Holy Spirit

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The Holy Spirit, also called the Holy Ghost by prior generations, is the third person of the Holy Trinity, both distinct and coequal with God the Father and the Son (Jesus). Prayer directly to the Holy Spirit is an under-utilized way to obtain help, guidance, and motivation.

The Holy Spirit is the inspiring, driving force that enables one to achieve by overcoming difficulties, addiction, chaos, negativity, and even the Devil. The Holy Spirit is directly mentioned 98 times in the Bible (ESV).

The Holy Spirit embodies the mutual eternal love of the Father and the Son. The Greek term for the Holy Spirit is "Paraclete",[1] which means advocate or intercessor, thereby connoting a driving force for good. The Holy Spirit is God's present activity in our midst. When we sense God's leading, God's challenge, or God's support or comfort, we say that it's the Holy Spirit at work.[2]

The apostles credit the Holy Spirit with giving them the courage to spread the good news of Jesus Christ in a very hostile world. Scriptural references to the Holy Spirit are in both the Old and New Testaments, and include Proverbs 8:22-31, John 16:12-15, and Romans 5:1-5.

Development of a formal doctrine of the Holy Spirit

The first scriptural reference to the Holy Spirit occurs in Psalm 51:11, where King David prays for forgiveness after his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah:

"Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me."

The doctrine of the Holy Spirit and Holy Spirit baptism was preached by Jesus[3] and John the Baptist.[4] The Gospel of John also refers to it as "the Spirit without measure."[5] According to the Book of Acts, Jesus after His resurrection affirmed to His disciples that they would indeed be baptized with "The Holy Ghost", and would receive "Power (dunamis[6]), after that the Holy Ghost [was] come upon [them]" (Acts 1:4-8).

The Holy Spirit is essentially the Word of God.[7] Jesus says,

"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."[8]

Christian doctrine teaches that the Holy Spirit, guiding people in the way of truth, produces the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Subsequent historical developments

Another formal doctrine of the Holy Spirit did not begin to be developed until the early third century. Tertullian (c.160-c.225) and the Montanist heresy showed the need to distinguish between true and false activities of the Holy Spirit. Origen of Alexandria (c.185-c.254) taught that the Spirit worked primarily within the Church, whereas the Word (Christ) worked within the whole of creation... The doctrine of the Spirit was further elaborated by St. Augustine in his important work De Trinitate ("On the Trinity"), in which the Holy Spirit is seen as the bond of union and love between the Father and the Son.[9]

The Nicene Creed states:

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and Son, he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets.

Christians agree on the following two propositions:

  • The Holy Spirit (also known as The Holy Ghost) is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
  • Though really distinct, as a Person, from the Father and the Son, He is "one in being" with Them; being God like Them, He possesses with Them one and the same Divine Essence or Nature.

The Holy Spirit as part of the Holy Trinity is: Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Eternal and Equal (to the Father and the Son).

There is a key distinction between the Roman church and the Eastern Orthodox churches on a seemingly trivial, but extremely controversial, point. Western Christians believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father and the Son In other words, He proceeds, not by way of generation, but by way of inspiration,[10] from the Father and the Son together, as from a single principle. The Eastern Orthodox omit the italicized language. They believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son. The disagreement between the East and West is sometimes known as the filioque controversy, from the Latin word and enclitic for "and the Son," although such a term may more properly apply to the Great Schism of 1054.

The Holy Spirit inhabits all who desire its presence...

In the New Testament the word spirit and, perhaps, even the expression spirit of God signify at times the soul or man himself, since he is under the influence of God and aspires to things above; more frequently, especially in St. Paul, they signify God acting in man... to the Holy Ghost we attribute the operations of grace and the sanctification of souls, and in particular spiritual gifts and fruits.[11]

"...for the Father and the Son come with Him when He descends into our souls (John 14:23)."

"He performs a sanctifying work among men (St. Athanasius, 360 AC)."

Invocation of the Holy Spirit

Most powerful Holy Spirit,

come down upon us

and subdue us.

From heaven,

where the ordinary

is made glorious,

and glory seems

but ordinary,

bath us

with the brilliance

of your light

like dew.

