The Holy Spirit: Tri-theist vs. Fountarian
Many struggle to understand the significance of the Tri-theist perspective of the Holy Spirit. Tri-theism superficially defines the Holy Spirit as: the Third Divine being who is co-eternal, co-equal, and co-supreme along with God the Father and God the Son. The knee-jerk reaction to this false teaching are accusations of breaking the first commandment, idol worship, even to the extreme of honoring Satan. Yet, lets dig deeper and see how a Tri-theistic view of the Holy Spirit negatively effects our perception of biblical revelation and our relation to God.
In 1930, LeRoy Froom wrote a companion book to his "Coming of The Comforter" (1928), entitled "The River of Life." In "Coming of The Comforter," Froom emphasized very strongly the personality of the Holy Spirit as an individual separate being from the Father and Son. The following review of Froom's next book is an effort to illustrate the negative consequences resulting from this perspective. Froom begins "River of Life" with a prayer to the Holy Spirit:
"COME, Holy Spirit, save me from myself, And speak to me each day as friend to friend..My comfort be in sorrow, pain, and woe, From hurtful, lurking foes defend. Come, Holy Spirit, dwell within my heart; Guide Thou my feet to unscaled heights above, And every impulse of my being thrill With holy, pure, and matchless love. Come, Holy Spirit, with Thy power entrust, Else would my toil and labor be in vain; For whitening fields the reapers now invite, As lowly bends the ripening grain. Come, Holy Spirit, fire my soul with zeal, Consuming every trace of selfish dross, That I may lead my brother lost in sin To Calvary's bleeding, cleansing cross."
In other to fully understand the Tri-theist perspective we must "read" from that perspective. The above prayer is a poetic cry for help, friendship, comfort, guidance, power for service, inspiration for zeal, repentance and converting power. Very beautiful if not for the fact the prayer is directed Not to the Father, or His Son, but to someone else. Now, try to imagine Jesus in the Garden perhaps, and He is praying the same prayer. To Whom would Jesus be speaking? It's difficult to imagine Jesus pleading to anyone else than His Father for help and strength, isn't it? Who did Jesus love with all His heart?
Froom continues: "Let us then learn the lesson that not the material but the spiritual is the: source of life, and that the Holy Spirit's highest work is the communication of new and supernatural life, whether in creation or re-creation." What is Froom's point? The Holy Spirit, the Third Person, is "the source of life" both in creation and re-creation. But, Isn't God the Father the fountain-head, "the great source of all?" In order to interpret scripture from the Tri-theistic view, these false conclusions are of necessity. This perception also obscures the Father's great love through creation and redemption.
"...as He [Jesus] was filled with the Spirit and spoke and wrought only through the Spirit, even so must they [the disciples] be and do." Did Jesus perceive Himself to be filled with a third Divine Being? "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."
"The Holy Spirit, symbolized by the wind, acts in the sovereignty of His grace. Though we know many things about Him, we cannot anticipate nor regulate His operations. Rather, He divides 'to every man severally as He will.' 1 Corinthians 12:11. It is for us to yield to His power and to come into harmony with His operations." Here the perception is that the Holy Spirit possesses a separate "will" apart from Father and Son and chooses to "operate" this will as He chooses. Therefore, we must "yield" to Him and "come into harmony" with His will for us.
"And there are special circuits in the Holy Spirit's operations, enclosing in His love, unfolding in His presence, and encompassing in His power those who so yield to Him." Again, this quotation through Tri-theist glasses is saying: A third Divine being wants to enclose us in His love, give us His presence and power if we yield to Him.
"Yes, the same blessed Spirit brings health and healing." All health and healing is falsely attributed to, and given by a third Divine Being.
"Impressive and awful at times are the Holy Spirit's manifestations of His presence and power. He is sovereign in His operations." Isn't there only one Divine Being who is the "sovereign" and "source of all?"
"But while all recognize instantly the imperative need of a constant supply of water for the physical body, many are slow to realize that the spiritual nature is just as dependent upon a living connection with the Fountain of spiritual life....out of the believer 'shall flow rivers of living water.' But the Scripture also reveals the source, the Holy Spirit who dwells in the believer." Yet, isn't the "source," of "the Fountain of spiritual life" God the Father, and not a third Divine Being?
"But here the Holy Spirit interprets the passage to be the river of His own life that flows through yours and mine. It is the Holy Spirit we need in our lives." Froom is saying that it is the third Divine Being's "own life that flows through" the believer. Yet, isn't it the Father's Divine life flowing through Christ, through the believer?
"The Holy Spirit is the source of the light. The Spirit is this oil we must have." Yet, isn't God the Father the source of all life and "light."
There are so many texts in the new testament of the Holy Spirit doing this, that, and the other thing. While the Tri-theist superficially believes the Father and Christ are continually operating on earth; the entire focus is shifted AWAY from God the Father and His Son who both are replaced by the operations of a third Divine Being-God the Holy Spirit. This point may have been belabored in examining Froom's quotes. Yet, with close examination, it becomes an obvious impossibility for the Tri-theist to perceive God the Father as the Great source of all; the One whose life flows through His Son and through every believer. For the fountarian, any perception of God that distorts the source of His life, love, mercy, and character of justice, is a false perception which harms humanity. In other words, it's not so much that we anger God by false perceptions; rather we cut ourselves off from the source of life and divine strength because we're looking in the wrong direction.