Miracles Schmiracles

I am glad we are having this discussion, and only regret that I have been so slow to respond. Anyone following along may very well believe that I gave up.  But here I am again, with a few follow-up thoughts.  I appreciate Pastor Brandenburg’s response to my article, and I would encourage anyone following this discussion to read what he wrote.  I also want to commend James Bronsveld for a great contribution.  You can read his comment here.

From what Pastor Brandenburg writes, I gather that he opposes the use of the term “miracle” to describe the supernatural work of God because of the way the King James Bible uses the term.  The King James Bible carefully avoids any use of the word “miracle” other than to describe signs and wonders.  Pastor Brandenburg seems to argue that we should limit our use of the term to the way the English of the King James uses it.

Smith’s Bible Dictionary similarly restricts miracles to “signs and wonders,” and supports Pastor Brandenburg’s insistence on limiting our use of the word “miracle.”

A miracle may be defined to be a plain and manifest exercise by a man, or by God at the call of a man, of those powers which belong only to the Creator and Lord of nature; and this for the declared object of attesting that a divine mission is given to that man. It is not, therefore, the wonder, the exception to common experience, that constitutes the miracle, as is assumed both in the popular use of the word and by most objectors against miracles.

No phenomenon in nature, however unusual, no event in the course of God’s providence, however unexpected, is a miracle unless it can be traced to the agency of man, (including prayer, under the term agency), and unless it be put forth as a proof of divine mission. Prodigies and special providences are not miracles.

So, he is not alone in his view of the word “miracle.”  I do not oppose this restricted view of miracles absolutely.  Certainly, Biblical miracles include a very limited range of acts. I too believe that Christians use the term “miracle” too casually, so it is good to consider this topic.  But then again, I don’t agree absolutely, and I want to explain my reasons.

As I see it, we have two questions before us: first, can “miracle” refer to the supernatural?  Secondly, would that be evidence of “soft continuationism”?  My answer to the first question is “yes;” to the second, “no.”

“Miracle” and the supernatural

Words have a denotation and a connotation.  I will gladly concede that in its proper Scriptural sense, “miracle” refers only to Signs and Wonders.  That is the denotation of miracle, and the King James stays true to that denotation.

But William Smith aside, there is also a popular use – and popular understanding – of the word “miracle.”  Pastor Brandenburg may wish to demolish that popular use.  But then, that would be a concession of sorts, that this is the way we use the term which now needs to be corrected.  It seems to me that if this is his desire, he should explain why we should stop using the term the way we do.  Does the English of the King James restrict our use of language?  If so, what Scriptural warrant is there for using words like “supernatural” – a term not found in the King James Bible – to describe salvation?

In order to discuss this topic fully, we must consider the power of connotation.  When I say that salvation is a miracle, nobody thinks that I am offering to work one for them.  On the other hand, if I say that salvation is “supernatural” most people in our culture would look for UFO’s or start discussing the paranormal.  Hey, I just typed “supernatural” into Google and discovered that there are 13 complete series of TV shows by that name, dealing with – guess what – the paranormal!  You can check it out here.  Whether we like it or not, our culture’s understanding of these terms differ from the true denotation.

If, on the other hand, I say that salvation is a miracle, the listener understands that I mean to say that it is a work of God alone.  Modern culture connects “miracle” to God.  I suppose we have the Lord Jesus to thank for that.  To say that salvation is a miracle is to say that it is supernatural in its nature and not the result of some natural process the way Charles Finney claimed.  That would be a good reason to say that salvation is a miracle – in order to make it clear that salvation is the work of God and not the work of man, urging believer and unbeliever alike to look to the Lord for forgiveness and redemption.

On the other hand, to say that salvation is not a miracle gives the impression to the average listener that salvation is the work of man and not the work of God.  When Pastor Brandenburg asserted that “salvation is not a miracle,” that is how I read what he was saying.  I know him well enough to know that he would not argue that salvation is a work of man.  Nonetheless, I was startled by that assertion and read it as overstatement.

The question is not whether salvation is a miracle in the same sense that Jesus walking on water or healing the man born blind was.  Clearly it is not.  The question is, can we lawfully and Scripturally claim that a supernatural event such as salvation has a miraculous quality to it.  I understand the need for precision, but are we bound always to use the proper denotation in our discussions of Scripture and the works of God?  In other words, must we restrict our use of language to strict meanings, or can we lawfully acknowledge changes in connotation?