- Celtic Prayer

Procession of the Spirit: Biblical Exegesis

main article Harmony of the Gospel (Conservative Version), chapter Twenty-eight

The Eastern Orthodox doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father alone is based on the word of Jesus in John 15:26 "the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father". Western Catholic doctrine is based on the fact that Jesus also stated that he himself "proceeded and came forth from God" in John 8:42, "I came from the Father, and have come into the world", that he said "I and the Father are One" John 10:30, and that he said of the Holy Spirit, "I will send him to you" John 16:7, and that the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ Romans 8:9.

Compare the following scriptures with their interlinear Greek texts:

John 15:26 "proceeds from the Father"
Greek ἐκπορεύεται ekporeuetai

multiple versions of John 15:26
John 16:28 "came from the Father"
Greek ἐξῆλθον exelthon

multiple versions of John 16:28
John 8:42 "I proceeded and came forth from God"
Greek ἐκ ek, ἐξῆλθον exelthon

multiple versions of John 8:42
Compare Strong's numbers:
1607 ἐκπορεύεται (ekporeuetai) "come from"
1537 ἐκ (ek) "come from, from out of"
1831 ἐξῆλθον (exēlthon) "come from"

These Greek synonyms appear as a grammatical demonstration that both the Holy Spirit and the Son proceed, come forth, from the Father (see parallel versions John 8:42). This also appears to Catholic exegetes to resolve the controversy over the filioque clause. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son, one God as one originating Principle from Whom the Spirit proceeds, "comes from" God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit in the Father and the Son, One God. The Spirit of the Father is the Spirit of the Son, the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11; 1 Corinthians 6:17). The Spirit Who proceeds from the Father simultaneously proceeds from the Son as proceeding forth eternally from one God.

"Every energy, every manifestation, comes from the Father, is expressed in the Son, and goes forth in the Holy Spirit." Vladimir Lossky [12].

The Son is eternally begotten by the Father, eternally begotten by the power of the Holy Spirit inherently dwelling in the Father and the Son, eternally begotten by God. According to Galatians 4:6 the Spirit "comes from" the Son and the Father, the Father Who sends the Spirit forth from the Son, the Son Who sends the Spirit forth from the Father: see the interlinear text of Galatians 4:6 with parallel versions of Galatians 4:6, and the interlinear text of John 8:42 with parallel versions of John 8:42, and the interlinear text of John 16:7 with parallel versions of John 16:7. Moreover, sacred scripture testifies that the Spirit of the Father is the Spirit of the Son and is one Spirit of God. Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11

See The Procession of the Holy Spirit and the Filioque Clause in the Nicene-Constantinople Creed, Michal Hunt (agapebiblestudy.com) The author cites St. John Chrysostom, the 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople, who contends that "there is no contradiction, since it is the Father who sends the Spirit and it is the Son who sends the Spirit, and the one Spirit who proceeds forth as sent from God is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son"—John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, Homily LXXV & LXXVII.

The Athanasian Creed of Saint Athanasius (ca. 296 to 298—2 May 373), the 4th century Bishop of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church, dogmatically states:

"21.The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten.
"22.The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.
"23.The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding."
The Greek text from the time of Athanasius and the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed has no punctuation, no commas.
Note the position of the first comma in the last sentence of the translation as quoted here above.
"The Holy Ghost is of the Father,
and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding."
When the comma (or semicolon, in other translations) is removed from immediately after "the Father" and positioned immediately after "of the Son", it reads:
"The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son,
neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding."
The first punctuation is Orthodox, and the second is Catholic.

Orthodoxy Christianity firmly defends the doctrine that the Holy Spirit proceeds forth from the Father alone fully according to the most ancient, unbroken apostolic faith of the original twelve apostles, and that the doctrine defended by Roman Catholicism in the Filioque Clause is unquestionably and undeniably an unorthodox (heterodox) heresy. Orthodoxy maintains that the Holy Spirit does not, did not, and never has, proceeded eternally from the Son of the Father as the one originating principle of being (the one principle of origination) within the interior oeconomia of the Divine and Holy Trinity, but only dia "through" the Son from the Father alone. The Father is not subordinate to the Son and the Holy Spirit; the Son is not subordinate to the Father and the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not subordinate to the Father and the Son; One God equally with God the Son, the Holy Spirit is God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, which all Seven Ecumenical (Trinitarian) Councils affirm.

