Sunday, August 21, 2016

Erroneous Reliance on Circumstances as Evidence of the Holy Spirit's Leading

Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Four   Part Five   Part Six

Very often through the years, I have witnessed or heard professing believers speak about "waiting on the leading of the Holy Spirit," and what they meant actually was "waiting on circumstances that they interpreted as the leading of the Holy Spirit."  The terminology, "waiting on the leading of the Holy Spirit," is very ambiguous.  What does someone even mean when he is saying that?  When someone does say or write it, I've seen people nodding their heads with understanding, but I'm very sure that people don't really understand.  It is almost utterly subjective and allows for a great many outcomes with ultimate interpretation being that God told someone to do what he was doing almost without question.

What are people expecting when they say, "I'm waiting on the leading of the Holy Spirit?" Sometimes they mean they are waiting for an impression or a feeling or a strong desire, some kind of nearly irresistible urge.  It isn't much of a different experience than the LDS "burning in the bosom."  It can't be a burning in the bosom if the person isn't Mormon, but it carries with it equal authority to the LDS experience.  The Mormons, however, use James 1:5 as a biblical basis for their experience, essentially saying that the feeling is the wisdom they were asking for.

The language of waiting on the Spirit isn't in the Bible.  I'm not sure where it originated.  Spirit-filling isn't waiting.  It is active, even as "be filled with the Spirit" is present tense, continuous action.  A believer is never to be waiting as it relates to his relationship to the Holy Spirit.  "Walk in the Spirit," another biblical teaching, is to be continuous.  The biblical idea of waiting is to wait for our reward, wait for the coming of the Lord.  We don't wait to start obeying what He said.

Sometimes the "leading of the Spirit" is a series of circumstances that form a picture to a person like a mosaic, a version of "reading the tea leaves" or "reading of the coffee grounds" in Middle Eastern tradition.   I admit, it is funny to me, but then I stop laughing, recognizing that it shouldn't be funny because many people are deceived in this way.  I estimate that more than half, maybe three quarters, of independent or unaffiliated Baptists, and many more evangelicals and fundamentalists, label this kind of approach to decision making as "the leading of the Spirit."

I recognize that people have instinct and gut feelings, but they shouldn't call that "the leading of the Spirit."  Gut feeling can't rise to the level of God talking.  Some people have better instincts than others, for which they should be thankful.  I've driven along a road, trying to find some place for which I'm looking, and then see enough landmarks to know that I've arrived.  That isn't the Holy Spirit. It is a combination of my own experience, thinking, knowledge of city planning, road design, and memory.  Police detectives use the same type of instincts for solving crimes.  They look at a body in a murder investigation and clues narrow their search to a set of specific individuals that they call suspects. You've heard someone say, "Follow the money."  That isn't the Holy Spirit.

I played little league and then high school baseball.  Baseball is a slow moving game that requires some focus and concentration that at times I did not either possess or practice.  In the middle of a practice, or even a game, while my mind was wandering, a shadow would move toward me in the field, and I would duck.  My instincts said, "duck," because a ball was coming.  It wasn't a ball, but a low flying bird.  People in the stands saw someone convulsing and wondered what was wrong, since a pitch hadn't even been thrown.  My arm raised in self preservation.  I had this happen several times in my childhood.  What my mind interpreted as a baseball was actually the shadow of a bird flying over.  Some of you reading know what I'm talking about.  I shouldn't call that a baseball just because of an impression I had.

I'm not saying that circumstances have nothing to do with decision making.  I'm not saying either that the Holy Spirit isn't involved in circumstances.  The Bible teaches the providence of God.  I'm fine with someone calling circumstances the providence of God.  Everything that happens is either allowed or caused by God.  It wouldn't happen without Him.  However, how someone reads circumstances should not be called "the Holy Spirit leading."  The Holy Spirit leads through the Word of God.  When we practice scripture we are being led by the Spirit.

