THE SMALL CATECHISM on the Holy Spirit:
THE THIRD ARTICLE
I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
What does this mean?
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; just as He calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian Church He daily and richly forgives me and all believers all our sins; and at the last day He will raise up me and all the dead, and will grant me and all believers in Christ eternal life. This is most certainly true.
A Reformed friend tried to tease me with some crack that assumed the Lutherans don’t emphasize the Holy Spirit, but I didn’t get it and didn’t understand the charge. It seems to me that Lutherans emphasize the Holy Spirit all the time. I think the difference is that Lutherans tend to think of the Holy Spirit as functioning from the outside in; as being in the objective realm, being present in the Word of God, and coming into our hearts through that means. Other churches present the Holy Spirit more from the inside out; as an inner presence–even a still, small voice–who flows out into our lives with various gifts.
Here too we see the Holy Spirit’s role in the church, which I think is often neglected.