Friday, September 26, 2014

46. DO PROTESTANT HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT?


Holy Spirit dove stained glass detail[2]

1 John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us; but that they may be manifest, that they are not all of us."

Jesus said that you have received the grace and the wisdom from the Holy Ghost.
1 John 2:20 "But you have the unction from the Holy One, and know all things."
Know all things: The true children of God's church, remaining in unity, under the guidance of their lawful pastors, partake of the grace of the Holy Ghost, promised to the church and her pastors; and have in the church all necessary knowledge and instruction; so as to have no need to seek it elsewhere, since it can be only found in that society of which they are members.

But Jesus continued to say:  You have no need: You want not to be taught by any of these men, who, under pretense of imparting more knowledge to you, seek to seduce you (ver. 26), since you are sufficiently taught already, and have all knowledge and grace in the church, with the unction of the Holy Ghost; which these new teachers have no share in.
1 John 2:26 "These things have I written to you, concerning them that seduce you."
1 John 2:27 "And as for you, let the unction, which you have received from him, abide in you. And you have no need that any man teach you; but as his unction teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie. And as it hath taught you, abide in him."

However, if anyone preaches the gospel on his own and not according to what Jesus teaches us then beware for he is an instrument of the devil. 
Galatians 1:9 "As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema."

But Jesus is very specific when He said that if there are two or more gathered in His name He is with them. So regardless what religion we are with, He would be with them only if they are of Him and not against Him. How about Jesus' divinity? If they deny that He is not divine then they are against Him.
Matthew 18:20 "For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Any religion therefore that baptizes anyone in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is therefore with them only when the baptism is valid according to Jesus' instruction.
Matthew 28:19 "Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."


Do Protestant have the Holy Spirit? 
Here is what others say.

I'd like to share an article from the CATHOLIC LANE.                                                                                                            
Here at the Bad Evangelist Club, we are trying to do more than just correct some misguided ideas you hear from a lot of apologists and evangelists.  In addition to pointing out what not to think, it helps to remember what we should think.  When it comes to the topic of Protestants and Ecumenism, it is a topic where we have a lot of heat, and very little light.

In a recent thread here at Catholic Lane, a commenter said the following, and his response will serve as a jumping point for this discussion:

I think God laughs at all this theological hairsplitting. Protestant Christians are His children, too. They have the Holy Spirit and are our brothers and sisters in Christ, heirs to all the promises of Christ.
Here at the Bad Evangelist Club, we are trying to do more than just correct some misguided ideas you hear from a lot of apologists and evangelists.  In addition to pointing out what not to think, it helps to remember what we should think.  When it comes to the topic of Protestants and Ecumenism, it is a topic where we have a lot of heat, and very little light.
In a recent thread here at Catholic Lane, a commenter said the following, and his response will serve as a jumping point for this discussion:
I think God laughs at all this theological hairsplitting. Protestant Christians are His children, too. They have the Holy Spirit and are our brothers and sisters in Christ, heirs to all the promises of Christ.
- See more at: http://catholiclane.com/the-bad-evangelist-club-do-protestants-have-the-holy-spirit/#sthash.2EGN20fT.dpuf


Yes, Protestants Have the Holy Spirit
The statement I just made above seems to be a hard statement for many to take.  In these cases, it helps to understand what is being said.
1.)  When you are baptized validly, you become a child of God.
2.)  This baptism is valid even in non-Catholic congregations if done validly.
3.)  When we are baptized, Scripture makes clear we receive the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:38)
4.)  Protestants are validly baptized
5.)  In this sense, Protestants have the Holy Spirit

This Means Far Less Than You Might Think
From those simple points, many argue (or fear others will believe) that since Protestants have the Spirit, we shouldn’t emphasize the importance of the Catholic Church being the Church founded by Christ, to which all must be united to.  Since they have the Spirit, who are we to judge how they use the Spirit?  Shouldn’t we leave that part to God, and just “love” our neighbor?