Circumstances can and should be read.  If the price goes up on a particular item, you might not buy it. It's now too expensive.  You were going to take a trip, but you put the necessary money into a repair of your water heater or the car is acting up, so you can't trust it to take you out of town.  When you are talking to someone in evangelism, he keeps looking at his watch or looking back over his shoulder.  You ask him if he wants you to continue.  He says, "No."

Furthermore, you candidate as a pastor for a church.  The committee or the church members ask you what you believe and practice.  You tell them everything.  They believe and practice different than you do.  They don't want you as pastor, so you don't get the percentage of vote required by their church constitution.  Someone has a sign that says, "No soliciting."  You don't solicit.  You visit every house in town and no one receives the gospel.  You start on a different town. Jesus approaches a Samaritan town and they tell Him to leave.  He leaves. Are all of those the leading of the Spirit?   The Holy Spirit is not disconnected from the above decisions, because the Bible has something to say about all of them, but I know that isn't what people mean when they say they are "waiting on the leading of the Spirit."

I watched some Olympic pole vaulting on the internet.  Certain participants would skip a height to reduce their potential number of misses, since that is a tie break in the competition.  It also saves on energy to make less attempts.   Skipping heights isn't a good decision by a pole vaulter if he can't clear the height he has skipped to.  His decision should be based upon some knowledge that he can succeed at an attempted height.  Many Olympic events require strategy.  The Kenyan long distance runners unsuccessfully took the 10,000 meters out to a very fast pace to wear out Britain's Mo Farah. He still had enough in the tank to pass them at the end and win despite even tripping and falling at one point in the race.  Decisions Christians make take in similar considerations for decision making in their lives and its good to give God credit for enabling a good decision, but these are not "waiting on the Spirit to lead."

The people of Israel were to recognize the arrival of Jesus.  To do that, they needed to be sensitive to biblical cues from the Old Testament.  A lot of evidence existed to point to Him as the Messiah.  Jesus talked about this in Matthew 16, when he excoriated the Pharisees for their application of meteorological knowledge while failing at scriptural evidence.  He was saying they had the ability to make good decisions -- they just were taking that ability and not using it where it counted most.  Judging the sky for good weather is appropriate decision making for a fisherman.  That is not "waiting on the Holy Spirit to lead."

Jesus uses a similar illustration as the one in Matthew 16 in Luke 14, where He speaks of men calculating the cost of building a tower before they start to build it.  He uses the analogy for the consideration of following Him.  He doesn't deride the basis of calculating cost.  He uses it as an illustration for the right way of making a decision.  Jesus did this all the time.  He said not to cast pearls before swine.  That's a waste of time, so it's a bad decision to do it.  You don't need to "wait for" those to make a good decision.  They are the kind of basis one uses to make a right decision.

Charismatics among others often teach a concept they call "praying through."  The idea, as I have read, is something like trying to get satellite radio while under an overpass.  Your prayers are being disrupted by demonic or Satanic activity, but they will get through or God will get the answer through to you if you go through enough sacrifice for that to occur.  The idea is that you might need to go without food and spend hours praying to get the leading of the Holy Spirit you need for a right decision.  God removes the disruption, but only if you pay the price.  Applying the "praying through" concept to purchasing a house would be to fast and pray, asking God to show whether you should buy the house, and then the Holy Spirit talks to you in your head, telling you what to do.  That is very often what people mean by "the leading of the Holy Spirit."

What people will "pray through" to get in the way of "the Holy Spirit leading," they already have. You don't have to wait to find out if you are supposed to evangelize somewhere.  The next person is fine.  Just do it (my apologies to Nike).  It's fine to talk to the first person in town like Paul did Lydia in Acts 16.  When we started here in the Bay Area in 1987, I went to the person closest to us, and my next person was the next closest person to us.  I didn't skip those two to get to the third closest person, because of a feeling I had.  A huge part of the decision where we started was that there was no church in the entire town.  None.  No church.  It was a town that had no church (and no gas station).

