Understanding the Work of the Holy Spirit

By Willard Cantelon

In 1948 I wrote the basis for this book, an attempt to explain, in simple outline and language, the work of the Holy Spirit as presented in the New Testament record.

Twenty years later, that little book could be found in dozens of countries, translated into an equal numbers of languages, from the Siberian Circle to Saudi Arabia.

In 1993 a committee selecting material to be distributed to the representatives of 176 nations gathering in Spain for the XXVth Olympiad, chose this same book to address the discussion of the Holy Spirit in our world.

Surprising? Perhaps not. There is a growing awareness today that we are triune beings, not, as some in the past have said, "an animal with a mind," but rather a complete person of mind, body, and God-conscious spirit. The notes on my desk contain the writings of the Vietnamese poet and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. Recently he wrote,

Merely discussing God is not the best use of our energy. But, if we touch the Holy Spirit, we touch God, not as a concept, but as a living reality. We must approach God, not through theology, but through the Holy Spirit. We must implore him, Speak to me of God!

These thoughts fill my hours as I prepare this new discussion of understanding the Holy Spirit. In it, we will observe, not only our reaching out for, and touching the Holy Spirit, but of the Holy Spirit stepping into our daily lives, infusing us with a new power of understanding and life. Herein, I am convinced, lies the path to new growth and resurrection, a path that will lead us to the place where we are touched and made alive by the Holy Spirit.

W.T. C. November 1998



From discouraged, disillusioned men and women who sadly looked back upon the days when they had hoped that Jesus would become the new world leader, they were made over into a company of enthusiastic witnesses, adding to their numbers Jews, Romans, Greeks, Ephesians, the educated, and the slave. Like other men and women, these remained human. Yet in them burned a power and a life which came through Jesus by the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and this power worked moral and spiritual transformation within them. That power proved contagious, even as it does today.

- Kenneth Scott Latrourette Sterling Professor of Oriental History, Yale University

The Words