Forgive me while I go ape for a minute: but the assumption that we must always use language in its strict meaning is actually a very modernist assumption.  It is not Scriptural.  Our modern world demands scientific precision and mathematical accuracy.  Everything must be submitted to the scientific method, strictly defined, logically arranged, precise meaning.  The Bible refers to the eyes of the Lord, calls Him a Rock, a fortress, a high tower, a shield and buckler.  He is a lion.  He is a lamb.  He is water.  He is light.  He is bread.  None of these descriptions are scientifically accurate, nor do they fit with the demand for mathematical precision.  If I pick up a rock, I don’t think, “this is just like God.”  And yet, by calling Himself a Rock, God communicates His own immutability far more accurately than a technical discussion of immutability ever could.  Even a child can understand that God is a Rock.  As long as we keep the connotations distinct from the denotations.

Put simply, this is the difference of the “analytic paradigm” and the “poetic paradigm,” and the Bible uses the poetic paradigm far more frequently.  This is with good reason: the Bible is not a textbook of systematic theology.  God communicates with us in terms we can understand.  He remembers our frame.

I hope my answer will not be unnecessarily tedious here, but I want to “interact” a bit with the arguments made by Pastor Brandenburg, particularly regarding the Greek word dunamis.  Pastor Brandenburg pointed out the two words translated “miracle” in the New Testament, and pointed us to an article on his blog in which Thomas Ross gives a very thorough examination of the variety of Greek and Hebrew words translated “miracle” in our King James Bible.  I appreciate Thomas’ work on this.  I also did some homework myself and found that the words dunamis and dunamai are used more than 300 times in the New Testament.  Of the times those words are used in the New Testament, only dunamis is translated “miracle,” and only 7 times out of about 120 verses.  This is an example of a point I made earlier – that the King James Bible is careful with what it refers to as a “miracle.”  Only those events that are clearly miracle-working events are called “miracles” in the King James.

Yet the majority of the time, dunamis indicates supernatural power.  To the early New Testament believer, it is hard to say what distinction would be made between the dunamis of, say Matthew 13:54 and the dunamis of Romans 1:16 or I Corinthians 1:18.  To translate dunamis as “miracle” at all seems to blur the line between the supernatural and the miraculous.

I notice that Thomas Ross (in this article) also recognizes that there is a looser sense in which the term “miracle” can refer to the supernatural.

In conclusion, while there are words that designate miracles in the Old and New Testament that encompass ideas broader than the strict sense of a miracle as a sign and wonder, the strict sense designated by mofeth or a semeion, this strict sense has particular words assigned to it in the canon and has clear Biblical support.  Do miracles occur today?  In the sense in which the English of the Authorized Version employs the word “miracle,” the answer is “no.”  In the sense of the Hebrew word mofeth and the Greek word semeion, the answer is “no.”  In the sense of a few other Hebrew and Greek words, the answer is “yes,” although in those instances the KJV did not translate the words as “miracle.”  Do miracles take place today?  In the sense of a sign and a wonder, the answer is “no.”  In a looser sense, the answer is “yes.”

The question then is this: are we bound by the language of the King James Bible?  Must we restrict our use of terms found in the King James to the precise meaning of the King James?  Perhaps Pastor Brandenburg can give the Scriptural arguments for this kind of restriction on our use of English.

As for me, I am fine with saying that God is a Rock.  He isn’t, of course.  Not if we insist on the denotation.  But the Bible uses the poetic paradigm to express much truth – to our unspeakable blessing.  And in some ways, we can learn far more about God when we say that He is a Rock – which is the Biblical term – than we can by saying that He is immutable – a term nowhere to be found in Scripture.  In the same sense, to say that salvation is a miracle – again, a Scriptural term – communicates very clearly to the listener that salvation is a supernatural event – again, a term nowhere to be found in the Bible.  And I think “miracle” communicates far more effectively, given our modern-day understanding of the supernatural.

