Acts 15 tells us the story of the Jerusalem Council and the importance that the Holy Spirit had in arriving at a final resolution, which was issued to the Gentiles, concerning their obligations toward the Mosaic Law:

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” [Acts 15:22-29 ESV]

As you can see, verse 28 (in bold) reveals the role of the Holy Spirit as an active part of the final agreement. Now, we all know that the history of the Church has been full of doctrinal debates about myriads of controversial topics, where the intervention of the Holy Spirit would have been as relevant and needed as it was at the Council of Jerusalem. Hence the question: are there any documented instances of a council settling a doctrinal debate with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, following the example established by the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15?

  • I think the word consulting is by default was already an exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon the priesthood upon anointing. The Church are not consulting but invoking the Holy Spirit to guide the Church to always teach the Truth and preach the Truth. In matters of doubts or Dubia, the final interpreter is the Pope, as the Dogma Pastor Aeturnus must be uphold by the Church. Mar 17, 2021 at 3:08
  • 1
    @jongricafort - that would be an answer from the Catholic perspective, but I'm sure Protestants would not agree with the authority attributed to the Pope, for example.
    – user50422
    Mar 17, 2021 at 3:10
  • Do not see how you can say that the opinion of Holy Spirit was consulted the in Act 15:22-29?
    – Ken Graham
    Mar 17, 2021 at 4:55
  • @KenGraham - verse 28 says For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit, it means that 1) the Holy Spirit's personal impression about the resolution was favorable and 2) the members of the Council were made aware of that impression by the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit was clearly an active participant in the council, and his impression/opinion was clearly consulted/taken into account.
    – user50422
    Mar 17, 2021 at 4:59
  • Or that they were inspired by the Holy Spirit!
    – Ken Graham
    Mar 17, 2021 at 5:02


You must log in to answer this question.