The Leading of the Holy Spirit

Mark Copeland wrote an extremely insightful and well explained description of what the Bible teaches about the leading of the Holy Spirit: It describes the leading of the Spirit through the word and the implications of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian. In my life I have seen brethren who believe that the Holy Spirit speaks to them directly telling them what Bible passages mean, what job to take, where to live, etc. Though Francis Chan called the Holy Spirit “The Forgotten God”, He is also subject to the most misunderstanding and speculation. Scripture doesn’t give us many details of much of His work but that doesn’t stop people from attributing messages and direction to Him. (Great review of that book by Gardner Hall here: note: Hall also talks about scriptural problems with Chan’s “Spirit leading” teaching).

The clear problem is that the Scriptures do not teach a direct leading of the Holy Spirit in the revelation of God’s will when we study or specific direction in our lives. There are no instructions for Christians on how to listen for the Spirit or how to discern between the message of a person’s spirit or the Holy Spirit after the period of spiritual gifts have ceased. There is no scripture addressing the consequences when we don’t move to the place or take the job as the Spirit directs (is it the same as breaking an explicit command of Scripture?–why not?). Furthermore, those who believe the Spirit speaks to them directly cannot explain how so many people who claim to be divinely led by the Spirit speak contradictory things when “God is not the author of confusion.” Where are the explicit miracles to accompany the revelation of God’s will as that which accompanied the revelation of God’s word in the Scriptures?

Many years ago I knew some people who first believed that the Spirit helped them understand God’s word and that He would set up “appointments” for them. Eventually, they became so “Spirit led” that they felt the Spirit was dictating what they should wear, where they should eat, and would give them words to say–essentially becoming puppets of the Spirit who no longer made decisions for themselves. This is a departure from the Bible description of lives transformed by the study and application of the Spirit-inspired scripture that become  spiritually discerning, kingdom focused, looking for opportunities to teach and edify, and making life choices (such as careers and where to live) in view of how the choice can glorify God.

Author: Rhodes Davis

My passion is analyzing information, exploring ideas, lifelong learning and sharing knowledge with others. I have a wide range of interests and am not easily bored so I approach unfamiliar and diverse subjects with great zeal. I am a business nerd, fascinated by what can be accomplished through innovative companies and people who want to change the world. My faith is very important and I enjoy opportunities to share my observations and study insights through teaching and writing. I follow the simple teachings of Jesus and try to reflect His glory in my life. I work with young people on applying the teachings of Jesus to their unique challenges and opportunities. "Curiosity keeps taking us down new paths." - Walt Disney

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