Office Hours: Fesko On The Holy Spirit In 19th-Century Theology

Office Hours 2016 full sizeWhen the Westminster Divines completed the Confession of Faith in 1647 there was no chapter dedicated to the person and work of the Holy Spirit. According to some modern critics of the Confession, that absence betrays a troubling disinterest in the third person of the Holy Trinity. Others have argued that the divines abandoned Calvin’s strong emphasis on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. They argue that, after Calvin, Reformed became rationalist, and that Reformed theology needs to be revised to overcome such mistakes. In 1903 at least one Presbyterian body added a chapter on the Holy Spirit to the Confession of Faith. Others, however, have argued the opposite case, that the Reformed confessions have a strong doctrine of the person and work of the Spirit and that such revisions are unnecessary. These debates have been driven by developments in 19th-century theology and by modern criticisms of classic Reformed theology.

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