When I was preaching in Virginia, I received a call from a concerned brother in another state. He related to me that the congregation where he was attending was trying to push for women to serve in the church’s leadership roles. He explained that the preacher’s and leadership’s defense and rationale was that the Holy Spirit was moving among them and leading them to this conclusion.
Have you ever heard a person or congregation seek to promote or defend a practice by claiming this kind of Spirit-guidance? On the surface, it may seem powerful or compelling. After all, if God is leading one to do something who is to oppose it?
The interesting (and important) thing is that the Spirit has already led us to truth on the matters pertaining to life and godliness (cf. 2 Pet. 1:3). The Spirit inspired His Bible writers to reveal all truth (cf. John 14:26; 16:13). Other passages, like 1 Corinthians 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:21, show God’s deliberate process of revealing His truth through inspired men in the time of the Bible. You will also notice that God confirmed the word of His spokesmen through miracles, wonders, and signs (Acts 2:22,43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; Rom. 15:19; Heb. 2:4).
When someone contends today that the Spirit is moving them or the congregation to do “X,” a couple of puzzling conundrums must be solved. First, if “X” conflicts with God’s revealed truth in Scripture, why is the Spirit calling for it and why should this calling trump God’s original will on the matter? Second, what miracle, wonder or sign will be done to confirm the validity of it? Third, what if someone else says, “But the Spirit is leading me to tell you that’s not correct?”
The Spirit is leading us and speaking to us today. He does so powerfully, through the Word He moved men to write (cf. Heb. 4:12). This sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17) is ample to guide us to do all the will of God!