Within religious circles it is not accidental to hear statements such as, ‘just let the spirit led’, or ‘do not force your doctrine and any form of teaching, let us just be led by the spirit’. And in other words, ‘only the leading of the spirit is important, so just listen to what the spirit is saying’. And built on such view (which in itself is a doctrinal position or teaching) you will hear people often saying, ‘the Holy Spirit told me such and such’. Is there any truth and innocence in such statements and teachings? This brief articles aims at responding at just that question.
Meaning of the claim
The meaning of the claim is not hidden but it is as the statement explicitly states. We must be led only by the spirit in what is true. Rightly affirming the presence of the Holy Spirit in and around us. Thus, the plea is for one to respectively listen audibly or perceptually to the leading or guidance of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, direct and positive dialog is highly discouraged, and doctrines or teachings are viewed as evil and not something concerning the Holy Spirit.
The lie promoted
Such a claim is inherently false. In its attempt to generally denounce doctrine, it is itself laying a dogma. Hence, it is an illogical claim to start-off, for the law of non-contradiction is left hanging. Sadly, this claim ambitions to detach one from any sort of comprehensible knowledge and primarily that of Scripture, leaving us in midair. Many who hold such a view do say that as Christians we have the Scriptures to guide us, but strangely, Scripture is not even given a hearing. Many do not know what the Scriptures say concerning the leading and guidance of the Spirit. Dreadfully the promotion is for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into a holy vacuum of transcended awareness unfamiliar to Scripture.
The truth concerning the guidance of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is God. Relating to the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures also say, either the Spirit of Christ or Spirit of God. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit in creation is seen in Genesis chapter one and verse two, “And the Spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters”. Here the role is that of maintenance or sustenance. God the Spirit maintains that which God has made. Thus, it is not strange that after conversion, God renews you (2 Corinthians 5:17) to become his child (John 1:12), and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. The Spirit comes to maintain that which God has return to himself, and that is why the Scriptures say that he is the deposit or guarantee or down payment (2 Corinthians 5:5 and Ephesians 1:14). Hence, we are called temples of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17), indicating something of purpose and importantly emphasizing something of leading and guiding to attain the purpose.
Jesus words are important to understand how the Spirit leads and guides us:
John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you”.
John 15:26, “But the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me”.
John 16:13-14, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you”.
The point from the above texts is clear! The Spirit leads us to Christ. The Spirit helps us to see, hear and know God and Jesus Christ (John 17:3) through his word. He is the author of the Scriptures, and he gives us insight and opens our eyes and mind to understand this God and Christ and his will (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). The Holy Spirit leads us to the Scriptures to help us to perceive right doctrine (Titus 2:1) and consequently leading us to right living. Even in matters that are not explicitly clear in the Bible (example, which political part to vote for, or is voting right), the Spirit still illuminates our sight with clearer texts and influences us to draw right inferences from the unclear.
Therefore, the Holy Spirit leads and guides us through his word which he inspired, revealing to us the beauty of Christ and the gloriousness of the will of God. Enabling us to transform into Christ character. Thus, doctrine is inevitable because the will of God contains content to be known, taught, desired and lived out. As Isaac Makashinyi once said, “Nothing so shapes the way that we live, and nothing is more important to the Christian life than the content of the faith we profess”, and I add that the Holy Spirit discloses this content to God’s children as they intern run and thirst after this content.
Is there any truth and innocence in the claim?
For anything to be true, it must show it’s consistency with God’s Word (Psalm 119:160 and John 17:17). Blind leading of the Spirit is something strange to Scripture and should therefore not be trusted. Such teachings aim to divorce us from the Scripture, and furthermore isolate us from God, Christ, and his will. The Spirit does not speak secretively and lead us into subjective fantasy; however, by and through his word he aim to conform us to the character of Christ, by teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training us (2 Timothy 3:16).
Therefore, let us take care that you test every Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:21and 1 John 4:1), and without loathing any, examine whether any teaching is leading you to the Bible, to the Gospel, and to Christ.