While this is a faulty understanding of ecumenism, first and foremost it is a faulty understanding of the Holy Spirit.  Being misguided in prudential approaches is one thing, being misguided about God’s very being is quite another.  This understanding (whether in its promotion or feared acceptance) treats the Holy Spirit as some inanimate object, some talisman.  At this point the Third Person of the Trinity ceases to become a Divine Person, and more an object people can manipulate at will.  This object exists just for the preference of sanctifying the individual Christian.  It is a very individualistic (and fundamentalist) view of the Spirit:  the Spirit exists for my well being only.

Why is the Holy Spirit Here?
The Bible speaks of the Spirit’s purpose in far different terms.  The Holy Spirit comes to “reprove the world of sin”(John 16:8), and “to guide you into all Truth.”  (John 16:13) It must be pointed out that in this context, Christ is addressing the Apostles as a group.  So when he states the Holy Spirit will guide “you”, he is speaking of the collective.  The Spirit is trying to guide all of God’s children towards the truth.

Sometimes this can get obscured by our language.  For when Catholics rightly talk about the very special way we possess the Holy Spirit (in the ability for a priest to confect the sacraments), even in this instance the priest is not controlling the Holy Spirit.  Rather, the priest (and sometimes lay faithful!) are sharing in the ministry of Christ’s priesthood and giving Spirit to the world.  While this does occur through the Sacraments in a singular and special way, there is more to the action of the Spirit than the sacraments.

What is This Action?
St. John Paul II states that the purpose of the Holy Spirit is that He is “the one who points out the ways leading to the union of Christians, indeed as the supreme source of this unity.”  (Dominum et Vivificantem)  When we speak of the union of Christians, it is helpful to remember this is not just a mere cliche.  We are speaking of a hope that all who profess the name of Christ are not only united to each other, but united together in Christ.  It is a call that every Christian take up his vocation and enter deeply into communion with God.

From this standpoint, anything that helps to make that communion with God a reality comes from the Holy Spirit.  This means baptism even if we aren’t Catholic.  It also means the Sacred Scriptures. 
The Scriptures are “a Letter, written by our heavenly Father, and transmitted by the sacred writers to the human race in its pilgrimage so far from its heavenly country.”  (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus)  They guide all to heaven, whether Catholic or non-Catholic.

The Second Vatican Council refers to these gifts as “elements of sanctification” which can be “found outside its visible structure.”  What is most important about these gifts is what the Council says next. The Council states that these gifts are “are forces impelling toward catholic unity.”

Why Does Division Exist?
If there are gifts of the Spirit present even outside of the Church, and these gifts are God’s way of pushing humanity towards the Catholic Church, why are all Christians not united?  First and foremost, we Catholics should have no problem confessing that we have not always been good representatives of the Holy Spirit.  We’ve squandered the gifts provided to us through our inaction, or sometimes through bad action.  We sometimes don’t give enough credence to the fact that our behavior plays a huge role in how people around us see Christ.  While they are responsible for their own choices, we are also responsible for which direction we push them in through our behavior.
Yet even if we are good witnesses, sometimes the work of the Spirit is not as effective as it could be. 

At this point the truth of what it means to “have the Spirit” is revealed.  According to St. Stephen, the Jews of his day had the Holy Spirit.  He knew the Jews had the Spirit because the Sanhedrin resisted the Spirit at every turn.  (Acts 7:58)  The Spirit exists to push us closer to Christ, and that means to the Church He founded.  We are free to be guided by this Spirit, or we can resist it.  Even with the sacraments, we frequently resist the Spirit in our own lives.

