A Critique of Hyper-Calvinism

Hyper-Calvinism is a multipronged error so it is necessary to address each of its false teachings individually to present a comprehensive response to it. I will be using the “ABC’s of Hyper-Calvinism” that I presented earlier as my outline.

Antinomianism

Because hyper-Calvinists do not believe that unregenerate man has the ability to do anything pleasing to God (Rom 8:7-9), they conclude that God does not hold them responsible for their sins. While they are correct that the lost cannot please God apart from the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, they are completely wrong on the relationship between ability and responsibility. I have already addressed this same objection in my response to Pelagianism. It is not true that responsibility always implies the ability to carry something out. Jesus calls us to be perfect “as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). The fact that we cannot be holy as God is holy does not negate the responsibility that we have as those created in his image (Lev 19:2). Hyper-Calvinists are therefore hesitant to preach the demands of the law to the lost. Because they believe that God does not hold the lost accountable for their sins, the basis on which they are condemned to hell is not for their sins, but for the fact that they are not among the elect. Thus, in hyper-Calvinism, the non-elect are consigned to hell for not being among the elect rather than for their sins. But in Revelation 20:12-15, we see that the dead are judged “each one of them, according to what they had done.” The sins of the damned are the basis for their condemnation as we see throughout the Bible (Eccles 12:14; Matt 12:36; 16:27; Rom 2:6; Heb 4:13; 1 Pet 4:5). Sometimes, those who do not teach the salvation of all dying infants are accused of hyper-Calvinism for this reason. While I agree that all infants dying in infancy are saved, I do not believe this is a fair argument since these people believe that the sin of Adam is the basis for their condemnation. Remember, this kind of antinomianism is one mark of hyper-Calvinism, but someone can be a hyper-Calvinist without being an antinomian in this sense. Just as there is more than one kind of hyper-Calvinism, there is more than one kind of antinomianism.

Belief is not a commanded duty; the non-elect are not responsible for their unbelief

This argument is actually a subset of the previous proposition which means every response to hyper-Calvinistic antinomianism is applicable here. Since unbelievers do not have the ability to repent and believe apart from the Holy Spirit, hyper-Calvinists argue that God will not hold them accountable for their unbelief. Rather, they are condemned for not being among the elect instead of for their unbelief. But there are numerous places in Scripture where God calls all men to repent and believe the gospel and holds them accountable for their unbelief. God says in Isaiah 45:22, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” This command is addressed not just to Israel, but to all the pagan nations around her as well. I recommend reading the sermons of Charles Spurgeon on this verse if you want to see a great example of what it looks like to invite sinners to Christ. God “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). I do not see how the many commands to repentance and faith in Scripture can be reduced to only the church or the elect. The call to believe in Jesus is a command from God as 1 John 3:23 states, “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” Paul calls faith an act of obedience (Rom 1:5).

Call of the gospel not offered to all men, but only to the “awakened”

This proposition states that God does not offer the gospel to all men, but only to those who are among the elect. Therefore, the preacher of the gospel should only offer it to those he can discern are among the elect. Sinners are only invited to turn to Christ when the evangelist believes that God is giving him evidence that this person is among the elect based on how he or she responds to the preaching. Since they believe we cannot command someone to do something they are unable to accomplish, we must wait until the Holy Spirit moves in a person before we call them to believe in Christ. We must discern that they are regenerate before inviting them to Christ since only the regenerate can believe in him. This distinctive of hyper-Calvinism makes the evangelist’s subjective discernment of the workings of the Holy Spirit the determining factor in whether a call to faith and repentance is given. While this aspect of hyper-Calvinism may seem bizarre to us today, we can accidentally sound like hyper-Calvinists in our preaching of the gospel by restricting the invitation to follow Christ to the end of the sermon rather than making the entire sermon an invitation.

