Watchtower’s Holy Spirit
June 4, 2021 E-Letter
While Peter thought on the vision the Spirit said unto him, “Behold three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: For I have sent them.”Acts 10:19-20 (KJV)
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To Jehovah’s Witnesses the Holy Spirit is not a Person. They say he is simply God’s active force, a power, by which Jehovah accomplishes His work, but without the attributes of personality.
This is easily disproven. But, to do that you need to have a string of scripture texts gathered beforehand to show them. You also need to have a definition of personality, or personhood, ready so that the texts you offer demonstrate the definition.
The Witnesses will agree with you on a commonly accepted definition of personality. That definition involves the attributes of personality which are, intellect, emotion and will. Also included within the above attributes is the concept of self-cognizance, or the ability to recognize one’s own individuality. This is illustrated by the use of the term “I” in speech.
The Watchtower Society has saddled Jehovah’s Witnesses with a problem of logical consistency that has not yet occurred to the vast majority of them. This problem of logic is the Christians opportunity to provoke them to think independently of the organization, something they are taught not to do.
The logical problem is this: Witnesses believe God is a “Spirit being” and a Person, having the attributes of personality, i.e., intellect, emotion and will.
They believe Jesus is a “spirit being,” a person, and has those same attributes.
Angels are believed to be “spirit beings” and have attributes of personality.
Satan, though fallen and evil, is considered a “spirit being” and a “person” in the sense of having personality.
The demons, like Satan, also have the attributes of personality, and are “spirit beings.”
However, there is in Watchtower theology one “Spirit” that does not have personality and that is the Holy Spirit. Why not? The exception of the Holy Spirit requires some justifying explanation.
There are in Scripture numerous texts showing the Personality of the Holy Spirit, but our focus will be on just a few. In Acts we see the Holy Spirit carrying on conversations, talking, with various people.
The passage cited at the beginning of this blog, Acts 10:19-20, comes in the context of Peter’s vision of the sheet being lowered with various animals in it. When the vision ends Peter is wondering about its meaning when “the Spirit” tells him that three men seek him, and he is to go with them for “I” have sent them. How can a non-personal “force” speak? How can a non-personal force recognize his own individuality by the use of the word “I”?
A similar passage is as follows:
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near and join thyself to this chariot.Acts 8:29
Here again, the Spirit speaks and demonstrates the attributes of intellect and will. Intellect is demonstrated by the recognition of the occasion of the Ethiopian eunuch reading from Isaiah, and will is demonstrated with the command to Philip to approach him with the gospel.
Certain men in Antioch are praying and …
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, “separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”Acts 13.2
Again you have the Spirit speaking in the first person, commanding, and using the word “I.” In verse 4 the identification of the Spirit is confirmed when it says they were “sent forth by the Holy Ghost.”
The final example of the Holy Spirit speaking is in Acts 21:11. A prophecy is uttered regarding Paul that is prefaced by “Thus saith the Holy Ghost.”
The problem these texts, and many more like them, present to Jehovah’s Witnesses is that Hebrews 9:14 calls the Holy Spirit eternal. Therefore, if the Spirit is a PERSON, has the attributes of personality (intellect, emotion and will), but is ETERNAL, then Who else can He be than God?
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