The Spirit in Reformed Life

We can talk about the Father, we can speak of the Son, but the Spirit is often left out of the equation as a mystical presence reserved for special occasions when we are feeling extra emotional. At that point, we say, “Yes, the Spirit is in this place.” One famous scholar observed humorously, “The Catholics have the Father, the Presbyterians have the Son, and the Charismatics have the Spirit, and none are letting go of their God.” Well, thankfully the Triune Godhead is not bound to denominational labels.

We need to liberate the Spirit from self-imposed denominational boundaries. The reason Reformed theology is not regarded as a tradition that is Spirit-filled is that we fear that if we talk about the Spirit, we will suddenly start speaking in tongues or forsake the Christo-centric nature of our theology. But the Reformation never operated under such assumptions.

The Reformed writings of John Calvin would probably shock many Calvinists. Arminian writer, Roger Olsen concluded:

Calvin was no charismatic, but he was closer to it than some Reformed people readily admit.

Calvin was known as the theologian of the Spirit. He spoke clearly of the work of the Spirit in the life of the church, in the means of grace and His indwelling power in each believer. Let me urge you not to allow abuses to dictate how the Spirit operates. Let God be God. Let the Spirit be Spirit. Believe in Him, trust in him, pray in his name, commit your labors to him, depend on him, lean on him, be satisfied in him and let him be your guide to heaven this morning for Christ is only known by the power of the Spirit.

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