The Orthodox Church holds to the canons of The Third Council of Ephesus 431 which had forbidden any further changes to the Nicene Creed, except for another Ecumenical Council, and according to the Eastern Patriarchs and Bishops also requiring the approbation of a Christian Emperor to be legitimate and binding. Two Ecumenical Councils fulfilling all the requirements of legitimacy demanded by the Eastern Christians and reuniting the Church of the East and the West affirmed the use of the Filioque Clause: The Second Council of Lyons 1274 and The Council of Florence 1439 (Florence-Ferrara-Basil).
The Second Council of Lyons was called to act on a firm pledge by Byzantine emperor Michael VIII to reunite the Eastern church with the West, with Pope Gregory X presiding over the council.
The Council of Florence was desired by Emperor Manuel II to discuss union, which, with the agreement of the Western Church, had his supportive authorization, together with the continuing approbation of the son of Emperor Manuel II, his successor, Emperor John Palaeologus VIII, the prominent figure in the discussions of the Council,. The Popes were Martin V, the Pope of the initial phase of planning, and Eugenius IV, authorizing and confirming the decisions and canons of the council.

See also

"Edicts of an ecumenical council are binding on Christians, but they are not binding on another ecumenical council unless they are pronouncing a matter of faith or morals."

At issue is the question of

whether the eternal Father through the Holy Spirit proceeding eternally forth from him spirates or "breathes forth" the eternal Word the Logos, the eternally-begotten Son "born of the Father before all ages",
or whether the eternal Father through the eternal Word the Logos, the eternally-begotten Son "born of the Father before all ages", spirates or "breathes forth" the Holy Spirit proceeding eternally forth from him,
or whether the Father and the Son, in unity of being, eternally spirate or "breathe forth" their one Holy Spirit simultaneously into each other as being one Divine Essence in God the Holy Spirit as One Being,
or whether the One Holy Spirit of the Father being the One Holy Spirit of the Son from Him as one Spirit within the Father and the Son is the essential Spirit of Unity of the Trinity Himself, the Person of the Holy Spirit in whom is the Father and the Son and with whom united eternally all Three Persons are One God.

According to the most ancient Greek fathers, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father to the Son and proceeds from the Son to the Father, proceeding eternally from each into the other, One God coming forth from One God, God from God to God in God, no one of the Persons "before or after another; none greater or less than another". See

The Athanasian Creed states the following points of orthodox catholic Christian dogma:

8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.
14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.
19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.
21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

The Catholic doctrine claims to be perfectly consonant with Athanasius in asserting that

  • In the Trinity there is one Unity of origin not three origins.
  • The Father and the Son are one Unity of origin of the Holy Spirit not two origins.
  • So the Holy Spirit proceeds from one Unity of origin undivided in the Father and the Son as One God in One God from One God, not proceeding from two sources of origin as divided and separated each from the other without Oneness in Unity, for "in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another" as Athanasius hath said and we so believe.

See the following Christian Monarchian articles against Trinitarianism:

—"The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are one God in three manifestations. There is one God and one Spirit and this God and this Spirit as to time and eternity is Father in creation, Son in redemption, and Holy Spirit in regeneration." ...
—"No one can accept the trinity without becoming at that very instant a Catholic. The creeds state this, and those who use the Creeds to substantiate their doctrine of the trinity proves they are Catholics." —G. Reckart (jesus-messiah.com)

Compare: Monarchianism; Modalism; Unitarianism.

Those denominations, churches and groups that refused to accept the Trinitarian doctrine as formally defined at the Council of Chalcedon are called non-Chalcedonian. They are represented today by several churches and sects.

Read John 14:10-23 (KJV); 15:26; and 16:7-15 (KJV).
Genesis 1:26; 11:7; Isaiah 48:16-17; 61:1; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; Luke 1:35; 3:21-22; Acts 10:38; Romans 8:9, 8:11; 15:30; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 13:14; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:4-6; Titus 3:4-6; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 20-21; Revelation 3:21-22.

"when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth"

In the Bible, a dove is often a symbol of the Holy Spirit.[13]

John 16:13. In the context of the Gospel, as interpreted by Christian tradition, the Spirit of truth is The Third Person of the Holy Trinity, God the Holy Spirit.

The greatest challenge in history has always been the question of truth. It is the central issue of religion and philosophy, which directly involves controversies over authority and education and the central debate between theism and atheism, the differences between paganism and Judaism and Christianity, and the divide between Catholicism and Protestantism with issues of Heresy and controversies over the canon of the Bible.

