Gerhard Forde on the Spirit

“The Spirit is precisely unleashed upon us in the properly preached gospel, the Word of the crucified and risen one, which sets us free.  It is simply not… a ‘free-floating’ and occasional ‘force’ which may or may not visit this person or that one.  All such ‘free-floating’ spirits detached from the gospel were [in the reformation] highly suspect and deemed likely only to bind to the law in one subtle way or another.  The Spirit is detached from the Trinity.  So Luther, in outspoken fashion, could simply declare in the Smalcald Articles that ‘whatever is attributed to the Spirit apart from the Word and sacraments is of the devil?’  Why the devil?  Because the devil too is spirit, of course, but he also the enemy, the accuser, the spirit of slavery…  What is at stake is always the gospel.  Spirit detached from preached Word of the gospel and sacraments can be devastating.  There is, after all, more than one spirit; and we are admonished to test them lest we fall prey to the wrong ones.”

Gehard Forde’s Lutheran response to the Pentecostal view of sanctification found in “Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification.”

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