The Relevance of St. Basil's Pneumatology
to Modern Pentecostalism
by Sang-Hwan Lee*
Pneumatology is immensely important for
modern Pentecostalism. The modern Pentecostalism
emerges out of making an explicit connection between spiritual tongues and the
baptism of the Holy Spirit. The former is thought of the initial evidence of
the latter. This is a quite new
understanding, which is foreign to other established churches. It is
nonetheless a distinctive theological mark of the early stage of Pentecostalism.
Although the neo-pentecostalism that has appeared since 1960 does not insist
spiritual tongues as the only sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the
old-line (or classical) Pentecostalism did, the baptism and gifts of the
Holy Spirit still remains as the central predominant subject of Pentecostalism
as a whole. Pentecostalism is described with the one word, “pneumobaptistocentric.”
A serious criticism has been made to Pentecostalism
due to the narrowness of its theological scope and interest. Pentecostalism is
so preoccupied with the doctrine of the baptism and gifts (i.e., speaking in
other tongues). Anthony A. Hoekema criticizes that Pentecostalism can not be
sustained without this doctrine. There is naturally an attempt
to illustrate its diverse theological concerns and aspects in various places. The modern Pentecostalism
tries to adopt various theological traditions of the Evangelical church as its
own stands, so that it may assert its theological and historical continuity
with this church and thereby its evangelical orthodoxy.
Pentecostals’ acceptance of other
Christian traditions has not been always appreciated among scholars. It is not
very helpful for them to maintain and understand their theological particularity. Moreover, it lacks their own
theological creativeness. “Most Pentecostal teachers
used theologians from other traditions. Their own efforts have been casual,
sporadic, feeble, and neglected.” David W. Faupel thus states
that “a Pentecostal Theology has never actually been written.” His statement does not
naturally mean that there is no written Pentecostal theology at all. He never forbids Pentecostals
to use other orthodoxy Christian traditions to demonstrate their theological
position. The main intention of his statement here seems to stress that Pentecostals
fail to produce comprehensive doctrinal work that could represent the distinctive
stands of Pentecostalism in the major areas of Christian theology. It is thus a high time for
Pentecostals to apply their theological distinctiveness to the whole system of
Christian doctrine in order to demonstrate their theological creativeness.
This paper tries to relate St. Basil’s De Spiritu Sancto to modern Pentecostalism
by illustrating the educational implication of the former to the latter. It is
necessary for Pentecostals to learn from traditional Christian theology that
adheres to the biblical and apostolic teachings. Their learning is essential
not only to maintain their theological soundness but also to broaden their
theological perspectives. This is a way of overcoming the criticism of their
theological narrowness. The paper also views Basil’s thought from the Pentecostal
perspective to propose a possible creativeness and contribution of Pentecostalism
to Christian theology. The purpose of this paper
will be achieved by treating the nature of Basil’s pneumatology, its conceptual
basis, its distinction between the ousia and
hypostasis of the Holy Spirit, and
its presentation of the distinctive hypostasis
of the Spirit and His divine unity with God the Father and the Son.
2. A TRINITARIAN PNEUMATOLOGY
The Scripture talks about the action and
the being of the Holy Spirit in fairly simple forms. The narrative character of
its records evidences this fact well. The pneumatological formalization
gradually takes place along with the systematic development of Christian
Trinitarian theology by the early fathers of the church such as Tertullian, Origen
and Athanasius. Basil’s pneumatology is one of the outstanding examples of this
development. It has been regarded as the most prominent and influential
theology of the Holy Spirit in the earliest stage of Christianity. Thus it can certainly
contain the educational implication for Christian pneumatology throughout the
Basil (330-379), the bishop of Caesarea,
is the leading figure of the Cappadocian fathers, who played a vital role in
forming the trinitarian orthodoxy of the early church. He formulated De Spiritu Sancto in 374 or 375 at the request of his
friend, Amphilochius (the bishop of Iconium), for there was a great upsurging
of the Pneumatamachians (the Spirit-Fighters), who would recognize the
deity of the Son, but renounced that of the Holy Spirit by regarding him as a
creature. His pneumatology specifically aimed to renounce one of the prominent
Pneumatamachians, Eunomius, who was the disciple of the
leader of Arianism, Aetius, at that time.
The focus of Basil’s pneumatology rests on
demonstrating the deity of the Holy Spirit. His deity is argued by stressing
His unity with God the Father and the Son. The pattern of this
argumentation governs the form and content of Basil’s pneumatology. His pneumatology is neither
formulated for itself, nor an independent doctrine from others. Its
presentation and argument adopts “a tight trinitarian logico-theological
pattern.” It is designed to claim the
deity of the Holy Spirit from His trinitarian unity. Basil formulates
pneumatology in the light of the doctrine of the Trinity in order to defend
this doctrine. His pneumatology is the integral component of the doctrine of
the Trinity. Its orientation and formation is highly trinitarian.
Pentecostals should learn from Basil that
pneumatology should not be treated as an isolation doctrine from others. There
is a theological and systematic link between pneumatology and the doctrine of
the Trinity. It is impossible to have a proper view of the former without the
latter, or vice versa. The core
subject of pneumatology is the action and being of the Spirit of the triune
God. The particularity of His action and being cannot be mentioned without
considering His relationship with God the Father and the Son. The doctrine of
the Trinity should be constitutive and relational to and for Pentecostal
The constitutiveness of the doctrine of
the Trinity to pneumatology is apparently dismayed by oneness Pentecostalism,
which is one of the major aspects of modern Pentecostalism. The oneness Pentecostalism
that explicitly manifested itself in 1913 has a highly christocentric pneumatology. It eventually
denies its trinitarian nature that Basil professes. Its adherents (e.g., Frank
J. Ewart) insists on the baptism of the Holy Spirit (and water) only in the
name of Jesus on the basis of Acts 2:38, for the name of Jesus is
the singularly revealed name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The
primary clue of this interpretation is that Matthew 28:19 uses “the singular
form of the word ‘name’ with reference to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” The baptismal formula of
Matthew 28:19 consequently receives its full theological meaning and
justification in a unitarian concept of God in Jesus.
Oneness Pentecostals’ christocentric
concept of baptism denotes their unitarian concept of baptism in Christ. Their unitarian
concept of baptism gives rise to their unitarian concept of God. Although they present Jesus
Christ as the key to understand the nature of God, they do not consider him as
the second person of the Trinity. Jesus Christ, who is also called Father and
Holy Spirit elsewhere, is only the fully dispensed and revealed name of the one
God of the Old Testaments. They are more recently moving to “Christian
monotheists” in a sense that they would
not affirm the distinctive beings of the Trinity by treating them merely as
three different forms or modes or revelations of the one God. There is also a
tendency of modelism in the oneness Pentecostalism.
Its adherents do not realize that the
trinitarian concept of God is intrinsic to Christian theology and faith. This
concept is vital for the early fathers of the church to differentiate
Christianity from other religions. The orthodoxy of
Christianity is built upon its trinitarian theology that is traditionally
developed from the trinitarian baptismal formula. Basil develops the
trinitarian concept of God the Holy Spirit on the basis of the baptismal
formula in the Scripture and church rites. He teaches us that any
christological emphasis must not negate the trinitarian nature of Christian
theology. The christocentric character of his pneumatology is apparent, as he
asserts the unity of the Son with God the Father as the precondition of that of
the Holy Spirit with God the Father. If the Son’s unity were
rejected, it would not be possible to defend the Spirit’s unity. The
christocentric character, however, never nullify the trinitarian character of
his pneumatology. The distinctive action and being of the Holy Spirit is
affirmed in terms of His relation to God the Father and the Son. The pattern of
this affirmation is the predominant feature of his pneumatology. Its
christocentric character is mentioned within its trinitarian framework.
His pneumatology is educational for us to
develop our whole theology (including pneumatology) in terms of christocentric
trinitarianism. The christocentric trinitarianism, if I may say so, is to
present Christian theology (pneumatology) from the perspective of Jesus Christ
(Christology) without undermining the trinitarian concept of God (the doctrine
of the Trinity). If the distinctive
character of Pentecostalism is to highlight the theological implication of the
baptism and consequent gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pentecostals could have the
most promising position to produce the most outstanding trinitarian form of
theology. The baptism of the Holy Spirit furnishes us with the most concrete
and actual knowledge of the trinitarian being and action of God. We are
baptized with the Holy Spirit in the reality of God the Father and the Son
Jesus Christ. God the Father grants every benefit of the Spirit to us and for
us though the Son Jesus Christ. The demonstration of a
consistent trinitarian theology from the epistemological actuality of the
triune God in the baptism of the Holy Spirit could be Pentecostals’ remarkable
contribution to Christian theology. Their theological creativeness can be
recognized in applying the theological implication of the baptism of the Holy
Spirit to the formation of trinitarian theology.
3. FAITH AS THE NOETIC AND CONCEPTUAL
POSSIBILITY OF PNEUMATOLOGY
The false concept of baptism and God in
the oneness Pentecostalism entails its false interpretation of the Scripture. It
asserts the literal meaning of the biblical language, that is, Matthew’s use of
the singular form of the word ‘name’ for the reference of the Trinity, as the
supporting evidence of its unitarian concept of baptism and God. This is a
fundamentalist interpretation that determines the being of the triune God in
baptism on the basis of external evidences of the biblical language. Pentecostals should
distance themselves from this kind of fundamentalism once for all. There is a
serious fault in this. It fails to differentiate language from being in the sense
that it determines the being of God directly from the human language of the Bible.
Pentecostals take seriously Basil’s treatment of fundamentalists, who consider
a particular form or various expressions of the biblical language itself as the
theological basis, as heretic.
His pneumatology begins with the
indication that his opponents criticize him due to his use of doxology to God
the Father in both forms, at one time, “with
the Son and together with the
Holy Spirit” and at another “through the
Son in the Holy Spirit.” They wrongly think that
these two forms are contradictory to each other. The latter form that
attributes glory only to God the Father is only biblical and legitimate, while
the former that ascribes glory also to the Son and the Holy Spirit with God the
Father is innovative and thus unbiblical and illegitimate. The scriptural use
of various prepositions and syllables for God the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit, as they suggest, is the conclusive evidence for the variation of their
nature. The main intention of their
suggestion is to deny the deity of the Holy Spirit (and the Son) by
differentiating his nature from the divine nature of God the Father. Thereby
they declare that God the Father alone is truly divine, and he is only worthy
to be glorified.
Basil strongly opposes their view, for it
is wrong and heretic to explain the triune nature of God through a systematic
investigation of various linguistic prepositions and syllables of the Bible.
This is “an old sophism, invented by Aetius, the champion of this heresy.” Its argument derives from
unpractical pagan philosophy and vain delusion. It involved a deep and
convert design against the sound doctrine of the divine Spirit. Basil claims that the
biblical writers use various linguistic prepositions, phrases, and syllables to
express the trinitarian nature and action of God in diverse ways and
circumstances. In other words, they have
no intention to propose a diverse nature of God through these in order to deny
the deity of the Holy Spirit (and the Son).
For instance, the phrase “by or through” is used not only to
describe the Son but also the Father and the Holy Spirit. It seems that the biblical
writers do not give the great concern and significance to linguistic phrases.
“Scripture varies its expressions as occasion required, according to the
circumstances of the case.” St. Paul expresses the same
subject, our Lord the Word of God, in the words “of him and through him and to
him are all things” in Rom 11:36. The preposition “in” is deployed to describe God the
Father in Eph 3:9 and 2 Thess 1:1. Paul uses the preposition “of whom” in Gal 6:8 and “by or through whom” in 1
Cor 1:9 to indicate the being and action of the Holy Spirit. There is a great effort to
argue the applicability of the phrase “through
whom” to all members of the Trinity.
Basil teaches us to formulate our
pneumatology on the basis of our actual and living experience of the Holy
Spirit in faith. This is not naturally meant to encourage us to dismay the
importance of the Scripture for our theology. He seriously considers scriptural
references about the Holy Spirit for his pneumatology. His pneumatology is the
hermeneutical outcome of these references in the light of the living experience
of the Holy Spirit in faith. It attempts to harmonize the living experience of
the trinitarian unity of the Spirit in faith with its scriptural witness in the
baptismal formula. Its conceptual basis in faith seems to be the very reason
for him also to take the unwritten tradition of trinitarian doxology in the
church rite (e.g., the eucharistic and baptismal service) as the supporting
evidence of the trinitarian unity of the Spirit. For this unwritten
tradition that ascribes glory and might to God the Father and the Son with the
Holy Spirit by the early fathers (e.g., Dionysius of Alexandria, Origen) is the confession of faith.
The preposition “in” states the truth rather relatively
to ourselves; while “with” proclaims
the fellowship of the Spirit with God. . . Thus we ascribe glory to God both “in” the Spirit, and “with” the Spirit; and herein it is not
our word that we use, but we follow the teaching of the Lord as we might a
fixed rule, and transfer His word to things His word to things connected and
closely related, and of which the conjunction in the mysteries is necessary. We
have deemed ourselves under a necessary obligation to combine in our confession
of the faith Him who is numbered with them at Baptism, and we have treated the
confession of faith as the origin and parent of the doxology.
Faith is the noetic and conceptual
possibility of Basil’s pneumatology, which is aimed to defend the deity and the
equal glory and might of the Spirit through the assertion of His trinitarian
unity. The significance of its conceptual basis in faith is remarkable. It not
only prevents us from falling into scriptural formalism, but it also enables us
to presuppose theological dynamism and actualism and objectivism. The content of faith which
Basil suggests is the dynamic and actual experience of the objective reality of
the Trinity. The objective ontology of the Spirit determines our epistemology,
knowledge and conceptualization of Him in faith which the Bible testifies. For
Basil, the main purpose of the Bible is to refer their ultimate truth beyond
their language to the objective reality of the triune God. There is no an
autonomous power to witness His objective reality in the Bible itself, as
fundamentalists imply. It belongs to the internal witness of God the Holy
Spirit, as the Reformed theologians (e.g., Calvin and Karl Barth) also stress.
The commitment to theological objectivism
is vivid at the outset of Basil’s pneumatology. Here he firmly states that he
allows his exposition of the pneumatological subject to be guided by the
objective reality of the Holy Spirit Himself. His commitment here is indispensable
for the creditability of his pneumatology. It decisively forbids his
pneumatology falling into mere rational and speculative intellectualism. There
is also the dogmatic freedom, autonomy and positivity in the conceptual basis
in faith. Faith has its freedom that
is granted by the freedom of the Holy Spirit. Basil apparently admits that his
fidelity to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in freedom is the decisive fact
that makes him free from bondage to the mere scriptural words for his
pneumatology. The dependence of the
freedom of the Holy Spirit in faith generates his dogmatic freedom, autonomy
and positivity to formulate various biblical and ritual expressions of Him in
accordance with the actual experience of Him in faith. It has to be meanwhile
said that Basil’s serious consideration of biblical and ritual references for
theological formulation is not unimportant, for it prohibits him to involve in
any kind of theological spiritualism and mysticism that does not have its
scriptural and ecclesiastical references and bases. Theology is the product and
service of the church in faith. It must be referred to the Scripture, which is
the canon of the church.