Roman Catholic magisterium teaching

See multiple commentaries on the following verses of the Bible relating to the Holy Spirit, and to discerning who has authority to teach the truth of God:
John 14:16
John 14:17
John 14:23
John 14:26
John 15:6
John 15:26
John 16:7
John 16:13
John 17:17 "thy word is truth"
John 18:37 "bear witness to the truth"
John 18:38 "What is truth?"
Deuteronomy 17:12
Deuteronomy 18:15
Matthew 10:40
Matthew 16:19
Matthew 18:17
Matthew 18:18
Matthew 28:20
Mark 9:37
Luke 10:16
John 13:20
Acts 4:18
Acts 4:19
Romans 13:1
Romans 16:17
1 Corinthians 3:16
1 Corinthians 3:17
Galatians 1:8
Ephesians 3:10 "through the church"
1 Timothy 3:15 "the pillar and ground of truth"
1 Timothy 4:1 "some", not "the church"
1 Timothy 6:3
1 Timothy 6:4
1 Timothy 6:5
2 Timothy 4:3
2 Timothy 4:4
Titus 3:1
Titus 3:10
Titus 3:11
Hebrews 12:15
Hebrews 13:17
2 Peter 1:20
2 Peter 1:21
2 Peter 2:1
2 Peter 2:10
2 Peter 3:16
2 Peter 3:17
1 John 2:18
2 John 10
Jude 8
Jude 11
Numbers 16:3
Revelation 22:18
Revelation 22:19

Both Roman church authorities and those denounced by them as rebellious heretics firmly assert against each other,

"Whoever opposes my interpretation of scripture is heretical and apostate and antichrist, and by repeatedly stubborn opposition to the clear meaning of scripture which I have set before you resists the authority and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and is manifestly an enemy of the truth and follower of the Devil."

At issue is the fulfillment of the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ guaranteeing the discernment of the fulness of the truth of the Gospel as actually revealed by God through the infallible guidance of the Spirit of truth.

Two fundamentally opposed positions confront anyone seeking to discern the truth of Christian doctrine:
—The truth of any doctrine proposed by the magisterium is always subordinate and subject to correction according to the interpretation of scripture by the discernment of the individual Christian believer and by the discernment of any group of ordinary like-minded Christians in agreement with each other under the infallible guiding inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
—The truth of any doctrine proposed by the individual Christian believer and by the discernment of any group of ordinary like-minded Christians in agreement with each other is always subordinate and subject to correction according to the interpretation of scripture by the discernment of the magisterium under the infallible guiding inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The ordinary Christian who has read the whole of scripture according to its simple and plain sense is faced with what appears to be the evident teaching in the Bible that no man nor company of men, no church nor public officers, are to interpret the Scripture of their own heads, according to their own minds, so as to make their private sense be the sense of Scripture, but to seek the understanding of it from God in humble obedience to those who are over them as chief shepherds of the flock (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-5), who through them shows them the fuller meaning of the word in the word itself, resolving doubts and controversies over it, and by his Spirit leads believers, in their searching the Scripture, into the understanding of his mind in it: God himself being the Author of the word. Those who reject authority reject God (Romans 13:1-2; Matthew 23:1-12; 1 Corinthians 4; 1 Peter 3:13-17). On the principle of sola scriptura the Bible has no text that commands foully insulting disrespect and disobedience toward authority, either pagan or Christian, civil authority or ecclesiastical head (1 Peter 2:12-23; 3:9-17; 2 Peter 2:9-11; Jude 8-10).

