Friday, February 10, 2006

Led By the Holy Spirit?

I have come out here in the past as an "Open But Cautious" guy with regards to spiritual gifts and their operation in the modern church. This is not because I necessarily believe that people currently speak in tongues or prophecy, but rather it is because I find the scriptural argument for their ceasing to be rather lacking. On the other hand, I am uncomfortable at best and mostly appalled at what goes on inside most "charismatic" circles.

Over at Centuri0n's place, I have engaged him in his comment section over what I believe to be the next logical step after discussing the more "special" gifts. That is, if God no longer gives "revelation", how is it that we can be said to be "led by the Spirit" or how did we even get saved in the first place?

To cut to the chase, he and I have agreed, somewhat tentatively, that regeneration is a revelation from God. It is, however, consistent with God's Word and it does not happen outside of God's Word. (That is my statement, not his, though I believe that he would likely agree.) In other words, one does not receive the "revelation" that Jesus is the Christ outside of hearing or reading the gospel itself. The gospel is the vehicle that the Holy Spirit "travels" in to bring about the new birth of the soul.

Here is where it gets more interesting. I am of the opinion that whatever it is that the Holy Spirit did to bring about life and faith in me, He continues to do to this very day. I believe that the reason that I have assurance of salvation at this very moment is because the Holy Spirit is continually giving me new life. This is what I believe that Paul means in Romans 8:14-16. Let me quote it, because this is the main passage that the Centuri0n and I have been discussing:

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:14-16).

It is my contention that Paul means to say here that the Holy Spirit is bearing constant witness to our spirits to give us certainty, encouragement, rebuke, and to bring about sanctification. The Centuri0n argues that the Spirit bears witness with our spirit in the sense that when we walk in sanctification He is speaking together with us to others. I will grant him that I see that element as well. However, I believe that while the Spirit bears witness to others through us that He does not neglect to bear witness to our own souls as well. This is shaky for a cessasionist I believe because what I am claiming for myself is that I have a constant revelation from God to my spirit that I am His child. Further, I believe that He further assures me of all of the promises of God to me (and the church) that He has revealed in His word. While I am outing myself as a quasi-charismatic, I will further assert that the Holy Spirit has given me the assurance that I am called to be a teacher of the Word. Outside of the assurance of God's promises and the Spirit's compulsion to put me in the ministry I have received no further revelation.

I would very much like to hear your input on this, and perhaps the Centuri0n himself will grace us with his presence to add his two "cents". Oh yeah, if he pulls out that "I'm a B team apologist and not even a pastor" stuff, flog him with a wet noodle. I do not fall for the old "aw shucks" defense. He is as sharp as a tack.


Nathan said...

Your shameless attempt to garner stats by posting at centuri0n has worked. I'm here. And I'm here to rebuke you, because I would never do likewise.

I just finished posting my own response in centuri0n's comments. I'd like to hear whatcha think about them.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

I don’t see a problem with this, even as a total cessationist. Contrary to the popular special/natural revelation distinction, I would opt for a propositional/non-propositional distinction. I would say the inner revelation of the Spirit is non-propositional.

Sojourner said...


Is the inner revelation of the Spirit unique? If so, how? What other revelations would be on par with this?

Mike Pitzler said...

Romans 8:13-14 13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

perhaps the Spirit is conforming us to obedience to the law by putting sin to death.