Though Thomas Ross sometimes sacrifices readability for precision, that is what I understand him to be saying in this paragraph…

…it is better to conclude from the existence of this category that regeneration is a miraculous work of Divine power and that the Spirit’s power in progressively eradicating indwelling sin in Christians, producing spiritual fruit, and performing other works associated with salvation is a similar work of Divine power, rather than a priori concluding that Christian salvation is non-miraculous, and from this a priori establishing a category, otherwise not clearly attested in the New Testament, where dunamis refers to non-miraculous actions.  The identification of salvation with the miraculous is clearly supported elsewhere in Scripture with texts that indicate that personal regeneration is in the same category as a work of Divine power with the transformation or cosmic regeneration involved in establishing the Millennial earth (Matthew 19:28; Titus 3:5; palingennesia) or the fact that both bringing into being a universe and bringing into being a clean heart are works of creation (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 51:10; bara’).  Furthermore, the identification of dunamis with the miraculous establishes that a Biblical miracle, as a work of God’s power, is not necessarily a rare event, for the exercise of Almighty power in sustaining the universe employs dunamis (Hebrews 1:3).  While God constantly sustains the universe, Scripture indicates that this is a miracle in the sense of dunamis.  Furthermore, while they are not able to replicate everything done by the Almighty, the powers of darkness can perform miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

Miracle and Soft Continuationism

Even if the term “miracle” can only refer to signs and wonders, we should not necessarily assign the label of “soft continuationism” to believe “miracle” can refer to supernatural works of God.  Soft continuationism would be, “I can perform miracles — sometimes through prayer.”  I certainly don’t claim that kind of power.  I pray for healing for those who are sick, but I don’t believe I have a gift.  If the person is healed, the glory goes to God.  My prayers have no healing power – though they do have power to encourage, and they effectively lift a person in need before the Lord.  I believe that God is still a miracle-working God.  I do not believe that men have this gift any more.

On the subject of prayer for the sick, if a cure for blindness is discovered, and a friend of mine born blind goes to the doctor, there certainly cannot be a problem with my praying that the cure will work.  My wife, who has Lyme disease, often goes to the doctor and pursues new treatments.  If I am willing to try a new treatment and to pay for it, why would I not also thank the Lord for medical advancements and ask Him to work through that God-ordained process.  Yes, there are times when the will of God is evident in our sickness.  For instance, old age cannot be cured.  But God in His goodness and providence has also extended means by which the sick can be healed (antibiotics, chemotherapy, etc.).  If it is lawful to seek healing through these processes, it is also lawful to ask the Lord’s blessing on the treatment.  I like the way Zachary Damm, who teaches in our Christian school, said it: “We are asking for supernatural healing while using natural, God-ordained processes, within submission to the will of God.”  David’s prayer for his sick child certainly gives a wonderful example of submission to the will of God as we pray for the sick.

In fairness, Pastor Brandenburg doesn’t seem to be arguing that any one of the things he listed can by itself serve as evidence of soft-continuationism.  I certainly agree with his larger point, that we have a lot of unscriptural views of the work and operation of the Holy Spirit.  It causes a lot of confusion and sends people out on many Quixotic pursuits.  Which, by the way, is my reason for interacting with what he has written – not because I want anyone to reject his larger point, but because I believe many would be tempted to reject it based on some of the objections I have raised.

Some might consider it to be indulgence, but I would lobby for charity – believe all things, hope all things – in the case of those who misunderstand these terms and “operations” of the Spirit.  Don’t label me a soft-continuationist because I believe that miracles can include the supernatural works of God.

Absolute Cessationism

I want to interact with Kent Brandenburg’s recent post on soft continuationism, posted here on his blog. He has a follow-up article here. I hope you will pause to read what he has written before reading any further.  I count Pastor Brandenburg a close friend, and I have appreciated his writing and his stand for the Lord for many years.  I agree in principle with what Pastor Brandenburg has written on this subject. He and I have had many lengthy discussions of the work of the Holy Spirit in today’s world, and so I already know that he and I are on the same page on this subject. I have a few thoughts which I hope will draw along the discussion. These points might not be disagreements at all, but I think they need to be clarified.

