CG7: Holy Spirit Confusion


In the latest issue of its The Bible Advocate, CG7-Denver has the following:

Is the Holy Spirit, then, a third person of the Godhead, as the Father and Son are persons? There is no simple  answer nor complex formula by which the Christian Deity may be fully analyzed and finally summarized…

Since the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in most apostolic salutations, benedictions, or doxologies (as are the Father and Son); since the Spirit is not pictured as enthroned or reigning in heaven (as are Father and Son); since the Holy Spirit is not recorded as being worshiped or as being addressed in prayers (as are Father and Son); and since the Holy Spirit participates in no “I-Thou” communications with Father or Son as they do with each other; thus it is better to think of the Spirit as the personal presence of the Father and Son on earth and within believers, rather than as a third person of the Godhead.

CG7’s position seems, at best, to be lukewarm combined with some real heresy.

All honest scholars will admit that the earliest records of Greco-Roman and Church of God writers do not record that the Holy Spirit was the third person of a trinity.  It was apparently not until the latter part of the fourth century that the majority of Greco-Roman bishops even believed that either.

And it essentially took the Council of Constantinople in 381 to declare that the Holy Spirit was the third person of a trinity, and this had to be enforced with an Imperial Roman decree.  Notice the following from one of Emperor Theodosius’ edicts:

 …let us believe in the one deity of the father, Son and Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since in out judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that the shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of divine condemnation an the second the punishment of out authority, in accordance with the will of heaven shall decide to inflict…(Theodosian Code XVI.1.2.  From Medieval Sourcebook: Banning of Other Religions. viewed 7/28/08)

If early Christians believed that the Bible and the original Apostles taught that the Holy Spirit was the third person of a trinity, it would not have taken about three centuries for this belief to have to be officially declared.

The truth is that it was not until the third and fourth centuries that the trinitarian view of the Holy Spirit more fully developed–and it seems that it was a couple of universally recognized heretics in the second century who introduced it to the Greco-Roman professors of Christ, yet those heretics (Montanus and Valentinus) were fairly quickly denounced by Church of God leaders that the Greco-Romans consider to be saints.

The Eastern Orthodox know this as one of their bishops has written:

…the councils defined once and for all the Church’s teaching upon the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith — the Trinity and the Incarnation. All Christians agree in regarding these things as ‘mysteries’ which lie beyond human understanding and language…the first two, held in the fourth century…formulated the doctrine of the Trinity…The work of Nicea was taken up by the second Ecumenical Council, held in Constantinople in 381. This council expanded and adapted the Nicene Creed, developing in particular that teaching upon the Holy Spirit, whom it affirmed to be God even as the Father and the Son are God…It was the supreme achievement of St. Athanasius of Alexandria to draw out the full implications of the key word in the Nicene Creed: homoousios, one in essence or substance, consubstantial. Complementary to his work was that of the three Cappadocian Fathers, Saints…(died 394). While Athanasius emphasized the unity of God — Father and Son are one in essence (ousia) – the Cappadocians stressed God’s threeness: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons (hypostasis).  Ware T. The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books, London, 1997, pp. 20-23

And the Cathecism of the Catholic Church admits:

245 The apostolic faith concerning the Spirit was announced by the second ecumenical council at Constantinople (381) (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 72).

The belief that the Holy Spirit is the third person of a trinity is a tradition that developed after all the apostles died.  And it is not a biblical one.  Calling it the “apostolic faith” when none of the original apostles or their faithful followers actually taught it is improper as it was a late innovation that did not get formal Greco-Roman acceptance until 381.

CG7 should have been more direct on that point–this is another area that it seems to be risking losing more of the truth that it once had (cf. Revelation 3:1-3).

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
What is the Holy Spirit? An article by Rod Reynolds that was published in the Living Church News.
Valentinus: The Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic He apparently was the first Christ-professing heretic to come up with the idea of three hypostases.
Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace their history through this group. Whaid Rose is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?

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