There are some in the religious world, and perhaps even several within the church herself, who consistently claim that the Holy Spirit convicts the hearts of sinners through means outside of the word of God. Although I believe that most are sincere in their claim, I also believe the majority of those who are sincere are also inconsistent with their belief.
This inconsistency is seen when one person who has been convicted by the Holy Spirit via a “religious experience” attempts to inform another individual who has been convicted by the Holy Spirit via a differing “religious experience” resulting in a salvation, belief and testimony from a completely different process that their experience was wrong and then they attempt to use the word of God to prove it.
Do you see the inconsistency?
If conviction (salvation) for the sinner comes from a religious experience and not from the word of God alone, then what does it matter if one “religious experience” matches another? Who is to say that anyone’s “experience” is wrong whether we’re talking about Joseph Smith or Charles Russell or Ellen G. White or any TV preacher who calls on people to lay hands on the TV for their religious experience?
Furthermore, the inconsistency of the position is revealed through the very attempt made at correcting the inconsistent “religious experience” by using the consistency of the word of God.
If the word of God is going to be used as the guideline for correcting error, then the very word of God, by default, becomes the standard by which the conviction should have taken place to begin with. You cannot honestly say that a conviction can come by the Holy Spirit operating directly on someone outside of the word of God and then turn around and tell someone their experience of that “direct operation” was wrong because it does not align with what the Spirit teaches through the word – that’s inconsistent!
The truth of the matter is that when it comes to the conviction and correction (that leads to salvation) of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of a sinner, the work of Spirit is accomplished through the consistent guidance of His word and not through the inconsistent “religious experiences” that vary and contradict each other and the word of God itself.
But if your belief is that the direction operation of the Holy Spirit is indeed the mode of conviction and correction that God has chosen, then you would do well to stop saying that the “religious experiences” of others resulting from that direct operation is in error because if there is going to be no consistency then attempting to be consistent is very inconsistent within itself.
““Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:36-38)