We are called to invite all sinners to Christ regardless of how the Holy Spirit is working in their lives. Jesus commanded his disciples to “compel them to come in” while not denying that the lost who rejected the gospel “were invited” (Luke 14:23-24). See Charles Spurgeon’s sermon “Compel Them to Come In.” Jesus desired the salvation of the Pharisees in John 5:34 when he said, “I say these things so that you may be saved.” Jesus did not wait for the Holy Spirit to bring about change in the hearts of those who heard before preaching to them. Rather, the preaching of the gospel is the means by which the Holy Spirit works (2 Thess 2:13; Jam 1:18). The first message that Jesus preached was one of repentance (Mark 1:15). Jesus did not believe the call to repentance was inconsistent with fallen man’s enslavement to sin. We are called to be ambassadors for Christ who plead with sinners to turn from their wicked ways (2 Cor 5:19-20). The voice of the gospel is “turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die?” (Eze 33:11). Hyper-Calvinists will argue on the basis of passages like Isaiah 55:1, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters” that the call to “come” is restricted to only those who recognize their need of salvation – that they are thirsty and therefore regenerate. But the fact that the lost do not recognize their horrible condition does not change who they are. All of those who are not saved are dying of hunger and thirst (John 6:35). A man who is deluded into believing that he is immortal and has no need to eat is still starving and hungry at the end of the day. The problem with hyper-Calvinism is that it is more logical than biblical. As Spurgeon once said, “I never desired to be reputed so excessively Calvinistic as to neglect one part of Scripture in order to maintain another. If I am thought to be inconsistent with myself, I am very glad to be so, so long as I am not inconsistent with holy Scripture.”

Denial of Common Grace

A distinctive feature of hyper-Calvinism is that God has no love for the non-elect. They believe God only shows love and kindness to the elect. They ask, “How can God love the wicked when he hates them and their sin?” (Pss 5:5; 11:5). But the problem with this argument is that it fails to recognize the distinctions that exist within God’s love. Just as we have differing degrees of love for one another (the love that a husband has for his wife is not the same kind of love that he has for his sisters in Christ or even for his children), God has both a universal love displayed in common grace and a unique love for the bride of Christ (Eph 5:25). This is the same mistake Arminians make with regard to God’s love except they go in the exact opposite direction. Common grace includes God’s kindness and love displayed in providing for and sustaining all creatures (Deut 10:18-19; Ps 145:9, 15-16; Jonah 4:11; Matt 5:43-48; 15:32; Luke 6:35-36; Acts 14:17; Rom 2:4). We see the love of Christ for the lost in Mark 10:21 in the encounter with the rich young ruler whom Jesus loved despite his rejection of the gospel.

Eternal Justification

Another feature of Hyper-Calvinism is eternal justification – the belief that all the elect were justified by God in eternity past in the mind of God. But if the elect can be eternally justified, can they be eternally glorified as well? If we can speak of eternal justification, then shouldn’t we also speak of eternal glorification since God is eternal? Of course, this is absurd. The elect are not glorified until their death or when Christ returns. Likewise, justification is a one-time event in the past when we were declared righteous by God. That’s why Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” That means at one time we did not have peace with God. Once we were “enemies” who had to be reconciled through the cross (Rom 5:10). Before our justification, we were under the just sentence of God’s wrath (John 3:36). We all were “children of wrath” deserving of the condemnation of God (Eph 2:1-3). See John Piper’s chapter in From Heaven He Came and Sought Her for a great analysis of these verses.

Full knowledge of God’s sovereignty in salvation is necessary for justification

The last two features of hyper-Calvinism are the most dangerous as well as the most unbiblical. Some hyper-Calvinists argue that a person is not saved unless they believe in Calvinism. Didn’t Jesus say in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice”? But this confuses justification with sanctification. A person does not need to have a detailed knowledge of theology and the ability to untie every Gordian knot before they can be saved. The thief on the cross was saved through simple faith in Christ alone. Jesus compares saving faith to the simple trust of a child (Matt 18:3). Confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in your heart that God has raised him from the dead has always been the way to eternal life (Rom 10:9-13). This perspective also fails to take into account that people are inconsistent in their beliefs and change them over time. Even after salvation, the noetic effects of sin are still present. Not every Christian is as far along on the path to Christlikeness and doctrinal purity as they should be. That does not make them lost, but there are many Christians who are simply untaught in matters related to the sovereignty of God. Remember that Spurgeon was saved through Methodist preaching. This proposition would consign everyone to hell who believes differently than the hyper-Calvinists do which is more cultic than Christian.