Why Does This Matter?
While all of this might sound like a pointless theological exercise, this should have profound implication for our desire to evangelize.    Our Protestant brethren having the Spirit should make us want to witness to them more, not less.  If they have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit (even if it is not readily apparent) is guiding them towards the Catholic Church.  To reach the Church, the Holy Spirit is guiding them to us.   Sometimes we need to go out there and let people know we are there for that purpose.  While this might take the form of a debate/argument, more often than not, we are there to answer questions.  Yet in order to fulfill this role the Spirit has for us, we need to make ourselves present.  Otherwise, in our failure to evangelize, we are resisting the Spirit as well.


***
Those who wants to receive the Holy Spirit must believe in Jesus Christ
      
Acts Of Apostles 19:4 "Then Paul said: John baptized the people with the baptism of penance, saying: That they should believe in him who was to come after him, that is to say, in Jesus."

Apostle Peter affirms that anyone who believes in Jesus and be baptized shall received the gift of God - the Holy Spirit.
Acts Of Apostles 2:38 "But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost: So indeed everyone should have the Holy Spirit. But not all who speaks of Him have Him. For there are many false teachers and antichrists among us who are the wolfs in sheep's clothing.


Yes, Protestants Have the Holy Spirit
The statement I just made above seems to be a hard statement for many to take.  In these cases, it helps to understand what is being said.
1.)  When you are baptized validly, you become a child of God.
2.)  This baptism is valid even in non-Catholic congregations if done validly.
3.)  When we are baptized, Scripture makes clear we receive the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:38)
4.)  Protestants are validly baptized
5.)  In this sense, Protestants have the Holy Spirit
This Means Far Less Than You Might Think
From those simple points, many argue (or fear others will believe) that since Protestants have the Spirit, we shouldn’t emphasize the importance of the Catholic Church being the Church founded by Christ, to which all must be united to.  Since they have the Spirit, who are we to judge how they use the Spirit?  Shouldn’t we leave that part to God, and just “love” our neighbor?
While this is a faulty understanding of ecumenism, first and foremost it is a faulty understanding of the Holy Spirit.  Being misguided in prudential approaches is one thing, being misguided about God’s very being is quite another.  This understanding (whether in its promotion or feared acceptance) treats the Holy Spirit as some inanimate object, some talisman.  At this point the Third Person of the Trinity ceases to become a Divine Person, and more an object people can manipulate at will.  This object exists just for the preference of sanctifying the individual Christian.  It is a very individualistic (and fundamentalist) view of the Spirit:  the Spirit exists for my well being only.
Why is the Holy Spirit Here?
The Bible speaks of the Spirit’s purpose in far different terms.  The Holy Spirit comes to “reprove the world of sin”(John 16:8), and “to guide you into all Truth.”  (John 16:13) It must be pointed out that in this context, Christ is addressing the Apostles as a group.  So when he states the Holy Spirit will guide “you”, he is speaking of the collective.  The Spirit is trying to guide all of God’s children towards the truth.
Sometimes this can get obscured by our language.  For when Catholics rightly talk about the very special way we possess the Holy Spirit (in the ability for a priest to confect the sacraments), even in this instance the priest is not controlling the Holy Spirit.  Rather, the priest (and sometimes lay faithful!) are sharing in the ministry of Christ’s priesthood and giving Spirit to the world.  While this does occur through the Sacraments in a singular and special way, there is more to the action of the Spirit than the sacraments.
What is This Action?
St. John Paul II states that the purpose of the Holy Spirit is that He is “the one who points out the ways leading to the union of Christians, indeed as the supreme source of this unity.”  (Dominum et Vivificantem)  When we speak of the union of Christians, it is helpful to remember this is not just a mere cliche.  We are speaking of a hope that all who profess the name of Christ are not only united to each other, but united together in Christ.  It is a call that every Christian take up his vocation and enter deeply into communion with God.
