Chad McIntosh

Chad McIntosh is a PhD student in Philosophy at Cornell University.


  1. Dale Tuggy
    May 5, 2015 @ 9:19 am

    Interesting post, Chad. Yes, if “person” admits of two relevant senses, then I think the theories start to proliferate even more. I think there may be substantial reason why the theories you sketch haven’t found much love.

    I’ll stick to the first one. Many will react, I think, that the Holy Spirit in this view isn’t as divine as, or as great as, the Father and the Son. If that were so, then we’d have violated a sort of (disputed) axiom of the catholic approach, which is the equality of the three, their equal divinity and greatness. One might insist that the functional person may be just as great (or as divine) as an intrinsicist person. I think it is unclear, because I think it is unclear that there can be merely functional persons.

    I think this is the weak spot in the reasoning: “those who think the Biblical data are less than clear about the Spirit’s “full” personhood (i.e., intrinsicist personhood) as compared to the Father and Son. Maybe we can interpret this as meaning the Father and Son are clearly intrinsicist persons”

    How do we get from the unclarity of the status of “the holy spirit” in the NT to the distinction you want? Put differently, if the H.S. were an functional person, why would this lead the authors to be unclear, as we observe. (Actually, I think it’s only unclear to us; the Hebrew traditions of speaking of God’s spirit, I think, make the NT fairly unambiguous. )

    “But the Spirit is also praised and prayed to, affording treatment as a person.” This’ll raise the hackles of those who go by the Bible rather by later catholic traditions. As far as I can tell, the Spirit is never prayed to or praised in the NT. He/it is made on object of praise in later traditions, but in a sort of cursory way – usually just in enumerating the Persons of the Trinity – never a main focus. Thus, the periodic hand-wringing about the neglected member of the Trinity.

    • Radz Matthew Co Brown
      September 3, 2015 @ 3:59 am


      As far as I can tell, the Spirit is never prayed to or praised in the NT.This is simply not true.

      The Holy Spirit was mentioned on the same level as the Father and the Son in Matthew 28:19.

      Water baptism is a public identification with Christ through faith (Romans 6:1-5; Colossians 1:12; 1 Peter 1:23). The baptism done in the name (not names) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a primitive apostolic practice of worship wherein one becomes one body with all of the saints ( 1 Corinthians 10:31, 12:13).

      In 2 Corinthians 13:14, the Holy Spirit is again presented as the equal of the Father and the Son by way of prayer (benediction).

      Therefore, we have cogently proven from the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit, equal with the Father and the Son, is worshiped and prayed to. There might not be a specific word used like ‘proskuneo’ or ‘latria’ or ‘proseuchomai’ in reference to the Holy Spirit but the mere fact that when the Father and the Son are worshiped, the Holy Spirit is present showed that He is adored and glorified with the Father and the Son.