According to Joseph Prince, senior pastor of New Creation Church, “the Holy Spirit does not convict the believer of sin”.
However, speaking of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John wrote: “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).
Writing in year 1928, Frank Lindblade expanded on this truth in his book “The Spirit which is from God”
In dealing with the phenomenon of conviction of sin we have a subject that is not greatly understood by even many professed Christians. Convicting of sin is the greatest work the Holy Spirit can do upon an unsaved person, and is probably the greatest of all the Spirit’s manifestations. Because of the general ignorance concerning the Holy Spirit’s person and work as a whole, and therefore conviction included, the present condition of the general church has been arrived at. The Spirit has been given not only to brood over and care for the church, but also that the church may be added to through His activities. Because Peter was filled with the Spirit and preached under His anointing the church received three thousand adherents one day and five thousand another day. Acts 2:41 and 4:4. The church’s recruits are from the ranks of the unsaved. Before a person becomes a member of the church he must first be saved, and salvation cannot come until that person has first had knowledge and feelings of his sins and has been under conviction. So unless there is a conviction of sin there is no real addition to the church which is the body of Christ. Because of the predominating absence of the Spirit and therefore also His conviction of sin, the nominal church today is to a large extent adding to her members unregenerate persons who never have tasted of the grace of God and of the salvation that there is in Christ Jesus…
Because of the lack of the Spirit’s presence and the conviction that He brings, men have busied themselves searching for substitutes that will be just as good. But it happens that in this instance there is nothing just as good. The Spirit is not one of several persons or things that bring conviction. He is the only one who can do so. These others are but counterfeits. We live in an age of progress, evolution as men call it. They are attempting to evolute everything in these days. They have wonderfully progressed in the art of killing one another, of committing sin and covering up their crimes, of debauching their bodies and minds and serving the devil in general. Now they are trying to evolute the scriptures by removing certain portions obnoxious to themselves. They are also trying out this evolution program on the Spirit’s work of convicting of sin, but have only succeeded in making a fizzle of the whole affair and incidentally misguiding many people, and possibly sending many to destruction…
Man, after excluding the Spirit of God in his attempts at soul saving, has dragged in all manner of things. These at times have provided to be excellent instruments for the creation of interest, drawing the crowds and producing great mental and fleshly enthusiasm. But great interest and powerful widespread enthusiasm does not happen to be conviction of sin. A powerful presence and operation of the power of God will create great interest, draw crowds and produce much enthusiasm, but these in themselves will not bring the presence of the Holy Spirit. God can use some man’s strong personality, and most persons that have been used and are being used of God are of strong personality, but a strong personality in itself except as God honors it, can bring but little results towards real salvation. In fact, at times it may do great damage. Many a preacher’s so-called success consists of the use of more than usual natural talents and being born a leader among men, which gifts sway the multitudes. While under the influence of his preaching people feel dominated by his stronger will power and make a profession of religion which never came from their hearts. There has been altogether too much of this done, and thousands today have no more salvation that that received through the shaking of some man’s hand or signing some card.
Many, in these days, often mistake enthusiasm for evidence of the presence of God. Because they sing fast, because there are good collections, because many are boosting the cause, because some or many are free in shouting “Hallelujah” or “Amen”, because someone jumps and makes much noise, because the preacher works up a tremendous fervor, removes his coat, jumps and runs to and fro, therefore God must be there! God surely is there doing all that He can, or as much as they will allow Him to do, but very often the largest part of all of this is nothing but plain everyday flesh. When the greatest conviction comes, there is a hush over the audience and a silence so deep as to be literally felt, broken only by sobs of those with whom the Spirit is dealing. Even the infants strangely become quiet or fall asleep.
Others will play upon the emotions, telling narratives planned to awaken sympathy and cause tears and when this condition is on, urge the people to make a decision. Robert Ingersoll could make an audience laugh or weep, but who would dare to say that weeping was God? A person may weep because of having his sympathy played upon through hearing of some poor widow losing her only son or of the death of some orphan child, but that does not necessarily mean that these are tears of repentance. Stirred emotions and tears of sympathy are not always an indication that the individual has godly sorrow in his heart because he lied, stole, mistreated his parents, or served the devil in general, and rejected Jesus Christ. Godly sorrow works repentance, and unless there had been godly sorrow for sin, there is no true repentance unto salvation. Evidently there are many who know little or nothing of true repentance or salvation.