Question #29: Briefly describe the following in regard to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit: (1) Montanism; (2) Sabellianism; (3) Arianism; (4) The Council of Constantinople; (5) The Council of Chalcedon.
Answer: Montanus and others raised the subject of the Holy Spirit to more prominence. “For many, Montanism stood for the active presence and ministry of the Spirit in the church and for a more spiritual type of church life. However, Montanism was officially rejected because of its insistence on additional revelation, and in so doing, the church affirmed the belief that the Spirit does not give new revelations apart from the Scriptures.”1
Sabellianism was an outflow of the modalistic concept of God where the Son was just an expression of the Father. So Sabellius took this concept and ran with it with the Holy Spirit, that God the Holy Spirit is a third mode of expression of the Godhead.
Arius believed that the Son was generated by the Father, and so therefore, had a beginning. Arianism purports that the Holy Ghost was the first thing created by the Son. This heresy was strongly opposed by the early church council.
The Council of Constantinople took place in 381 because of the controversy promulgated by Macedonius that the Spirit was a creature subordinate to the Son. “[U]nder the guidance of Gregory of Nazianzus, [the council] formulated the following statement concerning the Holy Spirit: “And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Life-giving, who proceeds from the Father, who is to be glorified with the Father and the Son, and who speaks through the prophets.”2
1 Ryrie, Basic Theology, 445.
2 Ibid, 446.
One-Minute Theology with Chaplain T features the question and answer portions of the Systematic Theology courses that were part of my seminary work at Piedmont Baptist Graduate School. I will be posting one Q & A everyday until my ordination council meeting set for February 2014.
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