“Go and make disciples of all nations” is not binding on Christians today

Hyper-Calvinists in the 18th century believed that the great commission had either already been fulfilled, was only binding on the apostles, or that we needed a second Pentecost before we could take the gospel to the nations. How could God expect us to carry the gospel to the nations unless he miraculously gives us the power to speak their languages? They concluded that since God had not granted them the supernatural ability to speak foreign languages in the gift of tongues, it was not yet God’s will for them to do world evangelism. William Carey actually had to write a book defending the thesis that the great commission was still relevant for Christians today. The church was so preoccupied with itself that it had little concern for the lost around the world. While we may repudiate the hyper-Calvinistic reluctance to work for the spread of the gospel, how many churches in America are practically hyper-Calvinistic in their practice? It does not matter if we are doctrinally opposed to hyper-Calvinism if we are still practically hyper-Calvinists. The great commission has become the great omission in too many churches. If we are not concerned with reaching the lost overseas, how could we be concerned with reaching the lost in our community when there are so many churches around us? Those churches that are most evangelistic at home are the ones who are most concerned for the spread of the gospel around the world through prayer, financial giving, and taking short-term mission trips. And don’t use the excuse that you aren’t good at learning foreign languages to avoid missionary work. When you do that, you are channeling the spirit of hyper-Calvinism.

Sunday Meditation – An Intolerant Gospel

“There are some who stumble at Christ because of his holiness. He is too strict for them; they would like to be Christians, but they cannot renounce their sensual pleasures; they would like to be washed in his blood, but they desire still to roll in the mire of sin.  Willing enough the mass of men would be to receive Christ, if, after receiving him, they might continue in their drunkenness, their wantonness, and self-indulgence. But Christ lays the axe at the root of the tree; he tells them that these things must be given up, for “because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience“, and “without holiness no man can see the Lord.”  Human nature kicks at this.”  What! May I not enjoy one darling lust? May I not indulge myself at least now and then in these things? Must I altogether forsake my old habits and my old ways? Must I be made a new creature in Christ Jesus?” These are terms too hard, conditions too severe, and so the human heart goes back to the flesh pots of Egypt, and clings to the garlic and the onions of the old estate of bondage, and will not be set free even though a greater than Moses lifts up the rod to part the sea, and promises to give to them a Canaan flowing with milk and honey. Christ offends men because his gospel is intolerant of sin.”

Charles Spurgeon

What Is Hyper-Calvinism?

There is a great deal of confusion surrounding what defines Calvinism, hyper-Calvinism, Arminianism, and all the moderating positions and “ism’s” in-between. My hope is that this article will help you to accurately identify the errors of hyper-Calvinism from true Calvinism and understand why hyper-Calvinists believed what they did so we don’t make the same mistake. One of the most important things you need to know about hyper-Calvinism is that there is more than one kind of hyper-Calvinism – each with varying levels of consistency. Of course, a hyper-Calvinist would never refer to himself as a hyper-Calvinist, but as a true Calvinist in contrast to what they might call “hypo-Calvinism” which is really just regular Calvinism. Baptists who are hyper-Calvinists often refer to themselves as “Primitive Baptists,” “Old School Baptists,” or “Strict Baptists” which is ironic considering that the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith is not consistent with hyper-Calvinism (see paragraph 7.2). These terms are not to be confused with “Reformed Baptist” which describes someone who holds to the 1689 Confession or “Particular Baptist” which describes a person who is a Baptist and a Calvinist. Then, some people who are not Calvinists, but hold to a moderating position somewhere in-between Calvinism and Arminianism, refer to Calvinism as “High Calvinism” which is the Calvinism of the Synod of Dort which defined what Calvinism or reformed theology is in contrast to the Articles of Remonstrance which outlines the beliefs of the followers of Jacobus Arminius, the founder of Arminianism.

It also doesn’t help matters that hyper-Calvinists will seamlessly transition between defending Calvinism to defending the tenets of hyper-Calvinism so that the reader who has not studied Calvinism before is unable to distinguish between the two. Often, Calvinism is incorrectly referred to as hyper-Calvinism in order to dissuade people from reading the writings of John Calvin and the Puritans. Another problem with defining hyper-Calvinism is that not many Christians in America have experienced hyper-Calvinism firsthand so they incorrectly associate Calvinism with hyper-Calvinism not realizing that they are radically different from each other. It is unfortunate that hyper-Calvinism has the name “Calvinism” in it all at because it is actually a departure from the theology of the reformer John Calvin.

