Since this week's reading is relatively brief and does not contain any sub-chapters, I've decided to cover it all in one post. Comments on previous chapters remain open.The Moral Idea of the Dogma of the Holy Spirit.
a. The Christian teaching about the Holy Spirit is not presented in a manner sufficiently clear for everyone to grasp its moral content. The properties of the Holy Spirit’s grace-filled gifts is an uncertain manner. Moreover, it remains completely unclear what significance there is in the Holy Spirit being “another Comforter.”
b. This obscurity gives cause to Tolstoy to insist that the Orthodox faith should not use the name “Christian,” but rather “Holy Spiritist.”
c. The teaching about the Holy Spirit was revealed in our Lord’s farewell conversation with His disciples. The Holy Spirit is called Comforter because He will comfort the followers of the Lord in their struggle with the world and the hatred of the world toward them. The Comforter will instill in the apostles the source of moral satisfaction that will teach them to celebrate amidst persecution.
d. It was better with this Comforter for the apostles in their preaching than with Jesus Christ Himself.
e. Even in worldly life, it is often necessary to encounter comforters to uplift us.
f. The high, holy significance of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is in bestowing upon the confessors of Christ’s truth a supernatural joy in the face of sorrows and an inner spiritual victory over the untruth of this world, crowning the struggles of the saints.
g. Christ called the Holy Spirit a Comforter in the sense of a source of moral satisfaction and self-assuredness of sufferers.
h. In the use of the Old Testament the word “comforter” (Greek, Paraclete; Hebrew, Menakhem) it designates a reconciliation with sufferings, an inner satisfaction, an appeasing of the good or the accusation of the evil.
i. It is the Comforter that will restrain the righteous from falling into sin and despondency if the fate of the righteous and of sinners is one and the same. Throughout the NT, the words “comfort” and “to be comforted” designate this inner satisfaction, and above all in the sense of comfort in sorrow and grief endured for the sake of God’s work in the struggle with the world and with one’s self.
j. Sin against the Holy Spirit is that conscious opposition to the testimony of the conscience, which thus cannot censure man as long as he remains in such voluntary obduracy. The Holy Spirit assures us that Christ abides in us and that we are God’s children, bestowing patience, hope, and love.
k. The divine services preserves this elevated teaching about the activity of the Holy Spirit.
l. The unsteady teaching teaching about grace inherent among sectarians compels them to depart from the Church and to hate it, as darkness hates light.
m. If one grants Tolstoy his error, that he has Christ’s faith, but without the Holy Spirit, then the difference between our faith and his would be precisely that which distinguishes the intelligent and self-denying faith of the apostles after Pentecost, from the faint-hearted faith they had during Christ’s lifetime.
n. The holiness of the Orthodox faith is realized in the manner in which Orthodox people never lose the the consciousness that God requires from them first of all in sanctity, that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts of an inner sanctification. The striving toward spiritual purity, this constant contrition for one’s spiritual impurity, is not only the fundamental mood of our faith, but also of believers, who always understands piety as a self-denying and even a suffering struggle for Christ’s truth, that struggle in which the Holy Spirit confirms Christians.
- How can Metropolitan Anthony claim that the teaching of the Holy Spirit has not been presented in a manner sufficient to grasp its moral content?
- What does Metropolitan Anthony mean by the phrase “moral satisfaction” in regard to the Holy Spirit?
- In what way was it better for the apostles to have “another Comforter” than with Christ Himself?
- What is in fact the moral idea of the main dogma of the faith? How does Metropolitan Anthony argue towards his conclusion? How convincing is his argument?