We have the Holy Spirit's leading.  We are led by the Spirit, if we are saved.  We don't need to wait on it.  It's already arrived.

If I buy a piece of furniture at IKEA, which requires assembly, I wait to read the instructions before I start putting it together.  I have to wait for certain supplies or tools to do a project.  Usually you don't marry the first man or woman you meet.  I can talk to the first person I see in class, but that doesn't mean he's my new best friend.  Scriptural thinking precedes decisions about marriage, about friendship, and about many activities.  It doesn't tell me how to put together IKEA furniture.

I could preach the gospel to several people a day for a month without anyone receiving Christ.  I'm not seeing any results, but I don't give up.  I'm doing what God wants and I'm waiting on Him for the results.  God has put His love in my heart for these people.  That's how you wait on the Lord.  You take fulfillment in your position in Christ, the hope of eternal reward, and enjoy the multifaceted and plenty of the goodness of God.  You don't become impatient and do something unscriptural to speed up the results.  That's how you wait on the Holy Spirit.  I waited until I had done all of the above.  I'm now ready to move on.  I waited until now to do that.

I take complete, thorough records.  I have knocked on every door in town and left literature three different times.  By following up, I have preached to someone at every door twice.  In addition, I have preached to all my neighbors who would listen and every person who would listen with whom I do business.  No one has received Christ.  That is legitimate waiting.  It's up to the town now whether they will follow the Lord Jesus Christ or not.  I don't feel guilty.  I don't take the blame for their indifference.  They've got to do what they've got to do, and they haven't done that.  I've waited for them the amount of time I'm supposed to wait and I have a biblical basis for moving on, which is how the Holy Spirit leads.

What people call "waiting on the Holy Spirit to lead" can be disobedience to God.  They shouldn't be waiting.  Their waiting is not working or not serving or not loving.  It's an excuse.  It can be spiritual pride.  Someone says he's waiting on the Holy Spirit, so that people will think he's got some type of elite channel to the Holy Spirit beyond others.  God talks to him directly unlike others, perhaps because he has sacrificed more.  The people saying they are receiving these messages from God operate out of a wrong understanding of scripture, making apostolic and prophetic activity normative for today.  They aren't.

There is a kind of deniability to the described signs "evidence" of the Holy Spirit.  They aren't the fraudulent tongues or healings of Charismaticism.  They are just not enough signs to deny they're signs, at the same time being signs.  People are waiting for something.  This "leading" is something. They are a unique voice in the head, validated by some circumstances or series of circumstances, that are a sign that the voice is authentic.  Enough people believe in this kind of activity that they validate one another.  They point to each other as a confirmation of its reality.  They accept each other for saying they are getting these experiences.   It spreads to others.

When I confront Charismatics on their lies, they huff and puff with offense.  I'm unloving to doubt their experience.  I haven't found it different with Baptists and their special means of advanced revelation. In addition, they throw down autonomy.  You think you're the pope if you question them. It's going to keep going and get worse at this rate.

I consider the "waiting on the Spirit" language to be verbal and theological gobbledygook, essentially erroneous reliance on circumstances.  Deny it.  Leave it.


Tyler Robbins said...

Very helpful. Just yesterday, in church, a notice in the bulletin read, "if you feel God speaking to you, then please speak to Mrs. **** about helping in children's ministry." I know the woman who put the notice in, and I know her terminology was just bad, but the point is that this kind of speech is common and accepted in Baptist circles.

Good stuff once more! Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Tyler (and others reading),

We are generous in the way we treat these types of statements. I'm not saying that it wasn't just terminology, except to say that maybe it wasn't just terminology. You'd have to ask, and risk offending someone. How should the announcement have been written? For those reading here, consider this: "We need workers in junior church. Think about whether you can do it and talk to Mrs. **** about what you would need to do and whether you can do it." Furthermore, church leaders could gauge whether someone could do the job and recruit for it. That way they wouldn't need to enlist the services of feelings interpreted as God speaking.

