripture recently and reflecting on the nature of the Holy Spirit. It is often not an academic or philosophical exercise as much as a personal attempt to fellowship with the Spirit and understand His nature. I think I learnt that He is truly like an individual, fickle in the terms that He can appear in many forms, present Himself in ways one would never expect, and come at times that are sometimes unexpected. It shows as much in the Scriptures as the Spirit takes on many forms and domains, but notably, all His actions and decisions are for the good of humanity and the faith. The Spirit is omnipotent but empathetic. I believe that is what makes Him accessible to every one of the faithful, and He can push both individuals and the Church as an organization to grow closer to God in many ways.
The gift of visions are private experience rather than some particular ability to prophesize or see what has not occurred. I can say that in certain dreams, it does feel as if I have been touched by the Spirit, as I dream reliving some of the moments that I have read in the Scriptures or visualize an abstract reality as if my soul was disconnected from the body. Nevertheless, I believe that I have some spiritual gifts which I have and plan on using in ministry and as a member of the Church. I believe I hold the gift of leadership, which highlights individuals that can lead the Church in a way that directs the organization with the necessary care and attention while also offering the motivation needed to fulfill the Church’s goals (Unfolding Truth, 2018). I also feel as if I have the gift of teaching, as I want to bring faith to those who seek it, educate people about the Scriptures, and overall nurture knowledge and understanding in them regarding the deep love of God. Combined, these are the gifts that I believe I have, and it is my calling to use them for the benefit of the Church in my ministry and life dedication as a Christian.
Baker, S. (2021). What is pneumatology and why do we study the Holy Spirit? Web.
Dixon, C. (2019). Helping people connect with God in an increasingly godless society. Web.
Taylor, J. (2013). How do we know the Holy Spirit is a person? Web.
Unfolding Truth. (2018). Your spiritual gifts – how to identify and effectively use them. Web.