The following resources are relevant to the issue of discernment of truth "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you into all truth, forever." (John 14:15-16; 16:12-14)
Epistles of Ignatius about A.D. 110, regarding authority in the early church.
Pentarchy - Christianity - Britannica Encyclopedia (britannica.com) "Rule of Five"—The historical development of the five primary Patriarchates of the Christian Catholic Church, and the controversial removal of the Primacy of Authority from the Bishop of Rome to the Patriarch of Constantinople by the Emperor as earthly head of the Church.
Caesaropapism - Britannica Encyclopedia (britannica.com)
Conflict of Investitures - Catholic Encyclopedia (newadvent.org)
List of movements declared heretical by the Catholic Church - Wikipedia
Exsurge Domini Condemning the Errors of Martin Luther (papalencyclicals.net)
Against the Execrable Bull of the Antichrist (exerpt) (law2.umke.edu)
Luther: Sola Scriptura Had a "Devastating Effect"? – Beggars All (beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com)
Christian Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, by Archbishop Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) of Thyatira (orthodoxresearchinstitute.org)
Are Protestantism and Roman Catholicism Heretical? (orthodoxinfo.com)
How Should We Interpret the Bible, Part 1: Principles for Understanding God's Word. Apologetics, by Tim Chaffey (answersingenesis.org)
Tyndale's Ploughboy, Dr. Herbert L. Samworth (tyndalesploughboy.org) Protestant Hermeneutics on "Rightly dividing the Word of Truth"—Dr. Samworth offers a practical program of informed Biblical interpretation and systematic study from the Protestant perspective and Evangelical Christian tradition. (The Holy Spirit leading into all truth.)
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism with Dave Armstrong: Catholic Hermeneutics and Exegesis: Resources and Links, Dave Armstrong (patheos.com) Catholic Hermeneutics on "Holding to the traditions which you were taught" in which "we have the mind of Christ"—Dave Armstrong offers guidelines to an informed understanding of scripture without distortion and a listing of online sites and resources with practical programs of study from the Catholic perspective of 2000 years of orthodox catholic Christian tradition. (The Holy Spirit leading into all truth.)
An Orthodox Hermeneutic, by Fr. Stephen Freeman (ancientfaith.com) Orthodox Hermeneutics as the legitimate expression of the Christian doctrine that the Church is "manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart" (2 Corinthians 3:3)—Fr. Freeman declares that, to a certain extent, to say that the Scriptures are the Church’s book is a tautology, for either the Church as a whole, tradition, scripture and worship, is that epistle, written in the fleshy tables of the heart, or it is not the Church at all. Therefore a legitimately informed understanding of sacred scripture is properly done only according to the whole content of the pure Orthodox Faith of the Apostles apart from the adulterations of illegitimate and heretical distortions of non-Orthodox heterodoxy. See Orthodox Study Bible [1] [2] [3]. (The Holy Spirit leading into all truth.)
The So-called "Great Apostasy" Has Already Come to Pass! But it did not happen when non-Catholics claim it happened. And Holy Scripture teaches that it could not be the Church which Jesus Christ founded. Written by Bob Stanley (thecatholictreasurechest.com)
Neo-Montanism: Pentecostalism is the ancient heresy of Montanism revived (bible.ca)
Understanding The Charismatic Movement, Ed Stetzer (christianitytoday.com)

The most important key controversial argument drawn from the whole context of the above extensive list of Bible texts and others in the Bible is that "the true Church" is

  • not one founded by someone who teaches that the truth and the Holy Spirit departed from the earth for a time (centuries) so that the gospel of Christ was not taught in truth all that time
  • not one founded by someone who teaches that the gospel has "only now" been restored in all its fullness,
  • not one founded by someone who disobeyed those who were "over [him/her] in the Lord",
  • not one founded by someone who "went out from" a church and separated from it,
  • not one founded by someone who taught a doctrine different from the church he/she left,
  • not one founded by someone who teaches that the established secular governments and the religious authorities of any long-established institutional church of organized religion have no authority from God that the people of God are obligated to obey,
  • not one founded by someone who takes words out of the original languages of the book of the Bible or adds them,
  • not one founded by someone who falsifies copies of the Bible with changed texts, forged manuscripts or inaccurate translations which change its meaning,
  • not one founded by someone who removed books from the Bible or added books to the Bible,
  • not one founded by someone who changes the understanding of the meaning of biblical texts or the Bible as a whole with doctrinal distortions of interpretation and agenda-based commentaries,
  • not one founded by someone who claims a new revelation from God which contradicts the scriptures and abolishes all previous revelation and religion,
  • not one founded by someone who claims to be a messiah and savior superior to Jesus.

This argument is a form of mathematical logic or algebraic formulation (like the Argument from religious experience):

God exists,
God gave Jesus all authority in heaven and earth,
Jesus pointed to his miraculous works as evidence and cause to believe in his authority,
Jesus gave his twelve apostles all authority to teach and preach,
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit on the church to lead it into all truth forever,
the twelve apostles by their authority from Jesus from God under the Holy Spirit imparted the fullness of their authority to their successors through the laying on of their hands,
and the church was shepherded and ruled by the successors of the apostles with full apostolic authority,
who in turn by their authority imparted the fullness of apostolic authority to their successors,
who have guided infallibly by God the Holy Spirit the church established by Christ,
which has never lost its authority to preach and to teach and has never lost the truth:
therefore the one, holy, universal (catholic) and apostolic church is the only true church having the full Gospel of God and the full authority of Jesus Christ himself. See Apostolic succession.