The importance of our dependency on the
sovereign freedom of God the Holy Spirit in our theological formulation is
this. It enables us to maintain the objective reality of God in the
subjectivity of our faith. This maintenance, claims D. W. Hardy and D. F. Ford, is the vital fact for us
not only to evade a subjective formalism (which is noticeable in
Schleiermacher’s theology) but also to uphold a
theological dynamism, actualism and objectivism. The maintenance of the
objective reality of God in the subjectivity of our faith is a scientific
method of theology. It presupposes the
determinative role of the objective and rational reality of God the Holy Spirit
in our theological investigation, knowledge and conceptualization of His true
nature, just as a scientific investigator depends on the inherent
intelligibility of the object for knowledge of its true nature. The scientific
method would not allow us to associate with any kind of speculative
pneumatology that imposes any a priori
philosophical and theological presupposition for knowledge of the true being
and action of the Holy Spirit.
It is a time for Pentecostals to formulate
their theology in a scientific method. They need to demonstrate the scientific
nature of their theology in a intelligent, cogent and systematic way, so that
their Pentecostal theology would be no longer regarded as unsystematic,
unconvincing, unscientific and unintelligent. Pentecostals could have the most
promising ground for a scientific pneumatology, for they could claim the most
concrete knowledge of the objective reality of the Holy Spirit in baptism as
the starting point of their pneumatology. The dynamic objectivity of the Spirit
in their subjectivity of faith allows them to declare genuine dynamism and
objectivism of their pneumatology. Its objectivism is crucial for the evidence
of its creditability. Their theological objectivism gives rise to their
theological actualism, preventing them from falling into a speculative theology
that discusses the being and action of the Spirit without actual experience of
4. THE DISTINCTION OF THE OUSIA AND THE HYPOSTASIS
Basil asserts that diverse prepositions
and phrases for the expression of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in
Scripture illustrate their distinctive hypostases. Their intention is not to
introduce the diversity of the nature or essence (ούσία) of the Trinity that
implies some from of tritheism. Their scriptural usage is geared to make out
the distinctiveness of each hypostasis (ύποστάσεις) of the Trinity, so that
their notion may not to be confounded. Basil helps us to see the
distinctive connotation between the ousia
and the hypostasis of the triune God.
The ousia of God the Father is the
origin or source of the three hypostases
of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The significance of this distinction is
that it offers a doctrinal possibility of the distinctiveness of each member of
the Trinity. Their threefold distinctiveness is not possible without
acknowledging the qualitative distinction between the hypostasis and the nature
or essence of God. Basil’s distinction here “is the first and most famous
assertion and defense of it” in the history of the
earliest trinitarian doctrine of the church. His Origenistic assertion of the three
hypostases of the Trinity would not be acceptable to those (e.g., Athanasius)
who would like to express the trinitarian relationship in terms of the doctrine
of the homoousion at Nicaea, and understood the ousia in terms of the hypostasis. His assertion is greatly
influential for the outcome of the Council of Constantinople.
The one essence (μία ούσία) of the Trinity denotes a
real existence for Basil. There is, however, no explanation of the nature of
the ousia. This is the inner reality
of God that transcends our cognition. It is known only to God himself,
remaining as mysterious to us. Basil warns us not to treat the ousia as a separable reality from the
Trinity, for the ousia is the essence
of God the Father. Their inseparability decisively eliminates any suggestion of
a fourth reality of God apart from the Trinity. It is important to notice that
Basil does not propose the one substance (μία ούσία) as the one God, as
Augustine would do. For him, the one true God
is the Father himself. The one substance (μία ούσία) of God the Father is the
source of the three hypostases of the Trinity. The one substance (μία ούσία) of God is not regarded as
the source of the Trinity. This suggests a division between the oneness and the
threeness of God that implies a fourth reality of God.
The implication of the designation of the
Father as the only cause of the Godhead is highly remarkable. As John D. Zizioulas
says, “this would make the Trinity a matter of ontological freedom.” Aiming at
understanding freedom in ontology is “something that Greek philosophy had never
done before.” For God the Father in His
sovereign freedom and will brings about the generation of Son and the
procession of the Holy Spirit. The three hypostases of the Trinity are no
longer seen as the ontological necessity of the one divine substance. Moreover,
the designation of God the Father as the source of the Godhead inspires us to interpret
the oneness of God in terms of the one personal God the Father, although Basil
himself does not do so. His recognition of the conscious individuality of God
the Father in His will certainly encourages us to think of Him as a conscious
personal being and subject. His one personal conscious
being and subject is indispensable to affirm the genuine involvement of his
oneness in action.
The knowledge of the three hypostases of
the Trinity is not mysterious and abstract for Basil. We can encounter and perceive
their distinctiveness, as they reveal themselves in the subjectivity of our
faith through their distinctive works. The major aim of the
conceptual use of the hypostasis is to underscore the fullness and ontological
integrity of each member of the Trinity. It is to stress the actual existence
of the distinctive individual beings of the Trinity.
There is a specific goal in this. This is to evade Sebellian modalism that
denies the substantial beings of the Trinity by interpreting them as three
different modes and roles of the one God. This is the reason, says Zizioulas, that Basil refuses to use
the term “person” (πρόσωπον, persona) which Tertullian and Athanasius would use. It is loaded
with connotation of the masked person on the theatrical stage, acting someone
else. It consequently dismays the actual and distinctive substance and being of
the acted person.
Each hypostasis of the Trinity has its
self-will for Basil. It would not be difficult
for us to understand their each hypostasis in terms of a conscious personal
being and subject. The existence of their self-will would not be possible
without the existence of their conscious personhood and subjectivity. Basil
does not realize the important reason for this understanding. It is, however,
vital for us, for we can not acknowledge the distinctive beings of the Trinity
and their genuine involvement in their distinctive actions without presupposing
their distinctive conscious personhood and subjectivity. It does not seem to be
very difficult for Pentecostals to acknowledge the distinctive personal being
and subject of each member of the Trinity. They could encounter the distinctive
personal being and subject of the Holy Spirit through their conversation with
Him, as they experience the gifts of the Spirit (e.g., speaking in other
tongues and prophecies) by His baptism. These gifts of the Spirit require a
certain kind of intelligent communication between ourselves and Him. Their intelligent
communication is unthinkable without presupposing their distinctive personal
beings and subjects. Pentecostals could present the distinctive personal being
and subject of the Holy Spirit as the conceptual basis of that of the Son and
the Father. This could be seen as their theological creativeness and
contribution to the whole church.
5. THE DEFINITION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The distinctive character of the Holy
Spirit can be defined in two ways. One is to do this in the light of the
trinitarian relationship of the Spirit. Basil, like Athanasius, defines the
distinctiveness of the Holy Spirit in terms of His relation to God the Father
and the Son. The status and position in
their relationship defines the distinctiveness of each member of the Trinity.
The definition of this kind occupies the major part of Basil’s treatise of
pneumatology. The other is to treat the distinctiveness of the Spirit in terms
of His own distinctive action. Basil’s treatment of this kind is rather short. It is nevertheless very
helpful for us to understand the distinctive being and action of the Holy
God’s spirit, which the Old Testament mentions,
is not the distinctive and proper name for Basil. It conveys the connotation of
an acting power or instrument of God. His concept of the Holy Spirit is based
on the New Testament’s concept of the individual being. He wants us to consider
the Holy Spirit as His proper and particular title. The nature of the Holy
Spirit is distinctively spiritual and appropriate to everything that is
incorporeal, purely immaterial, and indivisible. He makes God’s people
spiritual by dwelling in their souls through their spiritual fellowship, and
has a particular individual living substance and being that is intelligent,
eternal, omnipotent, and omnipresent. His pure, intelligent, and supermundane
power perfects the creative will and cause of God the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is the
Perfecter and Executor of the will and cause of God the Father and the Son.