While in the middle of writing this latest piece, I got a missionary prayer letter, which was filled with the same type of language, including waiting on the Holy Spirit to lead.

Tyler Robbins said...

Yes, I certainly agree with what you're saying. This really makes you consider just how large an impact Keswick theology has had in Baptist circles as a whole. Its impact is immense indeed.

I sometimes wish we had access to a time machine so we could travel back 200 years or more and see if this kind of "God is speaking to me" speech is common in everyday Christian language. The best we can do is read sermons or books from bygone eras, and compare. It would be an interesting comparison. I wonder if Bro. Ross has anything to say on this point, from his treatise on Kesiwck theology?

David said...

Pastor Brandenburg,

After having watched the entire video series of the debate you had with the Church of Christ "preacher" a number a years ago, I keep wanting to leave out the first "r" in your name. It still gives me a chuckle.

First of all, thanks for the series. It is definitely counter to what I was taught growing up and even at college. I want to make a couple comments and leave some questions.

While some talk about God leading them or telling them to do certain things could be based on a motive of pride, self-deception, or lying, my desire growing up for asking for the Lord's leading in my life has been out of a motive of wanting to do the Lord's will, to want to obey Him. If we are to be like Christ, then our goal should also be to do our Father's will and not have our own will to follow. We are to die to self. Christ is to live in and through us as we live by faith. When it came time to decide on where to go to college, who to marry, and where to serve the Lord, IT WAS TORTURE!!!! I mean AGONY for me. I wept and prayed yet felt that I was Peter standing on the shore and looking out at the lake wondering how in the world I was going to find the right fish that has the coin in its mouth. It was like trying to draw a picture of something in pitch black. People would tell me, I would have peace. But I was so worried about making the wrong decision and being out of His will by thinking it was His will but it not end up being so. People would tell me that "I would just know." That made me upset, too, because it was so subjective. I was taught that there is God's general will that is found in Scripture and His specific will that is not but we're supposed to find and follow it, too. Every IFB I knew of taught this, too.

During my time in college, I was talking on the phone with my uncle who went to BBC in Springfield years ago, was the children's pastor at a large Baptist church (he is far from being Baptist today), and was very liberal in many areas. He would listen to whatever music he wanted to and watch whatever movies he wanted to. He used whatever translation he wanted to. He told me on the phone once while I was in college, that we just have to keep inside the circle of God's general will and then just chose what we want within that circle (I had mentioned this in a past comment to a post of yours). From what I am reading, this is what you believe the Bible teaches as well. When my uncle told me this, I took it as just another liberal teaching from my liberal uncle who doesn't have the same standards as us we growing up. In other words, this teaching was considered liberal in my mind growing up. ...........

David said...

Part of me really likes the idea of teaching my children that they don't have to go through the torture like I did of trying to find out God's will when it comes to things outside the specifics of Scripture. I would hate to torture my children by sending them on a snipe hunting trip, only to find out there was no snipe to find. Internally, though, I am still struggling with knowing how to deal with the vacuum that would be created on still wanting God's will and not mine in specifics in my life. I am uncomfortable with the thought that God doesn't really care what I choose to do just as long as it doesn't contradict Scripture. It makes me feel like I am following myself rather than God. It makes me feel like I am living, rather than dead and letting Christ lead.

