Bill Lockwood: New Ways of Hearing the Holy Spirit? 4 (1)
by Bill Lockwood
Fox News ran an article recently by Christen Limbaugh Bloom about being “open to hearing from the Holy Spirit in new ways” (10-4-21). She speaks of “joining a church” that “prioritized being led by the Holy Spirit.” That new church had a woman “pastor” who declared that the Holy Spirit gave her a “vision” as a “message of encouragement to me.”
Bloom marveled that the “pastor” had not only received an “amazing spiritual gift” but had the “discernment to know it was actually an image from God and not just her own imagination.” Eager to learn more, Bloom asked the “pastor” days later how she too, could receive “this type of revelation from the Holy Spirit.”
The answer given was that her “desire to fully understand this type of experience was coming from a good place,” and that these “desires were born of the Holy Spirit.” The “pastor” related that her first instinct also had been to “question the images.” She did not know if they were from God or not. Maybe the “images” and “dreams” were her own creativity? She did not know until an older “pastor” assured her that she was on the right track.
At the end of the day, Bloom writes, faith must play a role in our ability to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit. In other words, there is no certainty here, but one has to believe these visions come from God. This is what “being open to hearing the Holy Spirit” means.
What shall we say to these things?
First, if this is the New Testament method of “receiving the Holy Spirit”, Christianity would never have seen the light of the second century. Everything above speaks purely of subjectivism. No knowledge that God is involved at all. The only thing we are left with is: “God gives good things”; these visions are good things; therefore they must be from God. Upon these grounds every religion, no matter how far-fetched, is valid.
The New Testament teaches us that even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). By what criterion does Bloom and her leaders know that Satan is not the one giving the “visions?”
Second, to underscore the subjective nature of what Bloom describes, note that these individuals had to ask others if this is from the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, the Spirit endorsed His message by “signs, wonder, and manifold powers, and gifts of the Holy Spirit” (Mark 16:17-20; Heb. 2:4). When Philip preached to the Samaritans, they believed because they saw the signs (miracles) that he did (Acts 8:6). What miraculous signs do these give that the Holy Spirit is actually involved? As good-hearted as Bloom and her mentors may be, they have nothing but their own unguided feelings to give them assurance.
Third, if the Holy Spirit is actually inspiring persons like this today, why the need to ask someone else about it? Is this the nature of inspiration that was given to the apostles? Is this how the New Testament was written? Did Paul need ask Peter if his own epistle was God-given or his “own imagination?” If so, how would Peter have answered? “I’m not sure Paul, but if you write good things they must be of the Holy Spirit.” Does this sound like an apostolic conversation?
If this is how one is to establish the truthfulness of Christianity, we are totally lost and Jesus Christ is ridiculed in the streets. But this is where “pop-Christianity” is today. Blind leading the blind. Little wonder we have need of real Bible teaching on the Holy Spirit.