Basil encourages modern Pentecostals to
uphold the Holy Spirit as an intelligent, conscious and individual person. The
Holy Spirit is not a mere impersonal divine power. His assertion of the Spirit
as the self-sufficient being is noticeable. His nature is not subject to any
kind of change and variation like the nature of a creature. He does not lack
anything for the self-existence that needs not to be resorted and added for a
full growing. As the fully self-established being, his distinctive character is
the Giver of life, grace, all-good gifts, and power of God according to the
proportion of faith. Although there is no detailed description of what these
gifts are, there is no doubt that Basil means all the gifts that the Scripture
mentions about (e.g., tongues, the interpretation of tongues, healing,
prophecy, the working of miracles, the utterance of wisdom and knowledge). If
he opposed their actual occurrence, he would definitely say so.
In fact, Basil explicitly states that the
Holy Spirit distributes all gifts of God (including tongues, prophecy, healing
and miracles) together with God the Father and the Son to those who need and
seek them. He seemingly supports for
modern Pentecostals’ claim of the possibility of the actual occurrence and
experience of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit which the Scripture testifies.
It is difficult to find the substantial evidence of denial of their actual
experience and occurrence until his time, although there would be a serious
question over their authenticity. The major issue and
argument regarding the Holy Spirit up to his time was the reliability of his
divinity. The cessation theory of the scriptural gifts of the Holy Spirit,
which Pentecostals so strongly oppose, was explicitly proposed a few decades
later by Chrysostom (347-407) and Augustine (354-430) for the first time in the
history of the church.
Basil does not seek for the initial
evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit from any one of His gifts, as the classical
Pentecostals do. His recognition of the baptism of the Spirit is, however,
vivid by differentiating it from the baptism by water. They give raise to a
different degree and kind of God’s grace. This is, however, just to distinguish
the water-baptism of John and the baptism of the Holy Spirit from Jesus Christ. Basil neither separates the
water-spirit baptism, nor stresses the two different stages of God’s grace in
conversion and in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as modern Pentecostals argue.
Basil treats the water-spirit baptism, faith and baptism as a simultaneous
event for salvation. The water-baptism signifies the surrender of ourselves to
Christ, while the spirit-baptism empowers and renews our souls to put off our
sinful desires in order to live a holy and spiritual life. The baptism of the
Holy Spirit also occurs in the event of conversion and regeneration for Basil.
then symbolically signifies the putting off of the works of the flesh; as the
apostle says, ye were ‘circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in
putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
buried with in Baptism. . . . Hence it follows that the answer to our question
why the water was associated with the Spirit is clear: the reason is because in
baptism two ends were proposed; on the one hand, the destroying of the body of
sin, that it may never bear fruit unto death; on the other hand, our living
unto the Spirit, and having our fruit in holiness; the water receiving the body
as in a tomb figures death, while the Spirit pours in the quickening power,
renewing our souls from the deadness of sin unto their original life. This then
is what it is to be born again of water and of the Spirit. . . For baptism is
‘not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good
conscience towards God.’ So in training us for the life that follows on the
resurrection the Lord sets out all the manner of life required by the Gospel,
laying down for us the law of gentleness, of endurance of wrong, of freedom of
the defilement that comes of the love of pleasure, and from the covetousness,
to the end that we may of set purpose win beforehand and achieve all that the
life to come of its inherent nature possesses.
Having said the above, one could find Basil’s interesting
comment that the Holy Spirit distributes His “energy according to the
proportion of faith.”
This implies that the effect of the baptism of the Holy Spirit could be varied
in accordance with the different stages of faith. The variation of its effect
seem to suggest that Basil could also support Pentecostals’ claim of the
different stages and kinds of the grace of the Holy Spirit in Christian life.
One is His grace in conversion, and the other is His grace in furnishing the
believer with His power through His various gifts by His anointing baptism in
order to serve the will and glory of God by witnessing the Gospel of Christ.
The major effect of the baptism of the
Holy Spirit is expressed in terms of our holy and spiritual life for Basil. He presents the distinctive
being of the Spirit as the Sanctifier from the perspective of His distinctive
work of sanctification. His doctrine of sanctification adheres to the gradual
progress of holiness. It is not certainly Wesleyan. It does not suggest the
perfect eradication of sin of the flesh by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as
the Wesleyan doctrine of holiness presupposes. Rather it supports the Keswick
doctrine of holiness that underscores the endowment of the power of the Spirit
in baptism to resist sinful desires for service of the will of God that the
Gospel witnesses. There is also insinuation
of His distinctive being as the Inspirer and Illuminator from his distinctive
work of inspiration and illumination of God’s truth in the scriptural
revelation. The Holy Spirit as the Paraclete helps us to search and understand
the truth of God by inspiration and illumination. Above all, the eschatological
character of his pneumatology is perceivable. The Holy Spirit renders
foreknowledge of the future to and for us, bringing about our ultimate
salvation in the heavenly Kingdom of God.
6. THE DIVINE UNITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
There is a persistent emphasis on the
unity of the Holy Spirit with God the Father and the Son. His trinitarian unity
is vital for Barth to defend the deity and equality of the Spirit with God the
Father and the Son. His chief opponents are Arianists (i.e., Eunomius) who
regard the Holy Spirit as a creature by denying His deity, for they refuse to
admit His essential togetherness and unity with God the Father and the Son.
Basil’s defense of the deity of the Holy Spirit does not seem to be very
satisfactory. He does not explicitly assert that the Holy Spirit is God
Himself, thus he has a divine essence, as he does so in the case of the Son. The pattern of his argument
for the deity of the Spirit is implicit and indirect. His deity is only implied
by highlighting His trinitarian unity. This is perhaps because Basil would not
use the doctrine of the homoousion (όμοούσιον) for claiming His deity.
The doctrine, which implies the same divine substance of the Holy Spirit with
God the Father and the Son, would render a better position to profess the deity
of the Spirit.
Basil’s concept of the trinitarian unity
of the Holy Spirit sharply differs from that of his predecessor, Athanasius’. It is the same substance (όμοούσιος) for Athanasius, while Basil understands it
as the conjunction (συνάφεια). The inherent difficulty
of Athanasius’ concept is that it is hard to demonstrate the distinctive beings
of the Trinity in their same substance (όμοούσιος). Basil’s concept of the
trinitarian conjunction provides a solid ground for us to overcome this
difficulty. The conjunction denotes the togetherness and co-existence of the
distinctive hypostases of the Trinity. The concept of the trinitarian
conjunction enables us to depart from any suggestion of Sabellius’ modelism
that nullifies the distinctive beings of the Trinity by regarding them as merely
three different modes or revelations of the one God. For Basil, the distinctive
individual being of each member of the Trinity is integral and constitutive to
this union, in a sense that it is indispensable for their mutual fellowship and
union. The unity of the Trinity does not negate the distinctiveness of each
The meaning of the conjunction of the
Trinity is expounded by applying it to the connotation of the preposition “with” (μετά). His equality with God the
Father and the Son in glory and dignity is argued from the perspective of their
eternal conjunction, for He creates all things, baptizes and redeems us, distributes all gifts of
God, and judges the world in the
end with God the Father and the
Son. It is thus wrong to propose the sub-numeration of the Holy Spirit under
God the Father and the Son in all these things, for all have the one nature (:\" @bF\"). The Holy Spirit should be
thus dignified, honored, praised, glorified and worshiped in equality with God
the Father and the Son.
