27 August 2009

Just One More Teasing Taste...

Köberle writes: "The chief object in prayer remains the petition for the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Starck teaches us to pray:

Give me Your Holy Spirit that I may consecrate my limbs to Your service and my understanding to growing in Your knowledge. O my God, grant me strength and ability to increase in the inner self, that I may be sound in faith, fervent in spirit, patient in trouble, devout in prayer, sincere in my love to You and my fellow human beings, Christ-like in my conversation, rejoicing in hope and confident in death. Sanctify me. Bless me. Let Your good Spirit lead me into the land of uprightness!


Anonymous said...

Köberle writes: "The chief object in prayer remains the petition for the gift of the Holy Ghost." Am I wrong in believing that we receive the Holy Spirit in Baptism, as the Apostle Peter said in Acts 2: 38“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’.”? Further, the Apostle Paul clearly teaches that if we do not have the Holy Spirit, we do not belong to God, Romans 8: 9 “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Also in 2 Timothy 1: 14 “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” As well as in another half dozen or so passages that clearly teach the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in those who are children of God. Why should we pray for that which we already have? Is there a single passage in Scripture that urges us to pray for the Holy Spirit? Our Lord did not include any such petition in the prayer we call His. Or is it just a typo and it should be “the gifts of the Holy Ghost”?
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

Dear George,

Indeed, our Lord DID urge us to pray for the Holy Spirit when He promised: "If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" Luke 11:13

Now, there is no question that our Lord graciously gives us the Holy Spirit in Baptism. But it is also no question that the Spirit is continuously received - not a one time thing - and goes on being received till we die. The way that Pr. John Kleinig puts it is: the Spirit can never be possessed but always be received.

Note that the Spirit is given the Apostles in Acts 2 and then again to them in Acts 4! Oh, and they also got Him on Easter Eve when Jesus breathed on them in John 20! God delights to pour out His Holy Spirit upon us - and the pouring is continual. Which is all another way of saying that His giving to us in Baptism does not cease on the day we are baptized; that is the day the giving of the Spirit into our lives is inaugurated.

Hope that helps! Pax!

tehazy said...

We pray so with our hymns. See the Pentecost hymns.

Paul said...

When we Lutherans figure out why we have so much trouble with asking for the Holy Spirit daily and continually ("why pray for that which we already have" -- same question could be applied to anything in the prayer our Lord taught us: forgiveness (got it),etc. etc. etc. maybe just maybe we will start to get beyond our cramped and tiny intellectual categories into the new creation that has come, is coming and will fully come on the Last Day.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comments. Regarding Luke 11, and asking for the Holy Spirit, in John 7 we read, “37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Our Lord was addressing people who did not yet have the Holy Spirit, just as those people to whom He spoke in Luke 11. But there is nothing here that urges us to pray for the Holy Spirit once we have received Him. Neither was there anything about it in our Lord’s final discourse with His disciples, when He made the promise of the Holy Spirit. But He did say that the joy they and we will have will not be taken away from us. Would we then have less joy if we had less of the Holy Spirit, and more if more? This whole way of reasoning is absurd and unscriptural.
Indeed, the Apostles received the Holy Spirit in John 20, but there is no reason to believe they received Him again in Acts 2, and Acts 4. There were many other people there who did not yet have the Holy Spirit. They indeed received Him, but there is nothing to indicate the Apostles received Him again. The fact that they were “all filled with the Holy Spirit” simply means that some received Him on that occasion and some were already “filled” with Him. Every time Scripture mentions being “full of the Holy Spirit” does not mean they got another topping off. Can you really assert that once someone has the “tiniest bit of the Holy Spirit” they do not have the fullness of God dwelling in them? And this is not some “tiny cramped intellectual category.” This is the heart of the Gospel; that is the only reason it is important. Sasse had some things to say about this, but it would take up too much space here.
I assume we are all in agreement that we are discussing the Lord, the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. This is not some “substance” that makes people do unusual things. When they first received the Holy Spirit, the Apostles did not behave as they did on the day of Pentecost, because the Holy Spirit does His own will, which is also that of our Father and our Lord Jesus. He chose to show His power on the day of Pentecost, or the day of the Giving of the Law, for reasons which should be fairly obvious to us. But they were filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment our Lord breathed on them, just as any infant receives Him in baptism.
I repeat, if asking for the Holy Spirit is the chief object of prayer, would not our Lord mention it in the prayer we consider the most important of all? I mean, really, to leave out the “chief object”? As to Pentecost hymns, “Come Holy Spirit enter in, and in our hearts your work begin”? Isn’t that what happened when we were baptized? Does Scripture really teach that we start our life in Christ every Pentecost all over again? Where did this idea come from that the Lord, the Holy Spirit, is a quantifiable something that some Christians have more of and some less? Is it not enough for us that He dwells in us and gives us His priceless gifts?
The Holy Spirit does indeed continue to shower us with His gifts continually from the moment we enter the Kingdom, which it is our Father’s will to give to us. But He does so through His gifts, a fact so well documented in Scripture.
Finally, we do not pray for everything that we already have. We do not pray to become children of God. We do not pray for faith, although we do pray for the strengthening of our faith and for help in time of doubt. We pray for those things for which Scripture urges us to pray. We do not pray for those things God has clearly said He has given us, because that would cast doubts on the promises of God, the Faithful One.
Peace and Joy. George A. Marquart

Anonymous said...

Paul, I did not want to get into another topic, but since you compound error by making a virtue of error and then using it to create more, and for the sake of the Gospel, I am compelled to respond to your "’why pray for that which we already have’" -- same question could be applied to anything in the prayer our Lord taught us: forgiveness (got it),etc. etc.’ Can you really believe that our Lord, Who better than anyone knows the price He paid for the forgiveness of our sins, would ask us to pray for forgiveness when we are already forgiven? Would He Who is “The Word” waste words among the few precious ones in this prayer, so that two thousand years later some Lutherans, as they pray it, can say, “(wink, wink) we know all of our sins are forgiven, but we are humble and understanding, so that if You ask us, we will pray for that which we already have”? No! Our Lord means every word He speaks; He wants us to pray for forgiveness of only those sins that are not forgiven, although He is delighted when we continue to thank Him for the forgiveness of those sins that are. Is it the Sin against the Holy Spirit? No, that will never be forgiven. Is it the sin we have forgotten to confess? No, that is indeed forgiven. Is it the sin we committed, not knowing that it was a sin? No, that is also forgiven. What then could it be? Is it not there right in front of us? It is the sins we will commit during that day in which we eat the bread our Father gave us, even as He delivers us from evil.

And “the same question could be applied to anything in the prayer our Lord taught us”? Is there nobody else who is offended by this? Do not trivialize my God!

Nevertheless, Peace and Joy to all.
George A. Marquart