Scholarship: Melanchthon & the Work of the Holy Spirit

“[Melanchthon] affirmed his conviction that apart from the Holy Spirit the human will can exercise a measure of freedom in the performance of works that maintain public order and virtue. The Holy Spirit also restores this freedom to those who are reborn.

“…The action of the Holy Spirit in and through his Word, functioning as law and gospel, stood at the heart of Melanchthon’s discussion of conversion. This assertion of God’s working through the Word was the Preceptor’s way of affirming that God does not work magically (his reaction against medieval superstitious use of the sacraments ex opere operato), and that he does work with human creatures as the human reflections of his own image that he created (Melanchthon’s confession of the biblical understanding of human responsibility and of  human trust in the God who speaks in his Word)” (Kolb, Bound Choice, 112).

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