From this standpoint, anything that helps to make that communion with God a reality comes from the Holy Spirit.  This means baptism even if we aren’t Catholic.  It also means the Sacred Scriptures.  The Scriptures are “a Letter, written by our heavenly Father, and transmitted by the sacred writers to the human race in its pilgrimage so far from its heavenly country.”  (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus)  They guide all to heaven, whether Catholic or non-Catholic.
The Second Vatican Council refers to these gifts as “elements of sanctification” which can be “found outside its visible structure.”  What is most important about these gifts is what the Council says next.  The Council states that these gifts are “are forces impelling toward catholic unity.”
Why Does Division Exist?
If there are gifts of the Spirit present even outside of the Church, and these gifts are God’s way of pushing humanity towards the Catholic Church, why are all Christians not united?  First and foremost, we Catholics should have no problem confessing that we have not always been good representatives of the Holy Spirit.  We’ve squandered the gifts provided to us through our inaction, or sometimes through bad action.  We sometimes don’t give enough credence to the fact that our behavior plays a huge role in how people around us see Christ.  While they are responsible for their own choices, we are also responsible for which direction we push them in through our behavior.
Yet even if we are good witnesses, sometimes the work of the Spirit is not as effective as it could be.  At this point the truth of what it means to “have the Spirit” is revealed.  According to St. Stephen, the Jews of his day had the Holy Spirit.  He knew the Jews had the Spirit because the Sanhedrin resisted the Spirit at every turn.  (Acts 7:58)  The Spirit exists to push us closer to Christ, and that means to the Church He founded.  We are free to be guided by this Spirit, or we can resist it.  Even with the sacraments, we frequently resist the Spirit in our own lives.
Why Does This Matter?
While all of this might sound like a pointless theological exercise, this should have profound implication for our desire to evangelize.    Our Protestant brethren having the Spirit should make us want to witness to them more, not less.  If they have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit (even if it is not readily apparent) is guiding them towards the Catholic Church.  To reach the Church, the Holy Spirit is guiding them to us.   Sometimes we need to go out there and let people know we are there for that purpose.  While this might take the form of a debate/argument, more often than not, we are there to answer questions.  Yet in order to fulfill this role the Spirit has for us, we need to make ourselves present.  Otherwise, in our failure to evangelize, we are resisting the Spirit as well.
- See more at: http://catholiclane.com/the-bad-evangelist-club-do-protestants-have-the-holy-spirit/#sthash.2EGN20fT.dpuf
Here at the Bad Evangelist Club, we are trying to do more than just correct some misguided ideas you hear from a lot of apologists and evangelists.  In addition to pointing out what not to think, it helps to remember what we should think.  When it comes to the topic of Protestants and Ecumenism, it is a topic where we have a lot of heat, and very little light.
In a recent thread here at Catholic Lane, a commenter said the following, and his response will serve as a jumping point for this discussion:
I think God laughs at all this theological hairsplitting. Protestant Christians are His children, too. They have the Holy Spirit and are our brothers and sisters in Christ, heirs to all the promises of Christ.
Yes, Protestants Have the Holy Spirit
The statement I just made above seems to be a hard statement for many to take.  In these cases, it helps to understand what is being said.
1.)  When you are baptized validly, you become a child of God.
2.)  This baptism is valid even in non-Catholic congregations if done validly.
3.)  When we are baptized, Scripture makes clear we receive the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:38)
4.)  Protestants are validly baptized
5.)  In this sense, Protestants have the Holy Spirit
This Means Far Less Than You Might Think
From those simple points, many argue (or fear others will believe) that since Protestants have the Spirit, we shouldn’t emphasize the importance of the Catholic Church being the Church founded by Christ, to which all must be united to.  Since they have the Spirit, who are we to judge how they use the Spirit?  Shouldn’t we leave that part to God, and just “love” our neighbor?
