“I Can’t Get a Yes From the Holy Ghost” – Daniel Denham

Daniel Denham

Long ago, during a Gospel meeting held by brother William Cline at Eagle Lake, Florida, a married couple presented themselves at the close of the Lord’s Day evening services. After they expressed regrets for arriving late, they began to distribute cards. The cards bore the “two most important scriptures in the Bible,” according to the two late visitors.

The two Scriptures on the cards were John 3:16 and 1 John 4:1-3. These two people were devotees of the Pentecostal movement. They may have intended to visit the Assembly of God Church which meets around the corner from the Eagle Lake congregation, but had stopped too soon. They said the Spirit led them to us.

I began a discussion with the couple, and before long brother Cline joined in. The couple misunderstood 1 John 4:1-3, and that misunderstanding became the center of our discussion. They claimed to have the Holy Ghost in a very special way, and asserted that He spoke to them revealing the true meaning of the Word of God.

They attempted to use 1 John 4:1-3 to teach that one had to (1) confess verbally that Jesus has come in the flesh and (2) that such confession must be made in prayer to the Holy Ghost so that (3) the Holy Ghost could be tried. If one followed these three steps, then the Holy Ghost would reveal the meaning of any portion of the Word or provide an answer to any query.

The couple also said they could not sin at all because of having the Holy Ghost. Brother Cline and I used Scripture to show them they did not have the Holy Spirit in the same way the apostles had the Spirit, and that the Spirit does not speak directly to men today. We also used 1 John 1:8-10 to refute the idea of perfectionism (living sinless).

We tried to set up a time for further discussion, but the couple refused. Most distressing was the way they blocked logic from their minds.

When asked to answer an argument from Scripture, they bowed their heads and mumbled a prayer that began, “Blessed Holy Spirit we confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” At that point their words became incoherent. After finishing they would raise their heads and say something like, “The verse doesn’t mean what it says.” I tried to convince them that illumination of the Word by the Spirit is unnecessary by showing that I, who disavowed such power, could understand a verse exactly. I said Jude verse one teaches Jude was the Lord’s servant. They said they would have to ask the Holy Ghost before they could tell me whether Jude 1 teaches that Jude was the Lord’s servant. This response stunned me.

The man accused brother Cline of using a devil’s trick because he pointed out the force of the Greek in the present tense construction of 1 John 3:9. Apparently they did not know that the Spirit originally used Koine Greek to write the passage. The man also mangled 1 John 1:8 by claiming that he had sinned in the past, and it was on his record, but now he was unable to sin. He said this was the true meaning of the passage.

When asked for their name and address, the couple said that they had to ask the Holy Ghost for permission, and began their ritual. A short while later, the man lifted his head and said, “I can’t get a yes from the Holy Ghost.” His wife nodded the same. To this day I don’t know where they came from, nor where they have gone.

A leader of the Boston Discipling Movement once claimed special divine guidance. He claimed to be led by the Spirit of God in the decisions he made, and in the rules he gave. He also claimed the Spirit helped him to lead a perfect, sinless life. This type of thinking calls for more dramatic pronouncements, so “Hold onto your hat! You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

Jeremiah said:

Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart (Jer. 14:14).

   Send article as PDF   

Author: Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *