The Revival of Interests in the Holy Spirit

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Many Christians have a limited understanding of the Holy Spirit as an individual and, as a result, seldom discuss it (Marshall 2003, p.35). As a result, the aim of this thesis would be to provide an outline of the Holy Spirit and its position in Christianity. Furthermore, Christians believe in the Holy Trinity, which consists of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Human life, unlike ghosts, is centered on a three-dimensional universe. They, like all other things, have a three-dimensional nature of distinct distance, height, and depth. A person may imitate another person by talking or behaving like them. However, an individual may not be wholly the same to someone else since they are two different people. However, God does not live in the universe in a third-dimensional nature. God is a complex and infinite spirit different from humans. Moreover, Jesus was born of a human mother thus he is the Son different from the Father, but still one. Thus, the prefix Tri represents the three that when joined to the term Unity implies one. Therefore, Trinity is God, Son, and Holy Spirit (Moltmann 1992, p.78). However, since the offset of time, God has proved himself to be the Trinity. In Genesis, God says, "let us make man in our image." As a result, man and woman came into being. In this phrase, a mixture of plural and singular pronouns is utilized. As Moses led the Israelites to the Promised Land, he asked God what he would refer to him (Kim 2007, p.124). God responded that ‘I AM,’ implying that he exist eternally. Thus it is evident that for all eternity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have always been in a relationship and communicating with each other, yet not as three gods.

Throughout a human lifetime, there has always been the debate on the divinity Cosmos of the Holy Ghost. Nonetheless, the Holy Ghost is an individual and God (Karkkainen 2009, p.45). More so, both the Son and the Father evidently represent a person, manlike in nature and as a result assume the form of a person. Spirits do not have gender hence the impersonal power in question is non-other than a person. The Blessed Trinity which is God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit are neutral. They all operate in Spirit form. The gospel of John 4:24 talk of Jesus saying that all believers ought to worship in spirit and truth, as God is Spirit. In addition, the book of Hebrews 1:14 points out that the angels were known Spirits from heaven sent to help those on earth notably those who accepted Christ and got baptized (Hollingsworth 2008, p.145). The Holy Spirit helps individuals to win over evil, direct on the truth, and reveal the forthcoming things. This help undoubtedly proves the personhood of the Holy Spirit. This understanding of the Holy Spirit is limited. As such, in different occasions throughout the last 100 years, different doctrines have attempted to restore the fascination in the Holy Spirit.

Restoration of Interest in the Holy Spirit

Through the revivalist movement, Pentecostalism, Christians through the last 100 years have attempted to revive the interest in the Holy Spirit. This change put across three essential theologies in three waves in a bid to revive fascination with the Holy Spirit. These waves include the modern 20th century Pentecostalism, the 1950 Charismatic wave, and the Neo-Charismatic or third wave developed in the 1980s. Modern Pentecostals emphasize on three major theologies including the sacrament of the Holy Ghost, the power to speak in strange tongues and expression of powerful healing.

Talking in strange tongues is evidence enough of the baptisim with the Holy Spirit. Thus, the modern Christian church is encouraged to seek the Holy Spirit as its manifestation is a clear path of true worship. Talking in tongues is the main difference between Pentecostal theology and Charismatic theology (Badcock 1997, p.67). For the modern church to experience these glorious manifestations, meeting some conditions is essential. Such conditions include constantly and active praying with passion. Furthermore, individuals yet to receive the Holy Spirit, need the assistance of others already filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, they had to pray for them, lay hands before the Spirit took over their bodies. Individual seeking such glorious manifestation were required to praise and worship, be joyous, have faith, earnest expectation, thanksgiving, obedience, separation from sin, intense desire to be filled by the Spirit, and pray to God.

Pentecostal theology encouraged and emphasized on personal spiritual experience thus allowed women to commission in the ministry (Congar 2000, p.23). The modern church was supposed to observe the doctrine of sanctification, which requires the church to be reborn and renounce all their sin. This Holy Spirit is received via trust in Christ crucified, and his blood of atonement for cleaning Christian sin. Thus, we are redeemed from the guilt of sin.

When Jesus was departing to heaven, he assured the disciples that he would send them an assistant as a supplement and give them strength. In Luke 24:48, the scripture says that after Christ has resurrected, he told the disciples that they would witness the glory and authority of the Holy Spirit. He asked then to wait in the city because God will send them a helper that will accompany then in doing the work Jesus left behind. Then God fulfilled his promise when he sent the Holy Spirit to the first Pentecostal church. Also, he still continues to fill believers who desire the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit presence is significant in the churches today. Without it, the gospel of Christ will be of no use. Therefore, the New Gospel commands all Christians to become occupied by the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:18 (Guthrie 2011, p.178). Thus, the believers need to seek and wait to be filled with the Holy Ghost and be redeemed.

The 20th-century theology of Pentecostal emphasizes the concept of Full Gospel. Through the idea of Full Gospel, the Spirit baptizes every believer at the time of conversion. This experience of Pentecost is necessary for every believer. Pentecostal theology does not believe in the Eternal Security. It does not support the notion that if a person accepts baptism and becomes the partaker of the Holy Spirit, they get salvation.

The second Theology is the Charismatic renewal movement of the 1950s. This period found the Pentecostal doctrine spread into the Protestant and Catholic Churches. Charismatic theology comes with the objectives of renewing the historic churches. Charismatic believers encourage those who have been baptized to stay and remain in the church. They do not give much emphasis on the doctrine of Pentecostals, yet they believe in the principle of speaking in tongue. In an elaborated manner they argue that the church can receive baptism, but it's not necessary that one talks in tongues. They further posit that one can get more of Holy Spirit by being filled with the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 5:18, the believers should not get drunk through taking a lot of wine, but be full of the spirit" (Kay 2009, p.245).