While this is a faulty understanding of ecumenism, first and foremost it is a faulty understanding of the Holy Spirit.  Being misguided in prudential approaches is one thing, being misguided about God’s very being is quite another.  This understanding (whether in its promotion or feared acceptance) treats the Holy Spirit as some inanimate object, some talisman.  At this point the Third Person of the Trinity ceases to become a Divine Person, and more an object people can manipulate at will.  This object exists just for the preference of sanctifying the individual Christian.  It is a very individualistic (and fundamentalist) view of the Spirit:  the Spirit exists for my well being only.
Why is the Holy Spirit Here?
The Bible speaks of the Spirit’s purpose in far different terms.  The Holy Spirit comes to “reprove the world of sin”(John 16:8), and “to guide you into all Truth.”  (John 16:13) It must be pointed out that in this context, Christ is addressing the Apostles as a group.  So when he states the Holy Spirit will guide “you”, he is speaking of the collective.  The Spirit is trying to guide all of God’s children towards the truth.
Sometimes this can get obscured by our language.  For when Catholics rightly talk about the very special way we possess the Holy Spirit (in the ability for a priest to confect the sacraments), even in this instance the priest is not controlling the Holy Spirit.  Rather, the priest (and sometimes lay faithful!) are sharing in the ministry of Christ’s priesthood and giving Spirit to the world.  While this does occur through the Sacraments in a singular and special way, there is more to the action of the Spirit than the sacraments.
What is This Action?
St. John Paul II states that the purpose of the Holy Spirit is that He is “the one who points out the ways leading to the union of Christians, indeed as the supreme source of this unity.”  (Dominum et Vivificantem)  When we speak of the union of Christians, it is helpful to remember this is not just a mere cliche.  We are speaking of a hope that all who profess the name of Christ are not only united to each other, but united together in Christ.  It is a call that every Christian take up his vocation and enter deeply into communion with God.
From this standpoint, anything that helps to make that communion with God a reality comes from the Holy Spirit.  This means baptism even if we aren’t Catholic.  It also means the Sacred Scriptures.  The Scriptures are “a Letter, written by our heavenly Father, and transmitted by the sacred writers to the human race in its pilgrimage so far from its heavenly country.”  (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus)  They guide all to heaven, whether Catholic or non-Catholic.
The Second Vatican Council refers to these gifts as “elements of sanctification” which can be “found outside its visible structure.”  What is most important about these gifts is what the Council says next.  The Council states that these gifts are “are forces impelling toward catholic unity.”
Why Does Division Exist?
If there are gifts of the Spirit present even outside of the Church, and these gifts are God’s way of pushing humanity towards the Catholic Church, why are all Christians not united?  First and foremost, we Catholics should have no problem confessing that we have not always been good representatives of the Holy Spirit.  We’ve squandered the gifts provided to us through our inaction, or sometimes through bad action.  We sometimes don’t give enough credence to the fact that our behavior plays a huge role in how people around us see Christ.  While they are responsible for their own choices, we are also responsible for which direction we push them in through our behavior.
Yet even if we are good witnesses, sometimes the work of the Spirit is not as effective as it could be.  At this point the truth of what it means to “have the Spirit” is revealed.  According to St. Stephen, the Jews of his day had the Holy Spirit.  He knew the Jews had the Spirit because the Sanhedrin resisted the Spirit at every turn.  (Acts 7:58)  The Spirit exists to push us closer to Christ, and that means to the Church He founded.  We are free to be guided by this Spirit, or we can resist it.  Even with the sacraments, we frequently resist the Spirit in our own lives.
Why Does This Matter?
While all of this might sound like a pointless theological exercise, this should have profound implication for our desire to evangelize.    Our Protestant brethren having the Spirit should make us want to witness to them more, not less.  If they have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit (even if it is not readily apparent) is guiding them towards the Catholic Church.  To reach the Church, the Holy Spirit is guiding them to us.   Sometimes we need to go out there and let people know we are there for that purpose.  While this might take the form of a debate/argument, more often than not, we are there to answer questions.  Yet in order to fulfill this role the Spirit has for us, we need to make ourselves present.  Otherwise, in our failure to evangelize, we are resisting the Spirit as well.
