Thomas Campbell And The Holy Spirit

Thomas Campbell defined the Holy Spirit as one of the three internal natures of the one God but not three co-equal family persons standing side-by-side holding conferences. Like most scholarly work, Campbell seeks to define the Godhead so that neither extreme can get a grip on a creed. Quotes from Thomas Campbell quotes will be in blue
Campbell, Thomas - Spirit - Agent of Conversion
Campbell, Thomas Holy Spirit - A circular letter
Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell The Spirit You are here.
Campbell, Thomas a DIRECT OPERATION of the Spirit

Presbyterianism had deviated from John Calvin and came to see the Godhead as three independant persons. If taken literally this has always been defined as three separate Gods. Paul Tillich observed that until the liberal 19th century to call God a "person" would have been heresy. Yet, that is exactly what many groups had concluded. Therefore, a vital part of the Restoration Movement was to repudiate this view which violated the views of all of the church "fathers" and of God.

Those on the payroll of Restoration Movement churches but who have little regard for the Word of God needed to find new ways to keep up the cash flow. The Neo-Pentecostal movement of midcentury provided the means.

Preachers grasping the exploitive value of the charismatic movement have also believed that the Holy Spirit as a "person" moves into and takes control of their bodies. This means that songs of human composition rejecting the Word are held to be equal to the inspired Word demanded by Paul for song and sermon.

This is reflected in styles of preaching, singing and a return to dominant clergy soundly condemned by Jesus who modelled the "Son" who is obedient to His "Father." He was not a little dictator.

This perversion runs counter to the Restoration Movement where preachers worked when everyone else and preached when they had time to listen:

Thomas Campbell notes that: "Is it farther queried, how could the Father bring forth or exhibit his Son in human nature, or how could divinity and humanity be so united

as to constitute but one individual person? We might as rationally query,
how can
soul and body, matter and mind be so united as to make but one individual being or person?

"It appears to be a query with some who profess to hold this doctrine, whether it be correct to use the term person when speaking of the above distinct characters (personae) in the divine essence. As to this, let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. In the mean time, all that we pretend to say in favor of this application of the term is, that although the term person (which, in relation to men, signifies a distinct intelligent agency or rational being, coexisting with others in the same common nature), is not manifestly applied in the Holy Scriptures to any of the Sacred Three:

nor indeed can be so applied in strict propriety, according to its literal and obvious acceptation;

for when applied to God, instead of meaning a distinct intelligent being coexisting with others in the same common nature,

we must mean by it, if we think and speak correctly, one and the self-same individual being so existing as to constitute in and to itself so many distinct or different, real and relative characters, or subsistences,

each of which is but another name for the self-same individual essence or being considered as existing in the specified relation of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

(Note: Character means an actor representing a distinct group. Thus God reveals Himself in flesh, soul or life and spirit or mind eleminating all other roles. Subsistences means the status of something which exists and proves His total, undivided existence or reality. This was the Restoration movement view now ridiculed by "professors" out of denominational colleges.)

"Yet seeing the Scriptures manifestly declare that the one Jehovah exists in three distinct intelligent agents,

each of which is the one Jehovah so existing,
there is but one such being;

and seeing that the personal pronouns, I, thou, he, we, us, are assumed and used in the Holy Scriptures, by, or in relation to, each or all of the divine characters; therefore, keeping in view the essential

and indivisible unity of the divine nature,

we think that we speak intelligibly and consistently with sacred truth, when we thus use the term person; and we presume, when taken in this sense, it will apply to the divine characters with as strict propriety as almost any other term in human language that is applied to God; for it must be granted, that in but few instances, if any, human language will strictly and property apply to the divine nature;

therefore, when so applied, it must, for the most part, be used in a figurative and analogous sense.

"Again, it is a query with others, who profess to hold this doctrine, whether the relative terms Father, Son and Spirit, be real or economical. To this we would reply, that if we allow the Holy Scriptures to speak at all intelligibly upon this most profound and sacred subject,

we must understand the above appellation as declarative of real internal essential relations,
        independent of any external work or economy whatever.

"For if the terms Father, Son and Spirit, be not declarative of real or essential relations, that is, of relations that have their foundation in the divine nature, and essentially or necessarily belong to it as such,

> the Scriptures do not reveal to us three distinct characters so related;

> but three distinct independent divinities or Gods, necessarily self-existent, and absolutely independent of each other; each and every one of them possessing the self-same properties,

> and of course, each of them so exactly the same in all respects, as to be absolutely undistinguishable one from another, by any means, property or attribute whatsoever;

> and, of course, three eternal self-existent independent coexistent Gods;

> each of them infinitely complete or perfect in and of himself, as possessing every possible perfection of being.

"A supposition this, not less repugnant to our reason than to the most express and unequivocal declarations of Holy Scripture, for the divine characters are constantly represented as coexisting in the most intimate and inseparable unity of essential relationship..

"And that, therefore, in the mean time, we ought to reject as unscriptural, all invocations or forms of address immediately directed to the Holy Spirit, as innovations in the worship of God, who alone has a right to prescribe both the matter and manner of his own worship, even of that worship which he will be graciously pleased to accept as right and pleasing in his sight. (Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Vol. 1, pp. 539-555. Thomas Campbell's "Circular Letter")

While all scholarly writers tend to speak of the works of three internal natures of the One God independant of the others, Thomas Campbell defined the Holy Spirit as part of the trinity consistent with the Bible and most early church theologians.

The restoration movement will never get back on track until it believes that Christ reveals His Spirit being in the Word which He called "spirit and life" (Jn 6:63)

Kenneth Sublett

Restoration Movement

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