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of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995
Article 3. Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy
Spirit, the eternal Spirit of God, who dwelled in Jesus Christ, who
empowers the church, who is the source of our life in Christ, and who
is poured out on those who believe as the guarantee of our redemption
and of the redemption of creation.
Through the Spirit of God, the world was created, prophets and writers
of Scripture were inspired, the people were enabled to follow God's
law, Mary conceived, and Jesus was anointed at his baptism.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus
proclaimed the good news of the reign of God, healed the sick, accepted
death on the cross, and was raised from the dead.
At Pentecost, God began
to pour out the Spirit on all flesh and to gather the church from among
many nations.  As a dwelling place of
the Holy Spirit, the church praises and worships God and brings forth
the fruit of the Spirit. By the gifts of the Holy Spirit, all
Christians are called to carry out their particular ministries. By the
guidance of the Holy Spirit, the church comes to unity in doctrine and
action. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the church preaches, teaches,
testifies, heals, loves, and suffers, following the example of Jesus
The Holy Spirit calls
people to repentance, convicts them of sin, and leads into the way of
righteousness all those who open themselves to the working of the
Spirit. Scripture urges us to yield to
the Spirit, and not to resist or quench the Spirit.  By water and the Spirit, we are born
anew into the family of God. The Spirit dwells in each child of God,
bringing us into relationship with God. Through the indwelling of the
Spirit, we are made heirs together with Christ, if we suffer with him,
so that we may also be glorified with him. 
The Spirit teaches us, reminds us of Jesus' word,
guides us into all truth, and empowers us to speak the word of God with
The Holy Spirit enables
our life in Christian community, comforts us in suffering, is present
with us in time of persecution, intercedes for us in our weakness,
guarantees the redemption of our bodies, and assures the future
redemption of creation. 
(1) Ps. 104:30; Mic. 3:8; Ezek. 36:26-27; Luke
(2) Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:16-18.
(3) John 16:8-10.
(4) Isa. 63:10; Acts 5:3; Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19.
(5) John 3:5; Rom. 8:14-17.
(6) John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:14; Acts 4:24-31.
(7) Matt. 10:20; 2 Cor. 5:5; Rom. 8:26-27; Eph. 1:13-14; Rom. 8:18-23.
1. According to Scripture, the Spirit of God is God's presence and
power active in the world. The Spirit, or breath, of God acted in
creation (Gen. 1:2) and continues to act in the creative process
throughout the world, in expected and unexpected places. God's Spirit
was a source of power and revealed God's wisdom to prophets and other
holy people. By the power of the Spirit, Jesus healed the sick, cast
out unclean spirits, and proclaimed the reign of God (Matt. 12:28; Luke
3:22; 5:17). By the same Spirit, he offered his life to God (Heb. 9:14)
and was raised from the dead (Rom. 8:11). This Spirit of God and Spirit
of Jesus is the Holy Spirit, who is one with the Father and the Son.
2. The Gospel of John (14-16) and the letters of Paul use similar
language to describe the work of the Spirit of God and the Spirit of
Christ--or the Spirit and Christ. Even though each has a particular
role, the work of the Holy Spirit since Christ's exaltation always
conforms to Jesus Christ. So, Christ is the standard for discerning
which spirit is of God (1 Cor. 12:3; John 14:26; 1 John 4:2-3). Only
that Spirit which conforms to Jesus Christ, as we know him through the
Scriptures, can reliably guide our faith and life.
3. The New Testament
affirms that, since the resurrection, we are living in a new period of
God's action in the world, the age of the Spirit. No longer is the
Spirit present only with a few; now the Spirit is poured out on "all
flesh," that is, on male and female, young and old, slave and free
(Acts 2:16-21), people of all ethnic backgrounds who are being gathered
into the people of God (Acts 10-11). By the Holy Spirit, the love of
God is poured into our hearts (Rom. 5:5). We are adopted as children of
God (Gal. 4:6-7) and experience new birth into the family of God. This
presence of the Holy Spirit is connected with being "in Christ," being
part of the body of Christ.
4. The anointing of the
Holy Spirit is offered to all people. But those who do evil do not come
to the light for fear that their deeds may be exposed (John 3:17-21).
Those who have repented of sin (Acts 2:38) and are coming to the light
are the ones who receive the Spirit. We are most open to the Spirit's
work in us when we are becoming poor in spirit--emptying ourselves of
all that is foreign to the way of the cross and committing ourselves to
a life of love and the service of God. At the same time, the Holy
Spirit gives us power to proclaim the word with boldness, to love
enemies, to suffer in hope, to remain faithful in trials, and to
rejoice in everything. As we walk by the Spirit, the Spirit produces
the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
5. Both the church and
the individual Christian are the temple of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:22;
1 Cor. 6:19). The Spirit of Christ is in the midst of the church in its
gathering for prayer and praise. By the gifts of the Spirit, given to
each member, the church builds itself up in love (Eph. 4:1-16; 1 Cor.
12-13) and is given the unity of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:13). By the
guidance of the Holy Spirit, the church makes decisions, disciplines,
and encourages its members.
6. Prophecy is one of the
gifts given to the church by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:28; Rom. 12:6;
Eph. 4:11). Yet, some Christians have asserted that prophecy and
revelation stopped after the time of the apostles. They say that the
main way in which the Holy Spirit continues to reveal truth is through
helping us to interpret Scripture. Others have claimed that present
revelations are on an equal basis with Scripture or even have priority
We know from Scripture
that the Holy Spirit continues to reveal God's will to us (1 Cor.
14:26-33). The Spirit of God is not silent in the present. However,
this new revelation will not contradict what we know of Christ's way in
Scripture (John 14:26). So we can open ourselves to revelation and
prophecy, provided we test them in the community of faith by the norm
provided in Christ through the Scriptures.
the delegates of Mennonite Church General Assembly, and of the General
Conference Mennonite Church Tricentennial Session, July 28, 1995,
Wichita, Kansas. Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA
15683. Used by permission. Order print copies of Confession of
Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, and Summary Statement,
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, From Herald Press, Scottdale,
Pa. Worship resources
based on this confession, and translations
are also available.
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