The Holy Spirit Isn’t Just for Charismatics

Graham Cole | June 26, 2017

Michael Horton, professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Seminary California, is a prolific author. His latest work is on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

In Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in Creation, Redemption, and Everyday Life, Horton aims to explore the Spirit’s role in the external works of the Trinity. Central to his exploration is the idea that Pentecost marks a “qualitative change” (his emphasis) between the Spirit’s role in the Old Testament era and in the New, which is “the age of the Spirit.” 

He also wants to establish both the Spirit’s person and work, and he emphasizes the Spirit’s work in the ordinary, not just the extraordinary. In accomplishing these tasks, Horton shows a deep grasp of Scripture and the flow of redemptive history.

Controversial Matters

A book on the Spirit needs to deal with certain controversial matters in today’s theological climate. On the matter of cessationism and continuationism with reference to the sign gifts, Horton sees “no reason to assume that all of the marvelous signs of the Spirit’s outpouring in the apostolic era are normative today.” He argues, “There is a qualitative distinction between the inauguration of kingdom (foundation laying) and the erection…

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