I see prayers in the OT that showed they wanted to know God's will in areas that were not things that Scripture would have had the specific answer to. David asking whether to go up to battle or not comes to my mind. Would a believer who is a military leader have to conclude that God does not have a will or a directive for him to follow? Is it wrong for him to even think God has a specific will with what he does with his military plan of action? Even with the complete Scripture, it isn't going to answer a question as such. Believers in the past seemed to look to God, expecting that He had a specific will and would inquire about it. Does God no long have the specific will today? Are we blocked from it in because we are now in this dispensation and have the completed Scripture? If God has a specific will for our lives on decisions we make that are within the realm of Scripture, how do we find it out and follow it? If he doesn't have a specific will, then does this mean we have no business even praying about anything that is within God's recorded will since it is just our decision anyway? These are the questions and struggles I have rolling around in my mind right now. If something was not clear, please feel free to ask further. I share all this for my own benefit but also because I know I am not the only one who has been brought up being taught as I have regarding the will of God and have struggled to know if I were following the stated "specific will of God." Thanks in advance for your response.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Tyler,

Thanks for asking. It is certainly true that Keswick people had very problematic views on God's leading. For instance, as Quakers, Jessie Penn-Lewis, Hannah Whitall Smith, etc. believed that the Divine Seed supposedly within them was equal to the Bible.

However, I have not specifically studied the question.

Dear Pastor Brandenburg & anyone else reading here:

I would be interested in seeing if you think that verses such as the following:

Ps 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Ps 37:34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
Pr 20:22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.

relate to this idea of waiting on the Holy Spirit. I recognize that you are not trying to exposit all texts on "waiting" in connection with God, but exposing things like listening to voices in your head. Thank you for many great points in this series.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Thanks for the comment. I don't believe that your "liberal uncle" takes the same position I espouse on this subject. The difference with folks like you describe with him, essentially the evangelical side, is that they don't apply biblical principles as authoritative to their lives. For instance, "be not conformed to this world" means almost nothing to them. That is to follow biblical teaching. They are not so concerned at offending the conscience of the weaker brother or causing him to stumble. Those are all in the Bible and the Holy Spirit works through those passages.

Passages in scripture where God spoke to prophets and apostles, before the completion of the Word of God, after not normative for today. The Bible is sufficient, so we can do everything that God wants us to do.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Perhaps you could reread or read the article. First, I was dealing with "waiting on the leading of the Holy Spirit," not "waiting on the Holy Spirit." I mentioned waiting on God in the article, telling people what it was in the New Testament. I gave positive examples of what it is to wait on the Lord. None of the examples you quote are "waiting on the leading of the Holy Spirit." None of them state that idea.

Have you ever met someone who said he was waiting on the leading of the Holy Spirit? What do you think he meant by it, when he said it? Did you just accept it when he said it?

What I'm saying is that they are waiting for the voice in the head essentially, waiting for God to give him an impression or feeling.


Anonymous said...

What do you think of 1 Cor. 12:8-10 -- seems that these were gifts given to people, not just Apostles. I struggle because I don't think that these gifts were just given to Apostles, but to average folks.


KJB1611 said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

Thanks for the reply. I probably have met someone, but I can't remember.

Thanks again.

Kent Brandenburg said...


What is taught in 1 Cor 12:8-10 isn't going to contradict any other teaching. I believe they relate to the Word of God again, knowing and communicating what the Bible means or says and then understanding and communicating the application of the Bible.

The sign gifts were for confirming the Word -- they were gifts of the apostles. It was always to authenticate the Word, always related to the apostles, essentially the apostles and their associates, but only the apostles spoke directly God's Words.

Anonymous said...

But don't you think that the gifts of the Spirit were for more than just confirming the Word? Weren't they also given for building up, instructing and sanctifying the church?


Anonymous said...

