First, it is quite simply the fallacy known as an argument from silence. Simply put, a man who does not predicate or imply anything about a subject cannot be accused of saying false things about or misrepresenting that subject. If I take a moment to tell my friend how important fathers are for healthy families, my friend should not then think I am excluding or diminishing a mother’s importance. I am only attempting to say important and true things about fathers. If we want to praise mothers, we could go there next without the risk of contradicting anything I’ve said about fathers. It could even be the case that what I first say about fathers could set up an even higher view of mothers, if only my friend would allow the discussion to unfold.
The second error in thinking an emphasis on one subject is necessarily a de-emphasis on a separate subject is that we tend, in doing this, to impose our own false dichotomies onto the speaker’s ideas. There are many false dichotomies we as moderns often commit, wrongly forcing one thing to apparently contradict or exclude another: faith and reason, mind and heart, public and private, religion and politics, grace and law, freedom and boundaries. We impose mutual exclusivity where either reason or Scripture does not.
Here, then, we are led to two topics which some place at opposite sides of human activity: the Holy Spirit and man’s reason. It is the case that church history has indicated the importance of understanding the complexities of both God and man. It is, however, not the case that church history has indicated man’s reasoning faculties are somehow at odds with the Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit. It has been quite the contrary. Still, there are some corners of the Church where a man may espouse the life of the mind and be accused of denouncing the life of the Spirit. In hopes of avoiding such confusion, the following 35 theses ought to be considered:
1. God, in all three of his Persons, is logical in both existence and activity.
2. The Triune God is Lord of both the natural and the supernatural.
3. The will of God is intelligibly enacted by the Holy Spirit
4. The Triune God willfully made man to be a rational being.
5. The will of man produces intelligible and incarnational activity.
6. God expects that man employs his intellect in all aspects of his life.
7. The fall influenced man’s intellect no more than it did his heart, his soul, and his body.
8. The fall influenced man’s intellect no less than it did his heart, his soul, and his body.
9. The Holy Spirit is our greatest counselor.
10. All godly counsel will logically line up with Holy Scripture.
11. The Holy Spirit is our great comforter.
12. All godly comfort satisfies the whole person—heart, soul, mind, and strength.
13. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.
14. A "Spirit of truth" is a claim about the Spirit: that he and all his works logically and ontologically align with reality.
15. A "Spirit of truth" is a claim about truth: that reality is that which God brings into being by his Spirit.
16. A "Spirit of truth" is an additional claim about reality: that reality does not include those things which God by his Spirit has not brought into being.
17. To test the spirit means to discern, judge, and reasonably conclude something true or false about that spirit.
18. God chooses who will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and that choice is intelligent.
19. We are transformed by a renewing of our minds, and this renewal is the work of the Holy Spirit through the ministry of faithful and intelligent men.
20. A person cannot be spiritually converted without being mentally, emotionally, and physically converted.
21. The redemption of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit will redeem the whole man—heart, soul, mind, and strength.
22. To experience the Holy Spirit and his work is to know something true about him.
23. An emotional or spiritual experience cannot be separated from an intellectual experience.
24. If an experience is illogical, it is not a reliable sign of God’s work.
25. If a teaching about the Holy Spirit logically contradicts Holy Scripture, that teaching ought to be immediately thrown by and rejected.
26. Paradoxical verses about the Holy Spirit are not illogical.
27. Those to whom Jesus gives the Holy Spirit are to be witnesses, and a witness is an intelligible and judicial position.
28. In the early church the primary and most consistent fruit of being filled with the Holy Spirit is the teaching and preaching of God’s Word.
29. Any future spiritual awakenings will be accompanied and proven by a renewed interest in and vigor for the teaching and preaching of God’s Word.
30. Extemporaneous and instantaneous activity is not more genuinely the work of the Holy Spirit than ordered, planned, and well-reasoned activity.
31. Scripture is clear that to be out of one’s mind is a sign of not being filled by the Holy Spirit.
32. Scripture is clear that to have self-control of one’s intellectual faculties is to honor the Holy Spirit.
33. The Holy Spirit gives us a child’s faith, but he expects that from it will blossom an adult mind.
34. To neglect the life of the mind is to grieve the Holy Spirit.
35. To deny or ignore the Holy Spirit is to stunt and numb the life of the mind.