Monday, January 15, 2018

I know so little about the Holy Spirit

Yesterday we were reminded that we do not give enough studious attention to the Holy Spirit.

This was not taught, this is what my cynical self thinks: part of the reason is a widespread (thankfully not universal) Baptist flaw--we have a history of overreacting. Not satisfied with "Baptism doesn't save" we (speaking in Baptists generalities here) turned the sacraments into The. Real. Absence. May it never be that something supernatural occurs! Don't use that "means of grace" phraseology, it implies something mystical.

In the fairly mainstream "purely commemorative  Baptist position, God, at baptisms or communion, is the same level of passive observer as at any other time.

The Holy Spirit is not the only "person" we tend to ignore. Baptists run away from Mary, lest we be too Catholicky. And for some reason (a personal peeve, because he's a personal biblical hero) we don't talk enough about Stephen. We might mention his courage and fortitude in facing martyrdom, but we don't tend to exposit the text of his self defense, which was utterly amazing. But of the three, neglecting the Holy Spirit is the worst offense--given that He's, you know, God.

But, speaking for myself, scripture makes it difficult to wrap my head around the Holy Spirit. Actually one of more more vexxing passages is that famous verse concerned with Jesus' return:
32 But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (Mark 13:32)
We tend to go to great lengths, often with very bad theology (at times very very bad) to explain how Jesus the man-God did not know when he would return. But rarely do we address the fact that the passage, with no obvious wiggle room, suggests that the Holy Spirit doesn't know either--and that would seem to be problematic.

What's the solution?

I haven't a clue. The Holy Spirit mystifies even when He's not mentioned.

UPDATE: Fixed typo. It's commemorative not comparative. Grr.

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