The following is from a handout to the ‘Newcomers Class’ that is conducted by an area congregation on Sunday mornings.
HOLY SPIRIT LED:
“While the staff and shepherds lead this church, we firmly believe this is done through processes of discerning the leading of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we make decisions through much prayer, Scripture reading, and discerning together with the church to determine God’s call for our congregation.”
I want it to be clearly understood that the following article does not in any fashion impugn the integrity, sincerity and motive of my brethren who believe in what is written in the preceding paragraph. But a person or persons can be sincere in one’s belief and yet be sincerely wrong when it comes to doctrine and biblical subjects. In my personal growth regarding the teaching found in the Word of God, I have had to change my understanding on certain subjects.
When as individuals or leaders of a congregation make any decisions and especially pertaining to what God would have us to be and to do, we should search the Holy Scriptures and pray to God for wisdom in our decisions. But it is in the statement, “While the staff and shepherds lead this church, we firmly believe this is done through processes of discerning the leading of the Holy Spirit” that concerns me. It is certainly true that the Holy Spirit leads us as taught by the apostle Paul in Romans 8:14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” What all this verse entails, it is absolutely clear, the Holy Spirit does lead us. The question is how does He lead us?
Brother R. L. Whiteside wrote the following in his commentary on Romans 8:14: “The statement indicates a continuous process. Nothing is here said as to how the Spirit leads people; but as Paul is still developing his theme that the gospel is God’s power to save, it is certain that the Spirit leads through the power of the gospel. The gospel was revealed by the Spirit. In that revelation the Spirit tells us how to live, and sets motives before us to induce us to follow his directions. But if the Spirit, independent of the gospel, leads people to become children of God, then the gospel is not God’s power to save. We are sure Paul did not make an assertion about the Holy Spirit that contradicted his theme and his argument.”
The following passages clearly teach that all the Holy Spirit desires for us to know regarding our salvation, our worship to God and living a faithful Christian life in Jesus Christ. Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”2 Timothy 3:16, 17: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Peter 1:2, 3: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” Jude 1:3: “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” According to the words of Jesus as found in John 16:13, The Holy Spirit would guide the apostles “into all the truth.” And this would be true with all the writers of the New Testament, our guide in religious matters today. To teach that the Holy Spirit has revealed additional truths takes away from the power of the gospel and the complete will of God for us to learn and obey.
For many years, brother Guy N. Woods was the moderator of the Open Forum conducted during the annual lectureship at Freed-Hardeman University. On occasions brother Woods asked brother Gus Nichols to come to the stage and assist him in answering some of the questions. These two Christian gentlemen were good friends and respected one another very much. Now, the reason I am mentioning this is because these great students of the Bible did not agree on how the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian. Brother Woods was adamant in believing that the Holy Spirits indwells the Christian indirectly through the inspired Word of God. Brother Nichols was as firm in his understanding in the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the child of God.