The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit

tags: faith, evangelism

This book was written 1910. R.A. Torrey was a traveling evangelist. I gather he was one of Dwight Moody’s ministry partners.

The book is a treatise on all aspects of the Holy Spirit (defined as the part of God that dwells within the believer after conversion). Example chapters:

The chapters are generally quite short (there are 26 chapters, mind you). Every chapter includes the phrase “Holy Spirit” in its title, save four of them, which curiously just refer to the “Spirit.”

The tone of the book is very much a product of its time. Torrey makes several references to what I imagine were tent revivals around the country. He literally traveled all over, preaching the gospel. (Humorously, Torrey’s examples of sin are “card playing” and “theater going.”)

His view of conversion is very…epiphanistic (?). He tells mostly of people having remarkable spiritual experiences when they “receive the Baptism of the Spirit.” However, later in the book, he downplays that, though he does make it clear that the believer will know when this happens.

The phrase “it happens” is telling – to Torrey, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a watershed moment. It’s not a slow, gradual, liminal thing. It is something that has not happened…and then it happens. It’s binary. Black-and-white.

The book is quite good. Each chapter discusses a clear aspect of the subject. There are ample Bible references to support the text. I enjoyed reading it.

Also worth noting – Torrey gives no quarter. He is an absolutist. There is utterly no question in his mind of the truth of this beliefs, and therefore, there is little in the book about persuading the non-believer. This is not an apologetic. It’s assumed the reader is already a converted Christian, or will simply take Torrey at his word.

I believe the book is targeted to believers and evangelists. There’s a lot here for the non-believer. Towards the end of the book, Torrey does discuss how one can achieve baptism in the Holy Spirit, but I don’t think a non-believer would still be reading at that point.

Book Info