J. V. Fesko

Dec 17, 2022

The Spirit of the Age

The 19th Century Debate Over the Holy Spirit and the Westminster Confession

Reformation Heritage Books 2017

In 1903, the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America revised the Westminster Confession of Faith because they thought it was deficient regarding the Holy Spirit. In The Spirit of the Age: The 19th Century Debate Over the Holy Spirit and the Westminster Confession (Reformation Heritage, 2017), J. V. Fesko explores the differences between the pre-Enlightenment theology that formed the original Westminster Confession and the post-Enlightenment theology that called for its revision.

This study reveals that the pneumatology of the original Westminster Confession is marked by catholicity, whereas the revisions of 1903 represent a doctrine of the Holy Spirt that departed from the common Christianity of the ages. It also reveals that some of the underlying issues linked to the 1903 revisions are still alive today, even among Presbyterian fellowships that refused to adopt the twentieth-century revisions to the Westminster Confession.

Dr. J. V. Fesko has taught at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) Atlanta since 2000 while he served as a pastor in Northwest Atlanta and now as Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at RTS Jackson. He has been an ordained minister since 1998 in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church serving as a church planter, pastor, and now teacher. Dr. Fesko’s interests include early modern Reformation and post-Reformation theology, the integration of biblical and systematic theology, as well as soteriology, especially the doctrine of justification. Dr. Fesko has authored or edited more than twenty books and written fifty published essays for various journals and books. More of his writing can be found at his personal website.

Justin McGeary is Director of Christian Studies at John Witherspoon College and a graduate student at Union School of Theology, Wales.

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