- See more at: http://catholiclane.com/the-bad-evangelist-club-do-protestants-have-the-holy-spirit/#sthash.2EGN20fT.dpuf
Here at the Bad Evangelist Club, we are trying to do more than just correct some misguided ideas you hear from a lot of apologists and evangelists.  In addition to pointing out what not to think, it helps to remember what we should think.  When it comes to the topic of Protestants and Ecumenism, it is a topic where we have a lot of heat, and very little light.
In a recent thread here at Catholic Lane, a commenter said the following, and his response will serve as a jumping point for this discussion:
I think God laughs at all this theological hairsplitting. Protestant Christians are His children, too. They have the Holy Spirit and are our brothers and sisters in Christ, heirs to all the promises of Christ.
Yes, Protestants Have the Holy Spirit
The statement I just made above seems to be a hard statement for many to take.  In these cases, it helps to understand what is being said.
1.)  When you are baptized validly, you become a child of God.
2.)  This baptism is valid even in non-Catholic congregations if done validly.
3.)  When we are baptized, Scripture makes clear we receive the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:38)
4.)  Protestants are validly baptized
5.)  In this sense, Protestants have the Holy Spirit
This Means Far Less Than You Might Think
From those simple points, many argue (or fear others will believe) that since Protestants have the Spirit, we shouldn’t emphasize the importance of the Catholic Church being the Church founded by Christ, to which all must be united to.  Since they have the Spirit, who are we to judge how they use the Spirit?  Shouldn’t we leave that part to God, and just “love” our neighbor?
While this is a faulty understanding of ecumenism, first and foremost it is a faulty understanding of the Holy Spirit.  Being misguided in prudential approaches is one thing, being misguided about God’s very being is quite another.  This understanding (whether in its promotion or feared acceptance) treats the Holy Spirit as some inanimate object, some talisman.  At this point the Third Person of the Trinity ceases to become a Divine Person, and more an object people can manipulate at will.  This object exists just for the preference of sanctifying the individual Christian.  It is a very individualistic (and fundamentalist) view of the Spirit:  the Spirit exists for my well being only.
Why is the Holy Spirit Here?
The Bible speaks of the Spirit’s purpose in far different terms.  The Holy Spirit comes to “reprove the world of sin”(John 16:8), and “to guide you into all Truth.”  (John 16:13) It must be pointed out that in this context, Christ is addressing the Apostles as a group.  So when he states the Holy Spirit will guide “you”, he is speaking of the collective.  The Spirit is trying to guide all of God’s children towards the truth.
Sometimes this can get obscured by our language.  For when Catholics rightly talk about the very special way we possess the Holy Spirit (in the ability for a priest to confect the sacraments), even in this instance the priest is not controlling the Holy Spirit.  Rather, the priest (and sometimes lay faithful!) are sharing in the ministry of Christ’s priesthood and giving Spirit to the world.  While this does occur through the Sacraments in a singular and special way, there is more to the action of the Spirit than the sacraments.
What is This Action?
St. John Paul II states that the purpose of the Holy Spirit is that He is “the one who points out the ways leading to the union of Christians, indeed as the supreme source of this unity.”  (Dominum et Vivificantem)  When we speak of the union of Christians, it is helpful to remember this is not just a mere cliche.  We are speaking of a hope that all who profess the name of Christ are not only united to each other, but united together in Christ.  It is a call that every Christian take up his vocation and enter deeply into communion with God.
From this standpoint, anything that helps to make that communion with God a reality comes from the Holy Spirit.  This means baptism even if we aren’t Catholic.  It also means the Sacred Scriptures.  The Scriptures are “a Letter, written by our heavenly Father, and transmitted by the sacred writers to the human race in its pilgrimage so far from its heavenly country.”  (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus)  They guide all to heaven, whether Catholic or non-Catholic.