The theology emphasises that for believers to be redeemed, Holy Spirit must be the primary factor while the ministers and elders of the church become a secondary agent (Peterson, 1995, p.89). In this manner, the Holy Scriptures says that Christians are called upon to be the working fellows of the Spirit, and in turn, the spirit works in changing the lives of individual believers and the church as a whole. Holy Spirit authorizes spiritual church leadership. Because the leaders work for the spirit to renew, revive, and revitalise the entire congregation (Burgess 1997, p.89).

Holy Spirit alone is capable of restoring the church. Therefore, it is genuine to assert that the Holy Ghost is sovereign. Christians have confessed the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit in both their individual life and church renewal since the debut of the early church. Jesus is seen instructing the disciple, to wait for divine visitation of Holy Spirit which will allow them to be the first witnesses of Christ. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said to his disciples that they would receive power when the Spirit reside in them. Further, the disciples will be his witness in the whole cities unto the end of the earth (Williams 2011, p.57).

The third wave was known as renewal and revival movement or Non-Charismatic of the 1980s. People associated it to believers who did not wish to be labeled 'Pentecostal' or 'Charismatic.' They preferred to be known as evangelicals though they shared the same Pentecostal-like experience and philosophy. The Non-Charismatic believers were Gnostics. They did not believe that "God can communicate outside of the scripture and that he talks directly to his children" (Edwards 2004, p.112). Hence they denied the sufficiency of the word of God. Church leaders highly criticized this wave. They further argued that in the end times, God would re-establish the role of prophets and apostles by giving them immense power and authority incomparable to those of the Old and New Testaments.

The third wave believers put more emphasis on building unity through relationships rather than through doctrine. This concept allowed the third wave belief to infiltrate various churches in America, Asia, and Africa. Their main agenda was placed on the acceptance of unity as a modern day theology in true practice of Holy Spirit (Anderson 2004, p.46). Churches were encouraged to take revival to the people on the street and homes. Therefore, this was Power Evangelism and Power Encounter. Evangelism involves people receiving healing, casting out demons as Jesus did by raising up the dead and casting out evil. Through miracles, people will appreciate the work of Christ thus making them interested in the Good News. In this way, God shows his supreme power over the devil and people turn to the Lord.

The old doctrine of the church whereby, believers were waiting for the kingdom of God to come changed. They were not waiting for the reappearance of Christ, but rather the house of worship to rise and usher in the Lords kingdom. The primary objective of the church was to solve the problems of believers and planet earth. God's glory was now the key rather than the physical return of the Son of Man. They had a strong belief that a demon can possess an individual. Demons can live within a body of even a Christian, but it cannot inhabit the spirit of a Christ. Hence it was crucial for the church to be renewed and cleansed for fear that they allowed the demon to dwell in their body (Karkkainen 2002, p.40). Believers were asked wait and often pray for the Holy Spirit as the devil is afraid of the Spirit.


In outline, the three dominant theologies of the past 100 years have shown us how the doctrines of Holy Spirit changed over time. The first phase of Pentecostalism was in full understanding of the works and role of the Holy Spirit. Then the second wave that had some reservation and finally the Non-Charismatic theory that emphasized more on revival. Holy Spirit is the sovereign help, who can take back the church to its glory and true worship. Holy Spirit alone is capable of revitalizing the church. It is correct to assert that the Holy Ghost is sovereign. Christians have confessed this sovereignty of the Holy Spirit in both their individual lives and through adherence to the Spirit's requirements.

Flouting of the part of the Holy Spirit is increasing particularly with the entrenchment of new dogmas in churches. As a result, the church lacks its refined touch consequently losing the Lords sheep. Many Christians today are becoming atheist or rather Non-believers. The church ought to take blame for this change of heart and act accordingly. The churches today has failed in teaching the doctrines that Jesus taught his disciples. These teachings are supposed to be passed down to the current generation. However, there is hope as Christ will raise a strong individual to proclaim the words of Christ Jesus and gather the scattered sheep together.

References List

Anderson A., (2004). An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Cambridge, CUP.

Badcock, G. D., (1997). Light of Truth & Fire of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans.

Burgess, S. M., (1997). The Holy Spirit: Medieval Roman Catholic and Reformed Traditions: Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.

Congar, Y., (2000). I Believe in the Holy Spirit. New York: Crossroads.

Edwards, D., (2004). Breath of Life. A Theology of the Creator Spirit. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis. 

Guthrie, S.R., (2011). Creator Spirit: The Holy Spirit and the Art of Becoming Human, Grand Rapids: Baler Academic.

Hollingsworth, A., (2008). The Holy Spirit. Grand Rapids, Wm B Eerdmans.

Karkkainen, V. M., (ed) (2009). The Spirit in the World: Emerging Pentecostal Theologies in Global Contexts. Grand Rapids/ Cambridge: Wm. B Eerdmans.

Karkkainen, V. M, (2002). Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in Ecumenical, International and Contextual Perspective, Grand Rapids, Baker Academic. 

Kay, W. K., (2009). Pentecostalism (SCM Core Text) London: S.C.M. 

Kim, K., (2007). The Holy Spirit in the World, A Global Conversation. London: SPCK.

Marshall, M. T., (2003). Joining the Dance: A Theology of the Spirit. Valley Forge: Judson Press.

Moltmann, J., (1992). The Spirit of Life. London: SCM.

Peterson, D., (1995). Possessed by God. A New Testament Theology of  Sanctification and Holiness. Leicester: Apollos.

Williams (ed) (2011). The Holy Spirit in the World Today, London: Alpha Int.

December 15, 2022

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