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Heresy of the Day #19: Macedonianism / Pneumatomachianism

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Macedonianism, also known as the Pneumatomachian heresy, is a pernicious belief system that emerged in the early 4th century and was propagated by the heretical Greek bishop Macedonius. This insidious heresy denies the personhood of the Holy Spirit and diminishes the divine nature of the Third Person of the Trinity.

The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force or power in the Bible but rather is depicted as a divine person with personal attributes. The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit speaks, teaches, and has a will. Personal pronouns such as “He” and “Him” are used in many passages to refer to the Holy Spirit, showing that the Spirit is indeed a person and not some sort of impersonal entity.

Furthermore, the Bible also clearly distinguishes the Holy Spirit from God the Father and God the Son. In Matthew 3:16-17, the Holy Spirit is described as descending upon Jesus like a dove, separate from the Father’s voice and Jesus himself. This illustrates that the Holy Spirit is indeed a distinct person and not simply an aspect or force of God.

The doctrine of the Trinity provides the framework for understanding the personhood of the Holy Spirit, as all three persons of the Trinity are fully God and possess all of the attributes of deity. This includes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

It is important to recognize that there are several sects throughout history that have denied the personhood of the Holy Spirit and the doctrine of the Trinity, and they include Socinianism, Arianism, and Unitarianism. These belief systems are all fundamentally flawed as they reject the biblical teaching of the full deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and they should be rejected by all believers in true Christianity.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are probably the most notorious modern-day sect that holds to the errant belief that the Holy Spirit is not a person, but rather an impersonal force or active power of God. They view the Holy Spirit as an expression of God’s active force, similar to how electricity is an expression of the power of an electrical generator. They also teach that Jesus is not God but rather a created being, the first and the highest of God’s creations.

Similarly, Oneness Pentecostals—a sect within the Pentecostal movement that includes popular worship singers like Charity Gayle—deny the doctrine of the Trinity and teach that there is only one person in the Godhead, Jesus Christ. They reject the doctrine of the Trinity as a pagan concept and believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are simply different modes or manifestations of Jesus.

A similar, but distinct heresy known as modalism, also called Sabellianism, teaches that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not three distinct persons but rather three different modes or manifestations of one God. They believe that God appears in different forms at different times, but He is not three distinct persons.

Macedonianism is a dangerous heresy that denies the personhood of the Holy Spirit and diminishes the divine nature of the Third Person of the Trinity. It is crucial for Christians to firmly reject this false doctrine and uphold the biblical truth of the Trinity.

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