To rightly understand hyper-Calvinism, we need to analyze the writings of the leading hyper-Calvinists and dissect their arguments. The problem though is that if you asked the average Christian who the leading hyper-Calvinists were and what they believed, you would most likely get an inaccurate and caricatured definition of Calvinism. Can you tell me who the leading hyper-Calvinists of the 18th and 19th centuries were? We need to know our enemy in order to understand him and refute his arguments. The most consistent hyper-Calvinists of that era were Joseph Hussey, William Huntington, Daniel Whitaker, and William Palmer. On the other hand, Tobias Crisp, John Skepp, John Brine, and John Gill were hyper-Calvinistic to a lesser degree and thankfully inconsistent in their hyper-Calvinism since they did preach the gospel evangelically. William Gadsby fits somewhere in-between the two groups since he opposed the foreign missionary movement, yet faithfully (though inconsistently) preached the gospel in his home church. In giving a broad overarching definition to hyper-Calvinism, I have created an “ABC’s of Hyper-Calvinism” which outlines seven of its most distinctive beliefs:

Antinomianism

Belief is not a commanded duty; the non-elect are not responsible for their unbelief

Call of the gospel not offered to all men, but only to the “awakened”

Denial of common grace

Eternal justification

Full knowledge of God’s sovereignty in salvation is necessary for justification

Go and make disciples of all nations is not binding on Christians today

I would consider “F” and “G” to be the most extreme forms of hyper-Calvinism since they confuse justification with sanctification and deny that the great commission is still relevant for Christians today. As I mentioned earlier, there is more than one kind of hyper-Calvinism and not every person that I listed above would agree with all seven of the characteristics of hyper-Calvinism that I have given. For example, John Gill appeared to believe in common grace, rightly distinguished between justification and sanctification, and believed that the great commission was still binding on Christians today – yet he held to a form of eternal justification, denied that the gospel should be considered a call or offer, and made a distinction between evangelical repentance leading to salvation which God only demands of the elect and general repentance which is the duty of every man. Each defender of hyper-Calvinism must be evaluated on his own terms and critiqued individually. The problem is we don’t have the time or patience to meticulously read through all their writings and compare and contrast their beliefs to one another. The result is that we create hasty generalizations and lump everyone who taught a certain error in together with everyone else who taught the same error even though there may be a world of difference between what a false teacher who is not saved taught in comparison to someone who may be a genuine Christian but was inconsistent in his beliefs. I would not therefore put John Gill in the same category as Joseph Hussey or William Huntington who were more unbiblical than Gill. My next article will examine and critique the tenets of hyper-Calvinism on the basis of Scripture.

Sunday Meditation – True Evangelism

“To try to win a soul to Christ by keeping that soul in ignorance of any truth, is contrary to the mind of the Spirit; and to endeavor to save men by mere claptrap, or excitement, or oratorical display, is as foolish as to hope to hold an angel with bird-line, or lure a star with music.  The best attraction is the gospel in its purity. The weapon with which the Lord conquers men is the truth as it is in Jesus. The gospel will be found equal to every emergency; an arrow can pierce the hardest heart, a balm which will heal the deadliest wound. Preach it, and preach nothing else.  Rely implicitly upon the old, old gospel. You need no other nets when you fish for men; those your Master has given you are strong enough for the great fishes, and have meshes fine enough to hold the little ones. Spread those nets and no others, and you need not fear the fulfillment of His Word, ‘I will make you fishers of men.'”

Charles Spurgeon

Why Didn’t Jesus Ever Mention Homosexuality?

One of the most common arguments used against the Bible’s teaching on marriage is that since Jesus never explicitly condemned homosexuality, there is nothing wrong with same-sex relationships.  How can you condemn something that Jesus never condemned?  It is not my purpose here to marshal biblical evidence in favor of the Bible’s teaching against homosexual practice or to address the question of what causes homosexual desire.  Many books have been written on the subject and many more have been written in response to revisionist arguments on the Bible and homosexuality.  Rather, this article seeks to answer the question of why Jesus never specifically mentions homosexuality among the many sins he taught against in the Gospels.