First, I agree with Pastor Brandenburg that soft continuationism is a major problem among Independent Baptists today. Too many times, I have sat through a sermon muttering under my breath, “No, the Holy Spirit did not tell you that.” We seem to ignore Scripture entirely when discussing what the Holy Spirit does and how He operates. While it is true that the Holy Spirit is an infinite being and therefore unlimited in scope or ability, the Bible does describe His ministry very clearly. We have no warrant for adding extra-biblical operations of the Holy Spirit in our day.

The Holy Spirit does not give new revelation today, and I agree with Pastor Brandenburg that much of what Independent Baptist’s claim to be “God speaking to me” would qualify as new revelation. Many of the examples Pastor Brandenburg mentioned really do illustrate the way we think of the Holy Spirit as a sort of loose cannon. The truth is, we make the Holy Spirit do what we want Him to do and say what we need Him to say, and just as often we deny what the Holy Spirit really, actually does – His actual ministry to the believer as defined by Scripture.

I grew up under the influence of Jack Hyles, Holy Spirit imposter, so I am intimately acquainted with the kind of soft continuationism Brandenburg is trying to deal with, though Hyles was anything but a “soft” continuationist.

That being said, I wonder if our response to this “soft continuationism” is not a reaction that goes too far in the other direction. I am a cessationist, which means that I believe that the sign gifts of the New Testament, particularly of the book of Acts, were for that day and not for ours. The Bible teaches that the sign gifts were temporary, and that they have ceased (I Corinthians 13:8). But in order to deal with this subject fairly, we must identify what qualifies as a sign gift.

I Corinthians 12-14 identify the sign gifts.  I Corinthians 12:7-11 gives a list (I think partial) of the species of those sign gifts.  The Greek uses allos (another of the same kind) and heteros (another of a different kind) to distinguish the genus and species of these sign gifts. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown point out that the three categories divide between what we might call gifts of intellect, gifts dependent on a special faith, and gifts referring to the tongues.[1] In I Corinthians 13:8 Paul gives a concise classification of the  the three classes of sign gifts and makes it clear that these categories will vanish away. I Corinthians 14 especially focuses on the gift of tongues and explains why it was inferior to the other gifts (contrary to what the Corinthians believed), and why tongues, in particular, would perish.

While we believe that the sign gifts have ceased, we do not believe that the work and operation of the Holy Spirit has ceased. Certainly, God gifts men in other ways than the sign gifts (see Romans 12:6-8, for instance). All this to say that I am a cessationist, but not an absolute cessationist. And I am not an absolute cessationist because the Bible does not teach that the Holy Spirit has absolutely ceased His operation in this world.

The Holy Spirit continues to have a ministry, that ministry continues to be in the heart and life of the individual (as well as in the life of the church), and that ministry affects men personally in real time. On some level, we have to say that the personal work of the Holy Spirit will be a part of a believer’s experience of walking with the Lord, and that in many cases, the Holy Spirit will move a believer, sometimes even emotionally. I am more than a rational being. God made me a whole man, and that means I cannot separate my emotions from my brain activity. At times, God moves us through emotional response (Lamentations 3:51).

With that in mind, let me offer some specific points of disagreement with what Pastor Brandenburg has written.

First, following the Spirit’s leading is not a claim to the gift of prophecy

Pastor Brandenburg offered these examples of soft continuationism in what modern-day Independent Baptists often claim:

“God gave me this new method or strategy.”  “God told me what to preach.”  “God told me to build this building.”  “I prayed about it and God told me.”  “God gave me this message.”  “God gave me special insight.”  “God called me to go to….” “God told me how to do this.”  Sometimes less clear words are used, like “God moved me, “God put it within my heart,” or “God has burdened me with.”

Pastor Brandenburg does not explain the degree to which he denies that God does any of these things so I will not assume to know. I will only say that the Bible clearly teaches us to live our lives in submission to the Holy Spirit.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:18)

To be “filled” with the Spirit should be taken in the same sense as to be “drunk” with wine – that is, to be controlled by the Spirit. Romans 8:1 points to this as characteristic of the Christian, and Galatians 5:16 commands us to walk in the Spirit. Believers correctly assume that they must surrender to the Holy Spirit and live their lives in submission to Him.

