Friday, 28 April 2017

A Few Thoughts on Jonathan McLatchie's Arguments for the Holy Spirit

Jonathan McLatchie claims the evidence for the Holy Spirit is the continuous sanctification of the believer, causing him or her to grow in holiness. 

But this is at loggerheads with what we observe within Christian communities. If Jonathan truly believes the Holy Spirit works within Christians then how can he explain why Christians are often surpassed by other faith groups in self-discipline (avoiding sins) or the fact 75% of Christians are mired with struggle with pornography?

Christian men view Internet porn more than once a month, with a further 20% admitting that they succumb to temptation every so often. That’s 75% of Christian men engaging with pornography on, let’s say, a monthly basis. [Martin Saunders]

If, as Jonathan believes, the Holy Spirit is working on these people and leading them to become holier then why can’t they break free from their struggles with pornography? Now, other men of other faiths can manage to resist the temptation of pornography, Jonathan McLatchie presumably believes this is done without the Holy Spirit. So is this not proof enough to suggest Jon’s argument for the Holy Spirit being within Christians is spurious at the very least. Surely, Jon as a fundamentalist Christian, would not want to suggest non-Christians are capable of greater moral feats than those led by the Holy Spirit?

Sourced from Ed Atkinson's FB comments

To throw another problem at Jon’s reasoning, what of those Christians who have been in the church for decades promoting and defending church doctrines and then leave the church because they apostatize? Doesn’t that not throw a spanner in the works for Jon’s claims of the Holy Spirit working within Christians and causing them to grow in [Christian] holiness. If this is the case why are we seeing older Christians leaving Christianity, surely if this was the case no decades-old Christian would leave the faith?

The Bible Answer Man, Hank Haanegraaff, is thought to have left Biblical Christianity, in some quarters, recently despite his long term service for Jonathan’s beliefs. I’m sure Jon, I and others can find other such examples.

Paul of Tarsus in Galatians 5 lists what he believes is the fruit of the Spirit:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Notice, this is stuff you can observe in a Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, Jew or even dare I say an Atheist. But also notice the words peace, gentleness and meekness – our Christian friends may be a little surprised to see a couple of rabbis suggesting Christians are arguably the most violent people in history. How is this if Christians have the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit leads to peace and gentleness? How can other groups (Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims etc.) be seen as more peaceful and gentle than Christians?

So what exactly do Christians believe the Holy Spirit gives them that others cannot achieve in character and moral standing? Should Christians not rethink their beliefs about the Holy Spirit?

Jonathan McLatchie also cites radical transformations in lives as evidence for the Holy Spirit. But hold on, non-Christians have radical transformations in their lives too.

Lastly, Jon claims Jesus was resurrected and thus believes everything ascribed to Jesus in the Bible. This is circular reasoning. He gets the view that Jesus was resurrected from the Bible. Jon then uses this as a premise to accept everything else ascribed to Jesus in the Bible. Circular.