First, this objection stems from a kind of “red-letter” Christianity where the words of Jesus are more authoritative than the rest of Scripture.  This approach to the Bible flows out of a view of Scripture that rejects Verbal Plenary Inspiration.  But the Bible teaches that “all Scripture” is breathed out by God (2 Tim 3:16), not just the words of Jesus or the portions of the Bible we like.  Because all Scripture has the Holy Spirit as its author, all of Scripture is authoritative and must be obeyed.  The New Testament affirms the inspiration of the Old Testament Scriptures in 2 Peter 1:19-21 where we are told that “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  Even if Jesus had nothing to say on the subject, that doesn’t mean we don’t have a clear word from God on the issue.

Second, we interpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament.  The reason why Christians do not observe Jewish food laws is because they have been abrogated in Christ.  Mark 7:19 says that Jesus “declared all foods clean” and Paul says in Romans 14:14 that “nothing is unclean in itself.”  Paul declares in Ephesians 2:14-15 that God has abrogated those laws which divided Jews and Gentiles.  But in contrast, Paul reaffirms the Old Testament prohibitions against homosexuality from Leviticus 18 and 20 in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10.

The reason why Jesus does not specifically mention homosexuality is that he is speaking in a Jewish context where it was assumed that homosexuality was wrong.  He did not need to speak out against homosexuality because Jewish people did not engage in homosexual acts.  Paul, on the other hand, does speak against homosexuality because he is writing in a Gentile context to Christians who had just come out of paganism.  In the Roman world, homosexuality was alive and well and these new Christians needed to know that homosexual behavior was a twisting of God’s original design for marriage and sex.  That’s why he mentions homosexuality in Romans 1 when talking about the sins of pagan Gentiles but omits it in chapter 2 when he focuses on the sins of Jewish people.

While Jesus did not mention homosexuality explicitly, he does condemn it implicitly in many places.  In Matthew 15:19 Jesus says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”  The term “sexual immorality” or porneia in Greek is a broad term describing every kind of sexual relationship outside of marriage.  Homosexual practice would fall under porneia since it takes place outside of marriage which has always been between one man and one woman.  Jesus, as an Old Testament Jew, believed in the authority of the Torah which includes the book of Leviticus.  He quoted from Leviticus 19:18, the chapter in-between Leviticus 18 and 20, which says “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Jesus reaffirmed the moral law of the Old Testament in Matthew 5:17-19 and considered “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44) to be canonical for New Testament believers.

Jesus reaffirmed the Old Testament’s definition of marriage as one man and one woman in Matthew 19:4-6: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  Every passage of Scripture that teaches marriage is the union of one man and one woman is an argument against homosexual practice.  We do not need to restrict ourselves to just those passages that prohibit homosexual behavior.  David Wright explains the Old Testament background of the New Testament’s teaching on homosexuality:

“Homosexuality was largely unknown in Judaism, but Christianity inherited unqualified condemnations of male homosexual practices in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. . . . Postbiblical Judaism stressed the homosexual element in the Sodomites’ attempted rape of Lot’s male guests (Gen. 19:4-5; cf. Judg. 19:22), and Hellenistic Jewish writers denounced homosexuality as frequently as any sin. . . . The Greek word arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10, denoting literally (males) ‘who lie [sleep] with males,’ was almost certainly formed under the influence of the Septuagint text of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. Although first attested in Paul, the term also occurs in Hellenistic Jewish texts (Sibyll. Or. 2.73, influenced by Pseudo-Phocylides’s Sentences). The church fathers universally condemned male homosexual behavior. . . . They clearly regarded it as contrary to the created constitution and function of men and women, and not merely to the dispositions of particular individuals” (David Wright, in Everett Ferguson, editor, Encyclopedia of Early Christianity [New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1999], pp. 542-543).

Sunday Meditation – True Conversion

“In our converts we must also see true prayer, which is the vital breath of godliness. If there is no prayer, you may be quite sure the soul is dead. We are not to urge men to pray as though it were the great gospel duty, and the one prescribed way of salvation; for our chief message is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is easy to put prayer into its wrong place, and make it out to be a kind of work by which men are to live; but this you will, I trust, most carefully avoid. Faith is the great gospel grace; but still we cannot forget that true faith always prays, and when a man professes faith in the Lord Jesus, and yet does not cry to the Lord daily, we dare not believe in his faith or his conversion.”

