Knowing Wholly the Holy Helper

George Whitfield was an evangelist and preacher who is often credited with helping ignite the Great Awakening in the 18th-century America. He was a powerful communicator, said to be able to captivate people with his “⁠unrivaled preaching ability, evangelistic fervor, and irregular methods⁠.” It’s reported that when he was first approached with the idea of publishing his sermons for mass distribution, he agreed, but noted, “You’ll never be able to put down the thunder and lightning on the page.” The words, yes. The style, perhaps. But Whitfield knew there would always be a certain je ne sais quoi absent in print, a certain potency, a certain unction, a certain Spirit.

Isn’t that how most Christians think about the power, presence, and work of the Holy Spirit? We know he’s there. We know he’s working. We know he’s important. But sometimes it’s hard to articulate, understand, and communicate what exactly he’s like and what exactly he’s up to. Over the next number of weeks we want to discuss the person and work of the Holy Spirit, striving to understand him better. We may not be able to bottle the “thunder and lightning,” but we sure can explore it.

This conversation is based on the June 2, 2023 sermon, “⁠Introducing the Holy Spirit⁠.”

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Patricia Boyd

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