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Reviews | The Spirit of God

The Spirit of God

Alfred Nicholls

Paperback or e-book (ePub)

160 pages

The Spirit of God

The Christadelphian review (from April 1977)

The Spirit of God

THIS work by the Editor, Brother Alfred Nicholls, makes a much needed contribution to our literature. For far too long this subject has been neglected. Because of the possibility, and the fear, of becoming contaminated with the heretical views of orthodox beliefs, the pendulum swung to the other extreme and the subject has been almost forbidden. We are pleased to see that Brother Nicholls has courageously tackled the situation and his resulting book can be highly recommended. It states the sound Biblical doctrine of the Spirit of God and deals with it in its many aspects. It can, and we hope will, go a long way towards removing the prejudice which over long years has gathered around the subject.

The book consists of 158 pages, well bound in semi-stiff boards, with a Table of Contents, a Foreword by Brother Harry Tennant and then the author’s Preface. It has 20 chapters and concludes with a very full Index of Scripture References. The work should be read straight through for sheer enjoyment, as a preliminary to getting down to a detailed study, which will be found to be very rewarding. We should emphasise that the subject is dealt with so exhaustively and the supporting Scripture quotations are so numerous that a thorough study is of great profit. To peruse the book in a perfunctory manner does not do it justice at all.

The sequence of chapters is very logical. Commencing with “The Spirit of God”, the author deals successively with “The Spirit that Dwells”, “The Spirit that Creates”, “The Spirit that Acts”, and “The Spirit that Inspires”. This first group concludes with “The Spirit of Prophecy”, “The Spirit of the Lord” and “The Mind of the Lord”. Various manifestations of “The Power of the Highest” are described, culminating, as we should expect, in the descent of the Power of the Highest on the Virgin Mary, resulting in the birth of the only-begotten Son of God.

“An Habitation of God through the Spirit” explains how in past, present and future God “dwells” with His people. God’s particular dwelling was first with those who had become related to Him by covenant, Israel only; but because of their rejection of Jesus, this covenant relationship was extended to the Gentiles also. To reassure Peter and the witnesses he had brought with him to the house of Cornelius, the Holy Spirit fell upon them “as on us at the beginning”. This naturally leads up to “The True Tabernacle which the Lord Pitched”, followed by a section on “In Spirit and in Truth”. The designation of the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete is fully explained, with a section on the Spirit of Christ.

“And You hath he Quickened” deals with those who, formerly dead in trespasses and sins, have been “born again”, “begotten by the word of truth”. All through this book, although the title is “The Spirit of God”, it is emphasised that the real theme is God Himself and that “all God’s work is the activity of His Spirit”, fully explained in the chapter “The Working of His Mighty Power”, together with “The Washing of Water by the Word”. The chapter on “The Gift of God” smooths out many presentday difficulties, explaining both what it is and what it is not. “The Best Gifts” deals with first century miraculous gifts, but leads up to 1 Corinthians 13, “the greatest of these is love”.

There has been much misunderstanding over the meaning of Acts 2:38–9, particularly over the quotation from Joel’s prophecy. A careful study of the chapter “For the Promise is unto You” will, we are sure, help to remove such misunderstandings. In the final chapter on “The Unity of the Spirit” Brother Nicholls emphasises that the question of the “present possession” of the Holy Spirit does not arise, and that the view that the Holy Spirit is the medium through which God speaks independently in the life of the believer to produce faith, repentance, understanding, and eventually salvation, is an unscriptural idea. The value of prayer and the work of the angels are briefly summarised.

With the confirmed understanding which a careful study of this book can give us, we echo Brother Nicholl’s final quotation: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.”

JAMES CARTER

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