The Second Vatican Council refers to these gifts as “elements of sanctification” which can be “found outside its visible structure.”  What is most important about these gifts is what the Council says next.  The Council states that these gifts are “are forces impelling toward catholic unity.”
Why Does Division Exist?
If there are gifts of the Spirit present even outside of the Church, and these gifts are God’s way of pushing humanity towards the Catholic Church, why are all Christians not united?  First and foremost, we Catholics should have no problem confessing that we have not always been good representatives of the Holy Spirit.  We’ve squandered the gifts provided to us through our inaction, or sometimes through bad action.  We sometimes don’t give enough credence to the fact that our behavior plays a huge role in how people around us see Christ.  While they are responsible for their own choices, we are also responsible for which direction we push them in through our behavior.
Yet even if we are good witnesses, sometimes the work of the Spirit is not as effective as it could be.  At this point the truth of what it means to “have the Spirit” is revealed.  According to St. Stephen, the Jews of his day had the Holy Spirit.  He knew the Jews had the Spirit because the Sanhedrin resisted the Spirit at every turn.  (Acts 7:58)  The Spirit exists to push us closer to Christ, and that means to the Church He founded.  We are free to be guided by this Spirit, or we can resist it.  Even with the sacraments, we frequently resist the Spirit in our own lives.
Why Does This Matter?
While all of this might sound like a pointless theological exercise, this should have profound implication for our desire to evangelize.    Our Protestant brethren having the Spirit should make us want to witness to them more, not less.  If they have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit (even if it is not readily apparent) is guiding them towards the Catholic Church.  To reach the Church, the Holy Spirit is guiding them to us.   Sometimes we need to go out there and let people know we are there for that purpose.  While this might take the form of a debate/argument, more often than not, we are there to answer questions.  Yet in order to fulfill this role the Spirit has for us, we need to make ourselves present.  Otherwise, in our failure to evangelize, we are resisting the Spirit as well.
- See more at: http://catholiclane.com/the-bad-evangelist-club-do-protestants-have-the-holy-spirit/#sthash.2EGN20fT.dpuf
Here at the Bad Evangelist Club, we are trying to do more than just correct some misguided ideas you hear from a lot of apologists and evangelists.  In addition to pointing out what not to think, it helps to remember what we should think.  When it comes to the topic of Protestants and Ecumenism, it is a topic where we have a lot of heat, and very little light.
In a recent thread here at Catholic Lane, a commenter said the following, and his response will serve as a jumping point for this discussion:
I think God laughs at all this theological hairsplitting. Protestant Christians are His children, too. They have the Holy Spirit and are our brothers and sisters in Christ, heirs to all the promises of Christ.
Yes, Protestants Have the Holy Spirit
The statement I just made above seems to be a hard statement for many to take.  In these cases, it helps to understand what is being said.
1.)  When you are baptized validly, you become a child of God.
2.)  This baptism is valid even in non-Catholic congregations if done validly.
3.)  When we are baptized, Scripture makes clear we receive the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:38)
4.)  Protestants are validly baptized
5.)  In this sense, Protestants have the Holy Spirit
This Means Far Less Than You Might Think
From those simple points, many argue (or fear others will believe) that since Protestants have the Spirit, we shouldn’t emphasize the importance of the Catholic Church being the Church founded by Christ, to which all must be united to.  Since they have the Spirit, who are we to judge how they use the Spirit?  Shouldn’t we leave that part to God, and just “love” our neighbor?
While this is a faulty understanding of ecumenism, first and foremost it is a faulty understanding of the Holy Spirit.  Being misguided in prudential approaches is one thing, being misguided about God’s very being is quite another.  This understanding (whether in its promotion or feared acceptance) treats the Holy Spirit as some inanimate object, some talisman.  At this point the Third Person of the Trinity ceases to become a Divine Person, and more an object people can manipulate at will.  This object exists just for the preference of sanctifying the individual Christian.  It is a very individualistic (and fundamentalist) view of the Spirit:  the Spirit exists for my well being only.
