One of the problems faced in theology is a protection of Scripture’s unique authority without lessening the dynamic of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I have encountered this twice in the last couple hours today. First, it was in reading the conclusion of a doctrinal work on the Word of God (John Frame’s tome on the topic). Second, it was in listening to a message preached by John Van Gelderen last Sunday evening titled the “Friendship of the Holy Spirit.” Some questions and problems:
- How does the Spirit’s conviction in our lives connect with persuading us that the Bible is the Word of God?
- Whether the Spirit can help us become persuaded that the Bible is the Word of God?
- This also ties directly in with the role of the Spirit in apologetic defense of the faith. Is all we can say is that the Spirit uses evidences (in an evidential approach)? Or the Spirit regenerates us and then we automatically are convinced the Bible is the Word of God (in a presuppositional approach)? I oversimplify here.
- How does the academic study of the Word of God fit together with the Spirit’s role in helping us to perceive theological truths found there?
- Admittedly, I desire rightly the stability of an objective interpretive method, the literal grammatical historical method. It is only there that we can not be deceived.
- I also view academic study as the “gatekeeper” of truth. It is the most serious Bible study that handles the Word of God accurately.
- But, we cannot deny that the Spirit must have a role in helping us to be illuminated to Spiritual realities.
- If it is understood that we should have fellowship with the Spirit as in 2Cor 13’s benediction (as well as the Father and the Son), how does this work if we reject any sense of current revelation from the Godhead? Is there a level of interaction we can have with God that is genuine fellowship but falls short of actual authoritative revelation?
- Truly, this is a key pillar in the ongoing controversy about spiritual gifts. All I would say is, the idea that prophecy can be genuine but be false truly fails at what it claims to provide. Yet, those we deny continuing use of the gift of prophecy cannot overstate the lack of Spirit activity today or fail to explain the legitimate spiritual dynamic.
- When it comes to the Spirit’s leading, a practical problem can be the possibility that some people may be mislead by well-intentioned spiritual zeal and misinterpret such impulses as the Spirit’s dynamic of leading. Some areas of this sort might include volunteering for ministry opportunities, witnessing, selling all we have to go to the mission field, etc.
- I have had so many failures and missteps in my life because I was sure that the Spirit was leading me a certain direction in an “obvious” matter like witnessing to someone, and the fruit of such attempts in my life has almost never been good. BUT, I don’t want to be held back from a dynamic leading of the Spirit.
- This problem of spiritual leading can become even more significant when it is expanded to a divine leading to abstain or to engage in certain practices that may be within the bounds of Scripture but unique to you.
- Truthfully, I do not always like boundaries. I would rather just exercise liberty within divine bounds. Part of this flows from a perspective where I didn’t feel God wanted me to enjoy anything good. Yet, it seems plain that it is right that the Spirit might have us abstain or partake in something that He might not have others.
These random musings are just some points for me as I contemplate this subject today. May we all grow towards a Biblical perspective of these two sides that fits them together.
3 thoughts on “Leading of the Spirit and Fellowship with the Spirit”
And let us never forget that sometimes failures to us are not failures at all and we may never know until Glory
Yes, that is also possible. I would amplify my comment under point 4.1 is referring to failures to do something that one may have felt led to do. A specific example might be a sense that one should witness to a specific individual. The lack of Spirit empowerment in that kind of situation makes me more skeptical about whether such leadings were truly of the Holy Spirit. Yet, there is the possibility it too was a failure. May the Lord help.
A Jacob W. Reinhardt, thanks! And thanks for sharing your great posts every week!
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