Based on what you said in this article I assume you don't fast? If fasting is not for the purpose of getting direction from the Lord or waiting on him or in some way seeking to change an outcome of a situation then what is it for? It is not just for denying the flesh. I would assume any Pastor has many reasons in his ministry for which to fast regularly.
Kent I don't know how much you realize that you are promoting the idea that the will of God is either A, B, C, or D. That is exactly the concept that Friesen developed in his book in the 70s. His teaching on the will of God has influenced a huge part of New Evangelicalism as well as a lot of Calvinistic Baptists. It is very easy for me to see that his teaching and I believe yours too is very Calvinistic. It minimises if not takes away human responsibility. Friesen's teaching promotes the idea that whatever we choose is the will of God and that leads to taking away human responsibility. The extreme of that position is that even though I sinned it was God's will. Now Friesen may not have espoused that extreme but his thinking and your thinking if carried to the logical end leads there. Your teaching absolutely takes away the necessity to wait on God and develope a close relationship with God where you are seeking him and his leading. I think it is dangerous. I hope men like David above will realize that what he was taught was correct. Kent I think you like using the loophole that things in the Bible are not normative because the Bible is complete to your advantage. How can you say that all these men of God spent time waiting for the leading of God and practiced praying to get direction from God and then say we don't have to so that? We ought to be seeking God's specific guidance as it relates to our life. Who should I marry, what sermon should I preach etc. Kent if a young man comes to you and wants to marry your daughter do you pray about it? Or do you just talk to him and figure out if he believes right and then make a human decision whether he can marry her or not? I assume based on what you say there is no reason for you to pray that God would show you if he is the right one because you can determine that yourself?

Just like the extreme on your side is that sin is the will of God, the extreme on my side is that a person prays about whether to eat cereal or an egg. I am not arguing in defence of that and you aren't arguing in defense of sin. All that to say when you make comments like making decisions about things like that you are developing a strawman. No one is arguing for that. So I encourage you to stop using that technique,


Kent Brandenburg said...


I am not going to write a full fledged defense of cessationism in the comment section here, proving it all from scripture, but I will answer the question briefly. There were gifts of edification and gifts of authentication. The sign gifts were temporary and confirmed the Words of God. Did that edify people, that the Word of God was confirmed? Sure. They would believe the Words and be built up. However, the point of the gifts was confirming, as seen in numbers of passages (off the top of my head, 2 Cor 12:12, Heb 2:3-4, Rom 15:19, 1 Cor 1:22, 14:22).

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Jim,

I've never read Friesen's book, so I can't say how I would agree with him. I should get it and read it at some point.

Fasting is still something people should do. I see it in scripture as part of serious repentance, manifesting great sorrow over sin and showing God the singular mindedness about Him, even to where food isn't in the equation. It isn't a way to pay God for more revelation from Him or a trade for things from Him.

If you are following biblical principles, that isn't less responsibility. IT means you've got to study to know and apply scripture. The person who doesn't put in any work there, but God just tells him what to do -- that is not taking responsibility. Peter Masters is a Calivinist and that's where this all started in conversation. This isn't a Calvinist, non-Calvinist, thing.

I don't think waiting on God is waiting for Him to talk to you and tell you what you need to do. Waiting on God is waiting for His coming for vindication, for reward, for results. It is living by faith with patience that God will come through, maybe not in this lifetime. Hebrews 11, those men didn't get their reward in their lifetime.

When you say "closer relationship," I think you mean a kind of relationship where God says things directly to you, which is closer than His saying something to you through His Word. That comes through what you and others say and write.

The section on praying for God to show me who is the right one -- I don't pray that God would tell me who my daughter should marry. I pray for wisdom. I pray that I would be filled with the knowledge of His will -- prayers like that, scriptural prayers. I don't pray for more revelation from God, the voice in the head. No.

You ended by saying that my "paper and plastic" type of decision making talk is a straw man. In other words, to you God talks in the head only when it is very serious: marriage, buying a house, getting a new car, etc. However, He doesn't talk in one's head on individual decisions at the grocery store, whether to take a left or right turn on the highway, i.e. mundane things, like eating and drinking and whatsoever we do. We just laid fiber optic across our church property and there were numerous decisions. Is it just the whole project I look for the voice in the head or as to whether to get the largest trencher or the medium one or who to terminate the fiber?

