#0111 (Do) we believe in the Holy Spirit
Scripture relevant to today’s posting…
The Man of Lawlessness
2 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
2Thessilonians 2:1-4 (NIV)
Today’s posting is part 1 of a series titled: “Self-righteousness 2.0”. This series is based upon material to be included in my new book. As I am inspired to write this, I am posting these ideas on-the-fly, so they will be fleshed out and edited more before they get incorporated into the book. Today we are going back into the history books of the Catholic Church a little bit to look at the devolution of the power and authority of the Holy Ghost within Its doctrines and teachings. We will look at the Apostles’ Creed which is a profession of faith that Catholics recite during Mass. Being raised Catholic and attending Catholic school throughout my childhood; I attended daily Mass and recited this prayer countless times. I know there are many who share my experience in this.
Outline for this section…
- The Pharisees and Sadducees establish 1st model of self-righteousness.
- The Incredible Shrinking Holy Ghost
- The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell and on the 3rd day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and is seated on the right hand of the Father and from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen
The only real official description of the Holy Ghost given by the Catholic Church is one saying that they believe in the Holy Ghost (Spirit). In this prayer (which is more of a declaration of belief), this particular phrase can be viewed as so overly simplistic as to be offensive. There’s an adage that is brought to my mind by this gross understatement which says: The opposite of love isn’t hate—it’s indifference. This barebones acknowledgement of the existence of the 3rd person of the Godhead doesn’t say anything whatsoever about His/Her character or nature; it’s underwhelming and even demeaning. Imagine a parent who’s asked to talk about their own child and the only thing they have to offer is: “I have a child” and beyond this, nothing else! Shouldn’t the Church offer something more about the Holy Spirit—in an official capacity—something in the way of adoration or praise of this the 3rd person of the Trinity? I’m quite sure this wasn’t the intention of those who wrote this into this prayer, but there it is and it’s been like this for centuries and—left up to the Catholic hierarchy—will doubtlessly remain in the halls of Catholic doctrine for centuries to come. Why is this so? There are a couple of reasons which I wish to expound upon that hopefully will shed some light on this question and move the conversation on self-righteousness forward.
I think it’s mostly got to do with inexperience or lack of exposure to the Holy Ghost. This lack of exposure to the Holy Ghost is directly related to the teachings and doctrines of the Catholic Church. These doctrines and teachings have effectively pushed Her (I will use the feminine pronoun to reference the Holy Ghost from this point on) out of Her rightful place of authority and they have pulled up Her (now vacant) throne and sat itself down in Her place. In this way the doctrines and teachings of the Church have siphoned divine authority away from the Godhead! The longer this is allowed to go on, the more power the Church presumes upon itself and its clergy; the more the Holy Ghost becomes an allusive and rubbed-out concept inside the Catholic denominational bubble. My feeling is that religions are afraid of the Holy Ghost or at least the concept of Her; because if they invite Her into their midst, they’re concerned that She’ll pull stunt like Jesus pulled in the temple that time, and start over-turning vending machines and making a shambles of their order of worship and of their system of beliefs. Because this is the situation, they don’t like to say too much about Her; so the Catholic Church has made its official position to say nothing at all. In the 2nd line of the creed the writers venture out enough to say that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost; but that statement speaks to the nature of Jesus and doesn’t say a thing about the nature of the Holy Ghost.
If you have a question or a comment about this or other postings please feel free to send them in. As usual, thanks for reading.
TBC: Before the end of November, 2016