Why is the Holy Spirit Here?
The Bible speaks of the Spirit’s purpose in far different terms.  The Holy Spirit comes to “reprove the world of sin”(John 16:8), and “to guide you into all Truth.”  (John 16:13) It must be pointed out that in this context, Christ is addressing the Apostles as a group.  So when he states the Holy Spirit will guide “you”, he is speaking of the collective.  The Spirit is trying to guide all of God’s children towards the truth.
Sometimes this can get obscured by our language.  For when Catholics rightly talk about the very special way we possess the Holy Spirit (in the ability for a priest to confect the sacraments), even in this instance the priest is not controlling the Holy Spirit.  Rather, the priest (and sometimes lay faithful!) are sharing in the ministry of Christ’s priesthood and giving Spirit to the world.  While this does occur through the Sacraments in a singular and special way, there is more to the action of the Spirit than the sacraments.
What is This Action?
St. John Paul II states that the purpose of the Holy Spirit is that He is “the one who points out the ways leading to the union of Christians, indeed as the supreme source of this unity.”  (Dominum et Vivificantem)  When we speak of the union of Christians, it is helpful to remember this is not just a mere cliche.  We are speaking of a hope that all who profess the name of Christ are not only united to each other, but united together in Christ.  It is a call that every Christian take up his vocation and enter deeply into communion with God.
From this standpoint, anything that helps to make that communion with God a reality comes from the Holy Spirit.  This means baptism even if we aren’t Catholic.  It also means the Sacred Scriptures.  The Scriptures are “a Letter, written by our heavenly Father, and transmitted by the sacred writers to the human race in its pilgrimage so far from its heavenly country.”  (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus)  They guide all to heaven, whether Catholic or non-Catholic.
The Second Vatican Council refers to these gifts as “elements of sanctification” which can be “found outside its visible structure.”  What is most important about these gifts is what the Council says next.  The Council states that these gifts are “are forces impelling toward catholic unity.”
Why Does Division Exist?
If there are gifts of the Spirit present even outside of the Church, and these gifts are God’s way of pushing humanity towards the Catholic Church, why are all Christians not united?  First and foremost, we Catholics should have no problem confessing that we have not always been good representatives of the Holy Spirit.  We’ve squandered the gifts provided to us through our inaction, or sometimes through bad action.  We sometimes don’t give enough credence to the fact that our behavior plays a huge role in how people around us see Christ.  While they are responsible for their own choices, we are also responsible for which direction we push them in through our behavior.
Yet even if we are good witnesses, sometimes the work of the Spirit is not as effective as it could be.  At this point the truth of what it means to “have the Spirit” is revealed.  According to St. Stephen, the Jews of his day had the Holy Spirit.  He knew the Jews had the Spirit because the Sanhedrin resisted the Spirit at every turn.  (Acts 7:58)  The Spirit exists to push us closer to Christ, and that means to the Church He founded.  We are free to be guided by this Spirit, or we can resist it.  Even with the sacraments, we frequently resist the Spirit in our own lives.
Why Does This Matter?
While all of this might sound like a pointless theological exercise, this should have profound implication for our desire to evangelize.    Our Protestant brethren having the Spirit should make us want to witness to them more, not less.  If they have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit (even if it is not readily apparent) is guiding them towards the Catholic Church.  To reach the Church, the Holy Spirit is guiding them to us.   Sometimes we need to go out there and let people know we are there for that purpose.  While this might take the form of a debate/argument, more often than not, we are there to answer questions.  Yet in order to fulfill this role the Spirit has for us, we need to make ourselves present.  Otherwise, in our failure to evangelize, we are resisting the Spirit as well.
- See more at: http://catholiclane.com/the-bad-evangelist-club-do-protestants-have-the-holy-spirit/#sthash.2EGN20fT.dpuf