Many former Protestants have accepted this argument to justify their conversion to the Catholic and Orthodox churches in direct opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Many Catholics and Orthodox Christians use this same reasoning to justify remaining with their churches. They insist that the doctrine and practices of the Church have been seriously maligned and erroneously misrepresented by both militant Protestants and militant Atheists.

See The Great Heresies (catholic.com)
a list of heresies committed by Catholics.
See Logical fallacy.

Against this argument, Evangelical, Reformed, Baptist, and Fundamentalist Christians proclaim that a Great Apostasy occurred shortly after the death of the last of the twelve original apostles of Jesus, which destroyed the purity of the Gospel as early as A.D. 95, and by compromise with pagan cultural influences (Gradualism) diluted it with false doctrine, pagan philosophy and pagan practices of mysticism and idolatry, and then utterly rejected the true Gospel by replacing it with a merit-driven system of salvation based solely on good works alone, which cultivates pride, and turns people against the holiness of God and the simple gift of unmerited salvation to be found in Jesus Christ alone, apostasy from the truth of God which drove the Holy Spirit away. They argue that the Holy Spirit returned after an absence of 1500 years to restore to the earth the fullness of the purity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the inspired ministry of the Reformers and the miraculous mass printing and distribution of the Bible which they had purged of false apocryphal writings they proclaimed were inspired by the Devil, writings which lent support to "the damnable pagan doctrines of Catholicism and Orthodoxy."

Many former Catholics and Orthodox have accepted this argument to justify their conversion to Protestantism in direct opposition to Catholic and Orthodox doctrines. Many Protestants, Evangelical, Reformed, Baptist, and Fundamentalist Christians, use this same reasoning to justify avoidance of all contact with Catholicism and Orthodoxy and all published Catholic and Orthodox apologetic literature as deceitful and soul-destroying lies cunningly inspired by Satan and coming from the pits of hell, speciously disguised as truth.

See The So-called "Great Apostasy" Has Already Come to Pass! But it did not happen when non-Catholics claim it happened (thecatholictreasurechest.com)

According to the logical form of the arguments above, If the truth of the Gospel has ever been lost for any length of time and the chief leaders and shepherds of the church led the people into apostasy after the death of the apostles then Jesus did not keep his promise and he is a false teacher.
If Jesus kept his promise and the Holy Spirit has never failed to infallibly guide the chief leaders and shepherds of the church into all truth then every charge of apostasy and false doctrine presented against the church (which has continued to exist and preach and teach since the time of the original apostles) is a false charge, and those who make these false charges are false teachers (who have been deceived).
Historical records of the 16th-century debates between leading Catholic theologians and Protestant Reformation leaders and theologians show that Protestantism firmly rejects this argument as "clever sophistry" inspired by the Devil. See for example

Conservapedia cannot tell the reader what to believe. Every effort is made to provide reliable and verifiable information in encyclopedic form for honest and balanced treatment. At issue is the promise of Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to be with us forever and to lead us into all truth with the command to obey those he has appointed and sent with authority to shepherd his people.

See also

The Descent of the Holy Spirit


  1. A more literal translation of the Greek would be "one who stands alongside with" or mentor; the "Comforter" alludes to the bedside manner of a physician with an ailing patient or sinner.
  2. We Believe in the Holy Spirit.
  3. https://www.biblestudytools.com/john/16-7.html
  4. https://www.biblestudytools.com/luke/3-16.html
  5. https://biblehub.com/esv/john/3.htm
    In the cases of Samson (Judges 16:20) and King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14) for example, the spirit was given by measure and departed.
  6. Dunamis is the root word of dynamite.
  7. Ephesians 6:17
    1 Corinthians 2:12-13
  8. John 15:7; see also John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word" and Genesis 1:2, "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
  9. The Holy Spirit in Christian Theology.
  10. Catholic Encyclopedia.
  11. Holy Ghost, Catholic Encyclopedia
  12. The Procession of the Holy Spirit in Orthodox Trinitarian Doctrine, Vladimir Lossky (jbburnett.com)
  13. Why Is the Dove Often a Symbol for the Holy Spirit?, Christianity.com

External links

"We are a temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in us.” 1 Corinthians 3:16