Question: What is the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost? Which is better to say? What do I need to know or do about the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus and believe correctly in God?
Response: This is an excellent question to which my response can only be one that is very basic (although I think that getting clear about basic matters is tremendously important).
First, “ghost” is simply an old translation of “spirit” into, first, German (Geist) and then into English (ghost). Therefore “spirit” and “ghost” are identical in meaning, but it is better to say “spirit” because today “ghost” brings with it other meanings, such as those in stories about ghosts and haunted houses. Continue reading
In response to a questioner reading Exodus 4:21-31, Clark Williamson writes:
In Exodus 4:21-31, before Moses goes back to Egypt to “perform before Pharaoh all the wonders that I [God] have put in your power,” and when Moses was on the way and stopped for the night, “the Lord met him and tried to kill him” (v. 24). The questioner says: “This is all hard to understand where God is coming from. God seems even a little crazy here, not so loving. What is going on in this scripture?”
This is a fine question and one that any reader should ask. It shows that we can say that the scriptures are inspired if we assume that God wants us to think. How should we understand this passage? And what should we think about God? In this response we will look first at how to understand the passage and second at the larger question of what we should think about God. Continue reading
Professor Clark Williamson replies:
This question is a classic in the literature of Christian theology. In the 17th century, Blaise Pascal agonizingly reflected on himself in relation to the immensity of the universe: “When I consider my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and behind it, the small space that I fill, or even see, engulfed in the immensity of space which I know not, and which knows not me, I am afraid…Who has set me here? By whose order and arrangement have this place and time been allotted me?”
Pascal was not asking a new question. Long ago the psalmist asked “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them” (8:3-4). Continue reading
Introduction to “Ask the Professor”
While waiting for glitches to be worked out of our new internet DiscplesNet Café, we’ve decided to go ahead and open one of the thought and discussion features of DisciplesNet Church that we have been working on: “Ask the Professor.”
New Testament accounts show Jesus constantly working to help his followers grow in understanding of God and God’s calling to them. At DisciplesNet, we try to apply this same standard to who we are. We are working on being a loving network of Christ’s disciples, constantly growing in understanding of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, ourselves, and others through the lens of God’s saving love and grace. We don’t believe that God minds our asking questions, but rather minds when we don’t ask questions about what worries us, or don’t allow God to be a conversation partner in the messages we are taking in from the religious sources in our lives. Continue reading