Living under the Spirit’s control and submitting our lives to Him has to mean something, and we must have some kind of experience of this. I do not want to overstate this, as I have seen the damaging effects when some have extended this to the ridiculous and heretical. Our experience of walking in the Spirit and living in submission to Him has to be connected to God’s Word since the Holy Spirit works through the Word of God. Whatever we think the Holy Spirit might be telling us to do must be tested and evaluated in light of the clear revelation of God’s Word.  I would add that the church also has a say in these matters, as God’s Holy Spirit often works through the church (see Acts 13:2 for an example of this).

So if someone claims that God told them to preach something and then preaches something that is not found in the Bible, we have every reason to reject that claim. “No, God did not tell you to preach that.” But before a preacher stands up to preach, somewhere along the way he ought to be asking God to guide him to the passage He wants preached. He might pray for guidance before tackling a new series through a book of the Bible, or before he preaches a particular message.  But he ought not act as if he were a free agent, doing his own thing.

A pastor who asks God to guide Him to the right passage to preach is not claiming to have the gift of prophecy. If you study a passage carefully until you get a full sense of its meaning, you have Scriptural warrant to say that the Holy Spirit taught it to you (John 16:13; 14:26; I Corinthians 2:9-13), and probably should say so.  And there have been times when God has so gripped me with the truth of a passage that I found it a great burden on my heart.

Secondly, not all miracles are obvious signs

I agree with Pastor Brandenburg that we often throw terms like “miracle” around in a loose and shoddy way, and sometimes we make this claim to validate what we have done and give us credibility with our people. I knew of a pastor who claimed that God had worked a miracle in giving his church a certain property. What he didn’t say was that he had secured a bank loan and then solicited grant money to cover needed repairs.

Properly understood, a miracle is a suspension of the laws of nature. Every miracle points to God as Creator and Lord, so miracles are signs. On that we are agreed. But we should not think that miracles are limited to spectacular suspensions of natural law. Pastor Brandenburg said,

A miracle is a sign.  These signs have ceased, so whatever it is, it isn’t a miracle.  God works in the normal affairs of men, but miracles are not being produced.

I disagree. Our world is a miracle, and a continual sign to unbelievers of the glory of God (Psalm 19:1-3; Romans 1:20). We miss some of the miracles of the created world because it is a miracle on a large scale, what C.S. Lewis referred to as a “grand miracle.”

If the “natural” means that which can be fitted into a class, that which obeys a norm, that which can be paralleled, that which can be explained by reference to other events, then Nature herself as a whole is not natural. If a miracle means that which must simply be accepted, the unanswerable actuality which gives no account of itself but simply is, then the universe is one great miracle. To direct us to that great miracle is one main object of the earthly acts of Christ: that are, as He himself said, Signs.      -C.S. Lewis in his essay “Miracles” in The Grand Miracle, p. 12.

Though I might be smacked for quoting Lewis, he makes an important point about the natural world – that it can only be understood in the framework of a miracle that occurred in the beginning when God made this world out of nothing but raw words. The worlds were framed by the Word of God. That in itself is a miracle. And nature works the way it works because God is Who God is. God is nature’s sovereign. God does not conform to the laws of nature; the laws of nature conform to God.  So His use of the laws of nature cannot be thought of as “natural” in any way.

In fairness, a pastor who claims that God worked a miracle to get the church a piece of property probably doesn’t mean to validate himself, as if God were blessing him because he is so great. The pastor might be thinking this, certainly. All of our apples have worms. But more likely he meant to give God the glory. Was it providential? I struggle with the assertion that God’s works of providence are never miraculous.

Even more so, I strongly disagree with this statement:

Some might ask, what about salvation?  Isn’t that a miracle?  It isn’t.  God saves people, but that isn’t a miracle.

If salvation isn’t a miracle, then why did Jesus teach, “Ye must be born again.” Why did He describe it in terms of wind (John 3:8)?  Surely, Pastor Brandenburg does not mean to deny the supernatural work of God’s Holy Spirit in the salvation of sinners. I think he is overstating his case here.

Thirdly, not all prayers for healing are claims to a gift

Pastor Brandenburg has often written against the idea of praying for the sick, so I have had plenty of time to consider my answer. On this point, let me first agree with him that “certain diseases get prayer and others don’t.” Nobody prays for an amputee to get his legs back, but we all pray for the cancer patient.