One may say, meanwhile, that it is
difficult to find the convincing impression of the genuine union of the Trinity
in Basil’s concept of the trinitarian conjunction. It predominantly conveys the
connotation of the co-existence of the three distinctive beings of the Trinity
in God. He is well aware of this difficulty. He makes an explicit attempt to
resolve it by adopting the doctrine of the principium
(beginning) of the Father. The one God the Father is regarded as the beginning
and origin of the Trinity in order to stress their genuine unity, for the
Trinity are rooted in the one source (μοναρχία) of God the Father. The
genuine oneness and unity of the Trinity is asserted on the basis of their one
source (μοναρχία) of God the Father. The reason that he rejects
the Western doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son (filioque) is that it
implies the existence of two sources (άρχαι) of the Godhead, and
consequently its division. The rejection here does not disregard the
inseparable relation between the Spirit and the Son. The recognition of the
Spirit’s procession through the Son
is apparent. The involvement of the
Spirit in all the redemptive events of the Son is also mentioned.
In his support for the older doctrine of
the μοναρχία of God the Father, Basil guards against the
charge of tritheism, affirming the oneness of
God as the conceptual basis of the unity and the equality of His Trinity. This
enables him to overcome the Origenist problem of trinitarian subordinationism. Wolfhart Pannenberg would
not adhere to this. Trinitarian
subordinationism is inherent to the doctrine of the μοναρχία of God the Father. The
doctrine forbids us to understand the unity of God as a mutual constitution of
the Trinity. It highlights the derivation of the Son and the Spirit always from
God the Father, the only source of the Godhead. They are thus subordinate to
God the Father. I find that the idea of a mutual constitution of the Trinity is
seemingly absurd. It implies that the Father also derives from the Son and the
Holy Spirit because they are one. Basil would prohibit the idea of a mutual
constitution of the Trinity, for it could presuppose three sources of God
implying tritheism, although Pannenberg opposes to it on the ground of the
oneness of the Trinity. But the Bible definitely supports the doctrine of the
one source of God the Father rather than that of the mutual constitution of the
Trinity. There is no problem to argue the genuine unity and oneness of God
through the doctrine of the μοναρχία of God the Father, if its
intention is accepted.
In his assertion of this doctrine that
proposes the inseparable oneness and unity of the Trinity, Basil seems to claim
the ontological participation of each member of the Trinity in the other two. Their oneness is the basis
for affirming their simultaneous movement and presence and involvement in all
things. It is the basis for implying the so-called doctrine of co-inherence, perichoresis (περιχώρησις), which claims that each
member of the Trinity possesses the being and action of the other two in their
genuine unity and oneness of their nature. There is no indication that
Basil proposes the derivation of the Father from the Son and Holy Spirit on the
basis of their mutual oneness and unity, as most of modern theologians (e.g.,
Karl Barth, Pannenberg, and T. F. Torrance) do.
The important fact is that the oneness of
God which Basil talks about is the constitutive unity of the distinctive beings
of the Trinity. The three distinctive hypostases of the Trinity are of one
substance or nature (μία ούσία) of God. There is a
simultaneous acknowledgement of the Trinity and Unity of God. Their dialectical
relation and tension is never nullified. The emphasis rests on the threeness in
the oneness rather than vice versa.
Its evidence is that Basil speaks of the oneness of God in terms of the
constitutive unity of the three distinctive hypostases of the Trinity. This
signifies that the acting subject of God is attributed to the Trinity in one
essence rather than vice versa.
The decisive reason for this attribution
is that the epistemology of the oneness (μία ούσία) of God is impossible to
us. The genuine oneness of the three distinctive hypostases is the inner
reality of God that is known only to Himself. It transcends our cognition,
remaining as a mystery to us. “The question as to how the individuality of the
each hypostasis is related to the ousia,
does not interest” Basil. For him, we
encounter and perceive the distinctive hypostases of the Trinity from the
revelation of their distinctive actions. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit are respectively designated as the Causer, the Sender, and the
Distributor on the basis of their distinctive action of causing, sending, and
distributing. Thus the epistemology
determines the concept of the trinitarian ontology of God for Basil. This is
precisely because we should not talk about His trinitarian ontology without our
actual epistemology and knowledge of it. It is the divine energy of the Holy
Spirit that enables us to perceive the trinitarian ontology of God.
Basil’s pneumatology is very relevant and
educational to modern Pentecostalism. It stimulates Pentecostals to maintain
the systematic relevance of their pneumatology to the doctrines of Christology
and the Trinity. The maintenance enables them to widen their theological spectrum
as well as to affirm the soundness of their theology. They could demonstrate
their theological creativeness by illustrating their living experience of the
gifts of the Holy Spirit in baptism as the basis of Christian trinitarian
theology. Basil teaches them that faith should be the noetic and conceptual
possibility of their pneumatology. It is the only way of obtaining their
theological freedom, creditability, actualism, dynamism, objectivism and
scientism that casts away any accusation of their theology as too mystic and
The best way of discussing the distinctive
character of the Holy Spirit is to view it from His trinitarian relationship.
Basil clearly teaches that the Spirit is not a mere acting power or instrument
of God. He is the self-sufficient and intelligent being, the Giver of life and
all good gifts to us and for us. He never professes cessation of the gifts of
the Holy Spirit in baptism. We could find the crude of his support for
Pentecostals’ claim of the two stages and kinds of the grace of the Spirit in
baptism. His doctrine of holiness is closer to the Keswick than the Wesleyan
Basil educates Pentecostals that the
affirmation of the distinction and unity of the Holy Spirit is essential to
form a trinitarian pneumatology. They can use his concept of the trinitarian
conjunction as their conceptual basis for the distinctiveness of the Trinity.
His conceptual distinction between the ousia
and the hypostasis is also
educational for them to assert the trinitarian distinction. The doctrine of the
one source (μοναρχία) of God the Father can be used as the conceptual ground for the
genuine unity and oneness of the triune God. It seems that this doctrine is
more acceptable and educational than the doctrine of the mutual constitution of
the Trinity, for the former is much more faithful to the trinitarian
spirituality of the Scripture.
The importance of the conceptual
development of conscious personhood and subjectivity of the Trinity is not
noticed by Basil. This development is, however, vital to resist against any
materialistic insinuation of the trinitarian being of God. Pentecostals’
intelligent communication with the Holy Spirit in baptism could be a good
starting point for claiming the distinctive personal being and subject of the
Spirit. The assertion of His distinctive personal being and subject as the
model for that of God the Father and the Son could be regarded as the
theological creativeness and contribution of Pentecostals to the Christian
The Pentecostal movement is modern, “a twentieth-century phenomenon,” Donald W.
Dayton, Theological Roots of
Pentecostalism (Grand Rapids: Francis Asbury Press, 1987), p. 9. The modern
Pentecostalism refers various theological ideas and stands that are upheld by
Charles F. Parham is the first person who explicitly taught spiritual tongues
as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is thus said that
the modern pentecostalism began with his teaching, Donald Gee, Pentecost: A Quarterly Review of Worldwide
Pentecostal Activity, No. 45, 1958, p. 17. Nils Bloch-Hoell, The Pentecostal Movement: Its Origin,
Development, and Distinctive Character (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1964),
pp. 23-24. John Thomas Nichol, Pentecostalism
(New York: Harper and Row, 1966), pp. 25ff. Frederick Dale Bruner, A Theology of the Holy Spirit (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), pp. 47-48. Robert Mapes Anderson, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1992), pp. 47ff. One of the remarkable
pupils of Parham, William Joseph Seymour, made the movement spread to the
world. His revival ministry from April of 1906 at Azusa Street in Los Angeles
provided a launching pad for this, Larry Christenson, “Pentecostalism’s
Forgotten Forerunner,” in Aspects of
Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins (New Jersey: Logos International, 1975), p.
