Saturday, September 8, 2012

Book Review: R.C. Sproul. The Mystery of the Holy Spirit

This is not one of Sproul's more famous books. It will probably not soon rise to the prominence of his "The Holiness of God" for instance. Nevertheless, "The Mystery of the Holy Spirit" should be considered one of Sproul's more helpful and practical works of basic-level theology.

Most Christian believers suffer from one of two problems: either they are woefully ignorant of the Holy Spirit's nature (and power!), or else they seem riddled by poor teaching from word of faith Neo-Pentecostals.

Sproul, one of the more skillful theologians at bridging the gap between Sunday School and seminary, does a superb job of filling in the gaps of ignorance of basic instruction in these weighty issues and deconstructing the commonest errors about the Holy Ghost.

Here, Sproul adequately covers the basics of pneumatology (the study of the Spirit). Chapter topics include the Spirit's relationship in the ontological Trinity with Father and Son; the Spirit's role in regeneration; and the Fruit of the Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:22).

Most helpful to this pastor, however, was Sproul's masterful job in chapter 8 in explaining the complex doctrine of "the baptism of the Holy Spirit," one of the most distorted teachings common to those prone to charismatic excess. Sproul shows from Scripture that the baptism of the Spirit is not a second blessing that differentiates super-Christians from ordinary Christians, but is rather the joyful inclusion and drenching of the believer with the Holy Spirit given as a free gift to all the regenerate at conversion.

Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida.

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