Pastor Brandenburg is not always completely clear on what his objections are against praying for the sick. I don’t believe he means to argue absolutely against praying for the sick. I know, for instance, that he has prayed for my family during my wife’s five year battle with Lyme Disease. I don’t think he opposes prayer for the sick. He certainly isn’t against healing when healing is possible. From what he said in the article under discussion, he opposes the idea of a healing ministry through prayer, which more than a few Independent Baptists believe they have. On that point, we are in agreement.

Certainly, Scripture teaches us to pray for the sick. If we only take the example of those who in the time of Christ brought the sick to Him for healing, we have a warrant to pray for the sick.  Added to that, we have the example of David, who prayed fervently for his baby to be healed.  These two examples alone encourage us to pray for the sick.

Praying that God will comfort, sustain, and strengthen the sick, that He will ease their pain and even heal them is a way we love our neighbor. It is a mark of compassion. No, we should not think that our prayers alone will heal the sick, or that if the sick get better it is because we prayed for them, as if they wouldn’t be healed if we didn’t pray. That simply is not true. God is not limited by our prayers or by our prayerlessness. But certainly, our prayers for the sick are a kindness to them and an encouragement to them.

Besides all of that, we really need to recognize the miraculous way God has made us. If I get a deep gash in my skin, a scab will form and my skin will heal itself. What law of nature made it do that? If I get strep throat and take amoxicillin, the antibiotic doesn’t heal me. The antibiotic stimulates my body to do what God made it to do.

And on that note, we can see the way all of Christ’s miracles were meant to make us aware of the mighty power of God at work in the universe around us. For this, I am again indebted to C.S. Lewis, who pointed out that the miracles of Jesus Christ were on a small scale what God does on a grand scale in our world. Jesus turned water to wine once. But every year in vineyards around the world, he somehow makes the vine draw water up through its roots, combines that water with sunlight and air, and Welch makes another gallon. Jesus healed the sick in His lifetime so that men could see Him do it. He hasn’t stopped His healing work. Give chemotherapy to a corpse. There will be no healing. Bandage the cut on a corpse. The cut will not heal. This is because the one thing necessary for the sick to be healed is the one gift God has given us that transcends nature and nature’s laws – and that is the gift of life. “The magic is not in the medicine but in the patient’s body.” “All who are cured are cured by Him, the healer within.”

When we pray for healing, we are simply saying, “Lord, please do it again.”

Fourthly, not all revivals are claims to a special “visitation”

The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God to stir us up, to renew our vision and focus, to draw us closer to Himself, and to equip us for service. We should pray the prayers of Scripture. But if we do, we will sometimes find ourselves praying, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” And sometimes, “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” And sometimes, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”

It is not soft continuationism to get a feeling sense of our need for renewal in our relationship with God, to long for God the way the hart longs for the water brooks. Certainly, we should not spend our lives looking for mystic fire to fall. But we also ought to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit, both when He withers us (as in Isaiah 40:6-8) and when he stirs us up (as in Psalm 39:3).

Fifthly, God does still call men to a particular field of service

I think I understand what Pastor Brandenburg is trying to combat in his comments about the Macedonian call. That particular passage of Scripture has been abused and misused to force everyone to back down against false claims to a call. But the fact of false claims does not remove the possibility of true claims. How else would a person know what God wants Him to do and where He should be doing it?

Some pray as if they want some sensational or unusual guidance.  In refuting them, I agree with Pastor Brandenburg. I have seen people pick up their family and spend money they did not have to move across the world, all based on a whim which they interpreted as the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we put too much stock in quirky impulses when the answer of where to go and what to do is obvious. But God must have some way to direct a man into the ministry, and must have some way to tell that man where he should be when he pursues that calling. If a man wants to be led by God, he does not desire something wrong. And if he has sought the Lord’s will and has desired to submit to the Lord’s leading, we shouldn’t consider him a “soft continuationist.”

I do not believe that my objections make me a soft continuationist, but we will see. The Holy Spirit acts the way the Bible says He acts.  Though we deny many of the manifestations claimed by believers today, we do not help our case if we deny absolutely the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  On that note, perhaps Pastor Brandenburg would clarify what he believes the Holy Spirit does today.

[1] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 287). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.