Hoekema mentions that “the central doctrine of Neo-Pentecostalism is its
teaching on the baptism in the Holy Spirit. So basic is this teaching to the
Neo-Pentecostal movement that if you take this doctrine away from it, what you
have left is no longer Neo-Pentecostalism,” Holy
Spirit Baptism (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1972), p. 10.
See various examples of this in Walter J. Hollenweger, The Pentecostals (London: SCM Press, 1972).
Bruner states that apart from its doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit
the theological position of Pentecostalism is not sufficiently different from
majority American conservative evangelism, A
Theology of the Holy Spirit, p. 58.
Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism,
Marty thinks that there is a belief of Pentecostalism without its theology.
Pentecostalism and charismatic movements “were in no sense theologically
inventive, nor were they constituted on intellectual or cognitive foundation,” “Pentecostalism
in the Context,” p. 205.
The American Pentecostal Movement: A
Bibliographical Essay (Wilmore, KY: G. L. Fisher Library, 1973), p. 33.
He mentions Pentecostals’ theological works in various topics (e.g., the Holy
Spirit, Glosalalia, divine healing, prophecy, redemption, mission) in his
treatment of their theological distinctiveness, The American Pentecostal, pp. 33-41.
Faupel says that “the majority of scholarly works on the Pentecostal movement
are written an historical perspective,” The
American Pentecostal, p. 10.
The comment on the possible creativeness and contribution of Pentecostalism
here will be very belief. The space of this paper does not allow me to deal
with this point in greater detail. The major concern of the paper is to
illustrate the educational implication of St. Basil’s pneumatology to modern Pentecostalism.
John McIntyre indicates that the formalization of the church’s understanding of
the Holy Spirit emerged from the third century onwards, The Shape of Pneumatology (Edinburgh, England: T & T Clark,
1997), p. 75.
Basil Studer suggests that Basil’s pneumatology is better than Athanasius’,
although the latter (359) is earlier than the former (374/5). Athanasius did
not explicitly discuss the nature of the Spirit’s origin that is the essential
part of pneumatology, as Basil did, Trinity
and Incarnation, ed. Andrew Louth (Edinburgh, England: T & T Clark,
1993), pp. 148-49. We could regard Basil as “the most prominent theology of the
Holy Spirit in the Eastern Church. This honorary title is confirmed by the fact
that the second ecumenical council in its remaking of the Nicene Creed
essentially restates St. Basil’s teaching on the Holy Spirit,” pp. 148-49.
There are two more Cappadocian fathers known to us well. One is Basil’s younger
brother, Gregory of Nyssa who became the bishop of Nyssa, and the other one is
Basil’s friend, Gregory of Nazianzus, the bishop of Constantinople. They all
came from the Romean providence of Cappadocia, in modern Turkey. They
vigorously opposed any kind of Arianism that regarded the Son or the Holy
Spirit as a creature by developing the doctrine of the Trinity from the
Origenist trinitarianism. They, like Origen, asserted God the Father as the
only source of the Godhead, and the existence of three hypostases in one being
of God. Their assertion remains as the formal pattern of the Eastern
trinitarianism, Tony Lane, Christian
Thought (Herts, England: Lion Concise, 1984), pp. 22-34, 55.
 J. F. Bethune-Baker, An Introduction to the Early History of
Christian Doctrine (London: Methuen, 1903), p. 217.
 Tony Lane states that
Basil’s De Spiritu Sancto was written
to oppose the Macedonians, who recognized the deity of the Son, but refused the
Holy Spirit’s professing him as a creature, as the Homoeousian bishop of Constantinople, Mecedonius did, Christian Thought, p. 34. J. N. Kelly,
however, seems to say a different thing that the name of the Macedonians was
existed and used only after 380. There is thus no connection between Mecedonius, the Homoeousian bishop of
Constantinople, and Macedonianism. It is more appropriate for us to consider
the Pneumatomachians (Spirit-Fighters) as the ones who denied the deity of the
Holy Spirit just before the formulation of Basil’s De Spiritu Sancto. They were the left wing of the Homoeousians who emerged by distancing
themselves from Athanasius’ assertion of the Homoousion of the Holy Spirit with God the Father at Alexandria, Early Christian Doctrine (London: Adam
& Charles Black, 1958), p. 259.
 Bethune-Baker mentions that
Aetius was the leader of Arianism at his time. He propagated Arianism with his
two prominent disciples, Eunomius and Eudoxius, An Introduction to the Early, p. 178.
 P. Schaff and H. Wace,
eds., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers
(Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1989), Prolegomena xix.
 This point will be spelled
out in detail later.
McIntyre, The Shape of Pneumatology,
p. 85. Studer implies that the assertion of the deity of the Holy Spirit from
his unity with God the Father and the Son is also the pattern of Basil’s other
writings, e.g., the third book of his Contra
Eunomium 362/3 or 365 and his letter De
fide, The Shape, p. 149.
McIntyre, The Shape, p. 24.
As a matter of fact, all Pentecostal doctrines must have a trinitarian
orientation. The Christian theological activity is, as I see, nothing but
understanding, interpreting and conceptualizing all things in the light of the
action and being of the triune God.
William W. Menzies describes the Oneness Pentecostalism as one of the major
non-Wesleyan origins of the Pentecostal movement, “The Non-Wesleyan Origins of
the Pentecostal Movement,” Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic
Origins, pp. 81-98. David Reed also states that “the oneness movement began
within and has remained an integral part of the modern Pentecostal phenomenon
in America,” “Aspects of the Origins of Oneness Pentecostalism,” in Aspects, p. 154. He says that the
movement caused a major schism at the Fourth General Council of the Assemblies
of God held in St. Louis in 1916. Over one-fourth of its members, who supported
the movement, left it after the Council that condemned the movement. “The new
movement [of oneness Pentecostalism] reappeared within a year in organizational
form. Its growth to one-half million members in over twenty organization in the
United States can still be traced to the appeal it had in 1913,” p. 165. The
bracket is mine. Menzies says from the perspective of the Assemblies of God
that the permanent shape of the traditional Pentecostal movement emerged in
1916. Its fourth Council in 1916 declared the statements of its faith that set
it apart from the Holiness-Pentecostal bodies as well as the oneness segment of
American Pentecostalism. “The basic configuration of traditional American Pentecostalism
has remained fairly constant since that time,” “The Non-Wesleyan Origins,” p.
Frank J. Ewart admits that he openly taught the oneness pentecostalism (e.g.,
the oneness of the Godhead and baptism in Jesus’ name only) to his people for
the first time in the world-wide camp meeting, which was held in Arroyo Seco,
Cliforn in 1913, The Phenomenon of
Pentecost (Houston, Texas: Word Aflame Press, 1947), pp. 108-109. Fred J.
Foster indicates that there was also a remarkable open propagation of the
oneness pentecostalism in Western Canada in Winnipeg in November 1913, where
the “Annual Pentecostal Convention” was held. The guest speaker of the
convention, R. E. McAlister of Eastern Canada, who was the assistant evangelist
of Frank J. Ewart, delivered the message of the exclusive rite of water baptism
in Jesus’ name only, and Frank Small baptized thirty candidates in this
particular fashion, Think It Not Strange:
A History of the Oneness Movement (St. Louis: Pentecostal Publishing House,
1965), p. 60.
