Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gregory of Nazianzus on the Deity of the Holy Spirit

As I mentioned in my last post, Gregory of Nazianzus (ca. 329-390) spent his life standing against the fierce tide of Arianism that threatened to destroy the church. The main issue for which he, and others, contended was the unified but dual nature of Christ, that is, that Jesus is fully God and fully man. A less prominent but related issue, was the deity of the Holy Spirit. If those standing for biblical truth had to argue for what is plain on the pages of Scripture, so did they have to argue for that which is also plain but somewhat less obvious.

In a sermon entitled, “The Third Theological Oration—On the Son,” Gregory argued for the divinity of the Holy Spirit and then summed up his remarks with these insightful and inspiring remarks. I encourage you to read his words prayerfully and carefully, and to meditate on the reality of who the Holy Spirit is.

“This, then, is my position with regard to these things, and I hope it may be always my position, and that of whoever is dear to me; to worship God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, these persons, one Godhead, undivided in honor and glory and substance and kingdom. For if He [the Holy Spirit] is not to be worshiped, how can he deify me by baptism? [See 2 Peter 1:4.] But if he is to be worshiped, surely he is an object of adoration, and, if an object of adoration, he must be God; the one is linked to the other, a truly golden and saving chain. And indeed from the Spirit comes our new birth, and from the new birth our new creation, and from the new creation our deeper knowledge of the dignity of Him from whom it is derived” (quoted from Christopher A. Hall, Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers [IVP Press: 1998, 76]).

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