God gives liberty where the Bible doesn't speak. That is in the Bible. It does speak a lot about a lot of things. We should learn that and look for the Holy Spirit to work in that way. That is close, close, very close, very personal, and God is speaking that way through His Word.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Brandenburg,
Could I just say that what you are talking about here is causing many young people to leave independent baptist fundamentalism, or leave independent baptistism. They grow up hearing the leaders talk about "The Leading of God" and grow to trust it. Then they get a little older, and see that "The Leading" is just nonsense code talk for "I want to do something--Don't you dare question me." Just recently I heard about a pastor resigning his church, of course, by "The Leading". One of insiders told me the real story which was just a plain old conflict. Young people eventually recognize this hypocrisy. I'm not saying this is the only reason they leave, but many do want something genuine, and look for it in churches other than IB. In this article you estimate that "half, maybe three quarters" of IB use "The Leading". Isn't that about the drop-out rate of young people from IB?

Kent Brandenburg said...


I wouldn't stick with a lie. It must be the truth. We can know and live the truth. The world doesn't have a better alternative, so just because of some bad teachings by professing Christians, that doesn't make the world have a true alternative, although it is a convenient excuse for people. I'm reading right now how that a big chunk of evangelicals are leaving everything in Christianity, God, the Bible, everything. The evangelical alternative isn't good. They are full of doubt from error and faithlessness. Evangelicalism is a sinking ship. Fundamentalism is following it. The truth that will last is in true churches, but there is a division there too, as I'm describing in several posts recently.

I agree with you that people that believe the truth can't stick with a lie, so if they are being lied to, even unwittingly, they won't stay. I'm afraid some of these men to which you refer are themselves deceived. That does not bode well. However, I don't anticipate a total apostasy, because Jesus promised against that. Our church is strong. Some others are strong.

Do I know you Titus? You don't need to tell me who you are. Is Titus a pseudonym?

Bill Hardecker said...

Pastor Brandenburg,
What about the "witness of the Holy Spirit" bearing witness with our spirit (cf. Rom. 8:16). Maybe you already tackled this, I just missed out on it. How exactly does take place? What is the manner by which the Spirit testifies to our spirits? BTW, I am with you in your postings, the witness of the Spirit isn't a "secret" voice nor anything like that. And...what about the opposite side...the temptations and accusations of the Devil? Does it work the same way on our spirits, except the other way?

Thank you,

Kent Brandenburg said...


What is the witness of the Spirit? Faith, hope, love, temperance, etc., all the ways that the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in the life of a believer, which brings confidence.

I don't think you can take demonic (angelic) activity and parallel that with revelation. Angels appear to men as men and speak as men, but that isn't revelation of God. Satan accuses before God, like with Job.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Brandenburg,
Titus here. "Pseudonym" is generous; I'm wimping out. Heard you preach 20+ years ago, know some IB people you know, etc., but never a conversation.

This sounds nauseatingly wimpy, but you know me as the discouraged IB millennial. Heard "Leading" and "convictions" preached with angry eyebrows, flared nostrils, decent Dr. Bob Sr. impersonation. It's just that, an impersonation, some of it anyway, when the "convictions" get wholly overturned by the same guys, now in their 50s and 60s, and the angry eyebrows are used again. Ok, goodbye. Yes, my fault for making idols. But your 60s? That's discouraging. Same eyebrows were used for a number of issues, which ones did they also not believe? If you can't trust the "Leading" of the eyebrows, what can you trust?
Can you post some of the links you are reading about evangelicals leaving the faith? Leaving Christ and Bible equals entering the Lake of Fire....don't want to do that.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I sat through a lot too, but the true church ultimately the "B" -- Bible sole authority. Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good. I had to find out for myself too. We could all wish that we started with the pristine and then just passed it along to the next generation. Sometimes we have to take years sorting through everything, but as long as scripture is the sole authority, we keep growing, struggling to get there. I've got room to grow still, I know, which is a blessing in my life.