Reed, “Aspects of the Origins,” p. 147.
Reed, “Aspects of the Origins,” pp. 149-51.
Reed, “Aspects of the Origins,” p. 147.
De Spiritu Sancto, §68.
Basil’s trinitarian pneumatology begins with clarifying the relationship of the
Son, Jesus Christ, with God the Father. Their relationship affects the state of
the Holy Spirit in the triune God. Considerable space (De Spiritu Sancto, §13-21) is allocated to deal with it.
Basil declares the ever togetherness of the Son with God the Father in
creation, redemption, and eschaton from the Scripture (e.g., John 1:13-14), and
stresses their co-existence and equal glory and dignity by exploring the
meaning of the preposition “with,”
which is used for expression of their relationship (De Spiritu Sancto, §13-16). The Son is described as the Lord
God the Creator or the Image, Wisdom, and Power of God without any hesitation (De Spiritu Sancto, §17-20).
The Reformers (including Calvin) were not conscious of formulating their
theology from the perspective of christocentric trinitarianism in a systematic
and consistent way. Karl Barth, who is commonly regarded as one of the best
theologians of this century, consciously attempts to do this in his Church Dogmatics. He certainly succeeds
in presenting a christocentric theology. His christocentric theology, however,
fails to justify the trinitarian concept of God. There is no illustration of
the distinctive personal beings of the Trinity in his Dogmatics. For more detail, see Sang-Hwan Lee, The Revelation of the Triune God in the Theologies of John Calvin and
Karl Barth (Ph.D. dissertation; Durham, England: Durham University, 1995),
pp. 397-401. It is difficult to find Pentecostals who succeeds in formulating
their theology (i.e., the nature of the creator-God) in terms of christocentric
trinitarianism. In order words, the implication of the human and trinitarian
nature of Jesus Christ is not fully applied to the nature of the creator-God by
any Pentecostal theologians so far.
Bruner, who is considered as the best interpreter of the modern Pentecostalism
so far, e.g., Donald W. Dayton, Theological
Roots of Pentecostalism, p. 30, understands the theological distinctiveness
of Pentecostalism in this way, A Theology
of the Holy Spirit, pp. 57-9. Bruner’s understanding here relies on its
various commentators. E.g., Harold A. Fischer, “Progress of the Various Modern
Pentecostal Movements towards World Fellowship,” (Master’s thesis; Fort Worth: Texas
Christian University, 1952), pp. 58-60; Donald Gee, “The Weighty Messages,
Reports and Resolutions of the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches,”
Pentecostal: A Quarterly Review of
Worldwide Pentecostal Activity, 30 (Dec 1954), pp. 10ff.; cf., The Pentecostal Movement: Including the
Story of the War Years 1940-47 (London: Elim Publishing Co., 1949); Guy P.
Duffield, Pentecostal Preaching (New
York: Vantage Press, 1957), pp. 15-6; Nils Bloch-Hoell, The Pentecostal Movement: Its Origin, Development and Distinctive
Character (New York: Humanities Press, 1964), pp. 95-175; John Thomas
Nichol, Pentecostalism (New York:
Harper & Row, 1966), pp. 1-2; and W. J. Hollenweger, The Pentecostals, I, pp. 29-183.
William W. Menzies apparently indicates the formative influence of
fundamentalism in early Pentecostalism, “Non-Wesleyan Origins of Pentecostal
Movement,” pp. 83-5. He states that “the strong sense of kinship with
fundamentalism remained acute in the Pentecostal movement, even after the World
Christian Fundamentals Association at a convention in Chicago in May, 1928,” p
85, and “did affect the eventual shape of a significant part of the Pentecostal
movement,” p. 96. Meanwhile, it is fair to say that the oneness pentecostals
are not fundamentalists in nature, in a sense that they do not claim the
cessation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (e.g., speaking in other tongues and
healing and prophecy) as fundamentalists do. Faupel says that the
dispensational fundamentalists were the strongest critic of the pentecostal
movement at its beginning. They insisted that the manifestation of the gifts of
the Holy Spirit (e.g., speaking in other tongues and healing) in the twentieth
century were dispensationally impossible, for they were ceased with the
Apostles, The American Pentecostal
Movement: A Bibliographical Essay, p. 28.
De Spiritu Sancto, §4.
According to Basil, Aetius regards the three phrases, “of whom,” “by or through,” and “in whom” in 1 Cor 8:6 as the specially designed
ones to express the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They verify the
particular nature of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and thus they
can not be exchangeable, De Spiritu
De Spiritu Sancto, §2-3.
De Spiritu Sancto, §4.
Basil thus concludes that “they may establish the difference of nature, have
laid down the law that this phrase befits the Father alone,” De Spiritu Sancto, §6.
De Spiritu Sancto, §4.
According to Basil, Aetius regards the three phrases, “of whom,” “by or through,” and “in whom” in 1 Cor. 8:6 as the specially designed ones to express
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They respectively verify the
particular nature of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and thus they
cannot be exchangeable, §5-6.
Spiritu Sancto, §5.
De Spiritu Sancto, §4-5.
De Spiritu Sancto, §6.
De Spiritu Sancto, §7.
De Spiritu Sancto, §6.
De Spiritu Sancto, §7.
De Spiritu Sancto, §11.
De Spiritu Sancto, §9.
Basil gives other references, Matt 1:20, John 3:6, 24, and 1 Cor 2:10 for this,
De Spiritu Sancto, §9.
De Spiritu Sancto, §7-12.
The unwritten tradition which Basil refers here is thought of the apostolic
tradition that existed before the Council of Nicaea in 325. His argument of the
trinitarian unity of the Holy Spirit from the perspective of this unwritten
tradition is tactical and deliberate. The perspective provides a logical basis
for him to attack the logical weakness and the evidential limitation of his
opponents. They deny the unity of the Trinity not only because of their heretic
interpretation of the Bible but also because of their conceptual basis in the
written tradition until the Nicaea Creed which does not indicate the
trinitarian unity. See Henry Chadwick, The
Early Church (London: Penguin, 1967), 149. Kelly says that Basil’s
assertion of the unwritten apostolic tradition as the basis of theological
argument is not conventional, Early
Christian Doctrine, p. 46. Chadwick commends this, for it achieves a great
contribution to the development of trinitarian argument, The Early Church, p. 149.
De Spiritu Sancto, §72-4.
De Spiritu Sancto, §68.
Sang-Hwan Lee, The Revelation of the
Triune God, pp. 49-52, 229-38.
“Wherefore now with the help, if I may so say, of the Holy Spirit Himself, I
will approach the exposition of the subject,” De Spiritu Sancto, §2.
“We acknowledge that the word of the truth has in many places made use of these
expressions; yet we absolutely deny that the freedom of the Spirit is in
bondage to the pettiness of Paganism,” De
Spiritu Sancto, §6.
Jubilate (London: Darton Longman and
Tood, 1984), pp. 191-94.
Schleiermacher formulates his theology by depending entirely on the conscious
religious feeling of his subjectivity, The
Christian Faith, ed. H. R. MaCkintosh and J. S. Stewward (Edinburgh: T.
& T. Clark, 1989), pp. 131-41. The outcome of this seems to be some kind of
a theological subjectivism that falls into a subjective formalism. This is
because his theology would not allow the objective reality of God’s revelation
to determine the religious feeling of his subjectivity. Its dynamism genuinely
comes, as it responses to the objective reality of God, which is beyond his
Thomas F. Torrance is expert in this area, Theological
Science (London: Oxford University Press, 1969). Cf., Transformation and Convergence in the Frame of Knowledge (Belfast:
Christian Journals, 1984); Theology in
Reconstruction (London: SCM Press, 1965), pp. 76ff.; God and Rationality (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1971), pp. 31ff..