“If the professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows his Lord’s will but does not mean to attend to it, you are not to pamper his presumption, but it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved. Has not the Lord said, “He that taketh not up his cross, and cometh after Me, cannot be My disciple”? Mistakes as to what the Lord’s will may be are to be tenderly corrected, but anything like wilful disobedience is fatal; to tolerate it would be treason to Him that sent us. Jesus must be received as King as well as Priest; and where there is any hesitancy about this, the foundation of godliness is not yet laid.”

Charles Spurgeon, The Soul Winner

The Deity of the Holy Spirit

“I believe in the Holy Spirit.” These are the words of the Apostles’ Creed which Christians have confessed throughout the ages. They are the words Charles Spurgeon spoke before entering the pulpit to preach the Word of God. But who is the Holy Spirit? I have written previously on the personal nature of the Spirit, but here I want to outline some of the biblical evidence for the deity of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, sharing equally with the Father and the Son all of the attributes of God. He is the creator of all things and brings regeneration through the preaching of the gospel.

The Holy Spirit is described as Yahweh in the story of Samson: “But he did not know that the LORD had left him” (Judg 16:20). “The Lord” is parallel to “the Spirit” who comes upon Samson in the rest of the story and gives him strength (Judg 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14). The Holy Spirit is the presence and power of God. A parallel text is 1 Samuel 18:12: “Saul was afraid of David because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul.” This statement echoes the previous verses which speak of the Spirit coming upon Saul (1 Sam 10:10; 11:6; 16:13-16; 19:23). 1 Samuel 16:14 is especially striking: “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul.” That is directly parallel to 1 Samuel 18:12 which speaks of the Lord departing from Saul. Therefore, to say that the Spirit has left someone is to say that the Lord has left him and vice versa.

The deity of the Holy Spirit is evidenced by his work of creation. Only God can create as Isaiah 44:24 says, “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: ‘I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.'” That means if the Spirit creates, then he must be God. Job declares in Job 33:4, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” We also know that the Spirit is God because he shares the attributes of God. The Spirit is described as being omnipresent or everywhere: “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psa 139:7). The Spirit and God’s presence are equated here just as the Lord and the Spirit are equated in the stories of Samson and Saul. The omniscience of the Spirit also demonstrates his deity since only God is all-knowing: “Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?” (Isa 40:13-14).

One of the clearest evidences of the deity of the Holy Spirit is Acts 5:3-4 where lying to the Holy Spirit is parallel to lying to God. To lie to one is to lie to the other. The Holy Spirit speaks as God in prophecy and through the authorship of Scripture which is the Word of God. In Acts 28:25-27, Paul quotes the words of God as coming from the Holy Spirit: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet” (Acts 28:25) followed by a quotation from Isaiah 6 where God speaks to Isaiah the prophet. In 1 Corinthians 2:11 we read this amazing statement: “So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” Only the Holy Spirit can comprehend God’s thoughts which is impossible for any creature (Isa 40:13). The Spirit must be God in order to comprehend the infinite thoughts of God. This expression is similar to Matthew 11:27 where we read, “And no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son.” Only God can know himself perfectly and the Son is so vast and infinite that only the Father can know him. The Son must therefore be God if only the Father can know him. Therefore, the Spirit must be God if only he can know the thoughts of God. The inclusion of the Spirit in the many triadic or threefold formulas of Scripture is strong indirect proof of his deity (Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 12:4-6; 2 Cor 13:14).

Paul identifies the Spirit as the Lord in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18: “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Christians are described as being both temples of God and temples of the Holy Spirit: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16); “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you” (1 Cor 6:19); “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor 6:16). To be the temple of the Holy Spirit is the same as being the temple of God.

Another place where a quotation from God in the Old Testament is applied to the Holy Spirit is Hebrews 3:7-11 which quotes Psalm 95:7-11. Verse nine says, “Here your fathers put me to the test and saw my works” identifying the Spirit as the one whom the Israelites tested in the desert. Another example of this is Hebrews 10:15-17 where the Holy Spirit speaks God’s words out of Jeremiah 31. The Holy Spirit is described as eternal in Hebrews 9:14 and therefore must be God since only God is eternal. The last evidence that I will make reference to is 2 Peter 1:19-21 which describes the work of inspiration as coming from the Holy Spirit. And since we know that God is the author of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16), the Holy Spirit must be God. Other examples where the Spirit speaks Scripture are 2 Samuel 23:2; Matthew 22:43; Acts 1:16; and Acts 4:25.