Saturday, April 02, 2011

Direct Operation of the Holy Spirit

One of the controversies in the assembly of Christ is that of the nature of the Holy Spirit's operations in the present day. One side says that the Holy Spirit can directly operate on a person's heart; the other says that the Holy Spirit only operates through the text of the Word.

I just came across this passage which seems to have relevance:
2 Tim 2:24 The Lord's slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them a change of mind to know the truth.
What this says to me is that the instruction of the Word is instrumental, but that ultimately, a mind-change is a function of God's will in each instance, not of what he has said at some time or another. This seems to me to be a direct action of God on a person's heart.


Anonymous said...

Why put limitations on the Holy Spirit?

Chyntt said...

It has been my experience that those who believe the Holy Spirit is limited believe that the limitation is set within the Scriptures by God himself, not by themselves.

If that view is correct, then the answer to your question is, "Because they respect the Scriptures."

Whether that view is correct or not is what my post addresses.

Chyntt said...

HCSB 1 Chron 20:1 Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count [the people of] Israel.

It seems odd that Satan can incite a person from the inside, but the Holy Spirit can not.

It seems to me that we deny the power of God and/or quench the Spirit when we interpret the text as saying that God can not operate directly on his people.

I understand the desire to respect what the Scriptures say; I fully uphold that desire. But I suspect we interpret the Scriptures sometimes by our own experiences more so than by what the text actually says.

I think this is what is happening on this issue of how the Holy Spirit operates on believers; some of us don't see miracles happening in our own lives and we have a need to explain that. So we "see" in the Scriptures that miracles, etc, have ceased, and are comforted that it's not just us that is missing out on the neat-o stuff, but all moderns. And then we have to refute the "error" of those "holy rollers" over there who are misunderstanding the "plain" teaching of the Bible.

I've come to realize that many issues that were once "plain" to me, are not. They were just strongly-held beliefs, more often than not held by giving less-than-fair treatment to contradictory evidence.

Lynn said...

On what are these folks basing their understanding "that the Holy Spirit only operates through the text of the Word."? Is it scripture? If so which ones?

Chyntt said...

In short, it's based on the notion that any other method that the Holy Spirit might use is a non-natural, and thus, miraculous, method.

They believe that miracles ceased near the end of the first century, basing this doctrine mostly on an understanding of 1 Cor 13 which interprets "that which is partial" as being the incomplete revelation, and "that which is perfect/complete" as being the completed text of the New Testament/Bible.

It's been a very long time since I've tried to defend this position, and so rather than trying to explain further an idea which I no longer hold, let me just suggest you google for "have miracles ceased". You'll get a better explanation of their position than I could give.