De Spiritu Sancto, §7.
De Spiritu Sancto, §37-8.
This is the comment of Blomfield Jackson, the translator of Basil’s De Spiritu Sancto, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. VIII, p. 5.
William J. Hill says that Athanasius does not distinguish ousia and hypostasis, The Three-Personed God (Washington,
D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1982), p. 46.
John D. Zizioulas, “The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity: the Significance of the
Cappadocian Contribution” in Trinitarian
Theology Today, ed. Christoph Schwobel (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1995),
Lane says that Basil’s assertion of the three hypostases was accepted by the
other two Cappadocian fathers who played a leading role in the Council of
Constantinople. They persuaded its participants to accept the word “three
hypostases” as its official notion for the Trinity. The Council apparently
professed that the three hypostases are of one substance of the Trinity (Christian Thought, pp. 29-35). Adolph
Harnack thus comments that Basil’s influence was great in resisting the
complete victory of the doctrine of the homoousion
at the Council of Constantinople (381). The doctrine of the homoousion that was upheld by Hosius,
Athanasius, Eustathius, and Marcellus at the Council of Nicea in 325 was
defeated. The real winners at the Council of Constantinople were the homoeousins (όμοιούσιον) who were sympathetic to the doctrine of
the homoousion, History of Dogma, vol. IV, trans. E. B. Speirs and J. Millar (London:
Williams & Norgate, 1898), p. 82.
Zizioulas, “The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity,” p. 52.
De Spiritu Sancto, §37-8.
Zizioulas, “The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity,” p. 51.
De Spiritu Sancto, §37-8.
De Spiritu Sancto, §27.
De Spiritu Sancto, §44.
“The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity,” p. 47.
De Spiritu Sancto, §37-8.
Basil explicitly states that the Holy Spirit has an intelligent substance and
being, De Spiritu Sancto, §38.
Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology,
vol. I, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1991), p.
One chapter (De Spiritu Sancto,
chapter 9 §22-3) is allocated for this out of thirty
De Spiritu Sancto, §46.
One of the major reasons that the early fathers of the church (i.e., Apollinaris,
the bishop of Hierapolis) strongly opposed the highly charismatic Montanists is
not their spiritual gifts themselves, but the faulty of them (i.e., prophecy).
For instance, Tertullian and Irenaeus admired their spiritual life and gifts.
Montanus and his female followers (Maximilla and Prisca or Priscilla)
prophesied the imminent end of the world by saying the imminent descent of the
heavenly Jerusalem at the village of Pepuza. The catholic church condemned them
as heretic by illustrating their false prophecy owing to its unfulfilment, Robert
M. Grant, Greek Apologists of the Second
Century (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1998), pp. 87-89. cf. Studer,
Trinity and Incarnation, pp. 56, 67,
P. Schaff and H. Wace, Nicene and
Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. XII (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1989), pp. 168-75.
“Furthermore, from this too may be apprehended the difference between the grace
that comes from the Spirit and the baptism by water: in that John indeed
baptized with water, but our Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost,” De Spiritu Sancto, §36.
De Spiritu Sancto, §22.
De Spiritu Sancto, §35.
See Menzies, “Non-Wesleyan Origins of Pentecostal Movement,” pp. 84-96. He
speaks of the Keswick-type of holiness teaching as one of the major
non-Wesleyan origins of Pentecostal movement, implying that the Keswick
teaching of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is embodied in the belief of the
International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, pp. 95-6.
De Spiritu Sancto, §13-21.
Harnack, History of Dogma, p. 85.
Hill indicates that Athanasius fails to explain his assertion of the
distinction of the Trinity, for he does not distinguish ousia and hypostasis at
the point where such a distinction might be most helpful, The Three-Personed God, p. 46.
Bethune-Barker, An Introduction to the
Early, pp. 104-07.
“It [the proposition with] does
indeed, equally well with the preposition ‘and,’
confute the mischief of Sabellius; and it sets forth quite as well as ‘and’ the distinction of the hypostases,
as in the words ‘I and my Father come,’ and ‘I and my father are one.’ In
addition to this the proof it contains of the eternal fellowship and
uninterrupted conjunction is excellent. For to say that the Son is with the Father is to exhibit at once
the distinction of the hypostases, and the inseparability of the fellowship,” De Spiritu Sancto, §59.
The bracket is mine.
It is worthwhile to notice the central basis of Basil’s employment of the
preposition ‘with’ for the
trinitarian unity of the Holy Spirit. He gets it from his own interpretation of
the baptismal formula of the Scripture (Matt 28:19, “baptizing them in the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”). He highlights that the
word “and” here derived from the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ. Its
equivalent meaning is the word “with.”
The reason for his preference of the word “with”
to “and” is that the former expresses
the trinitarian union of the Holy Spirit that is strongly felt in faith more
effectively than the latter does, De
Spiritu Sancto, §65-8. The word “in” (έν)
is used to illustrate the relation of the Holy Spirit to all creatures which He
dwells in, De Spiritu Sancto, §65.
De Spiritu Sancto, §38.
See De Spiritu Sancto, §28,
35, 36. Basil interprets Jesus’ Great Commission in Matt 28:19 as the evidence
of the togetherness of the Trinity, and strongly opposes the baptism for
redemption only in any single name of the Trinity. If each member of the
Trinity is separable from the other two, our Lord would not command us to
baptize in the whole name of the Trinity.
De Spiritu Sancto, §37,
De Spiritu Sancto, §40.
De Spiritu Sancto, §48-55.
“Worshipping as we do God of God, we both confess the distinction of the Persons,
and at the same time abide by the Monarchy. We do not fritter away the theology
in a divided plurality, because one Form, so to say, united in the
invariableness of the Godhead, is beheld in God the Father, and in God the Only
begotten. For the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son. . . herein
is the Unity. So that according to the distinction of Persons, both are one and
one, and according to the community of Nature, one. How, then, if one and one,
are there not two Gods? Because we speak of a king, and of the king’s image,
and not of two kings.” De Spiritu Sancto,
§45. Cf. §22,
De Spiritu Sancto, §45.
De Spiritu Sancto, §39.
Pannenberg illustrates the evidence that Tertullian and Origen presuppose the
doctrine of the μοναρχία of God the Father, Systematic Theology, vol. I, p. 279.
Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine, pp.
267-68. Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith,
De Spiritu Sancto, §43.
Hill says that Athanasius has influenced the Cappadocian fathers (including
Basil) to preclude “once and for all any tendency to think in subordinationist
terms,” The Three-Personed God, p.
The doctrine of the μοναρχία “means a relapse into subordinationism,
since the idea of the mutual defining of the distinctiveness of the persons
does not lead to the thought of an equally mutual ontological constitution of
their personhood but is interpreted in terms of relations of origin, of which
it can be said that strictly they are constitutive only for the personhood of
the Son and Spirit if the Father is the source and origin of deity,” Systematic Theology, vol. I, p. 280.
De Spiritu Sancto, §13,
41, 42, 45.
 Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine, p. 264.
 Studer, Trinity and Incarnatioin, p. 144.
 De Spiritu Sancto, §37-8.
 “One, moreover, is the Holy
Spirit, and we speak of Him singly, conjoined as He is to the one Father
through the one Son, and through Himself contemplating the adorable and blessed
Trinity,” De Spiritu Sancto, §45. Basil believes the Spirit has an intelligent power
and energy that inspires and illuminate us to search for the truth of God, De Spiritu Sancto, §22.