For all are ready to object that they only speak from God. So today the Papists boast with professorial superciliousness that all their inventions are the oracles of the Spirit. Mohammed, too, asserts that he has drawn his dreams only from heaven. In olden times the Egyptians lied that the mad absurdities with which they bewitched themselves and others had been divinely revealed. But I reply that we have the Word of the Lord, which should be consulted first. Hence, when false spirits claim the name of God, we must enquire from the Scriptures whether it is as they say. -John Calvin, commentary on 1John 4:6
Does the Holy Spirit work apart from the Word? Many professing Christians sadly agree with apostate Episcopalians. The “Spirit” is working, they say! The Spirit tells them specifically who to marry or what car to buy. Sometimes the “Spirit” works in ways that contradict the clear teaching of Scripture (e.g. Mrs. Jones is “led” to enter the pastoral ministry). While none may believe it confidently enough to staple such revelation into the back of their Bibles, they believe it all the same.
As the gents note in this this White Horse Inn broadcast, the Holy Spirit’s purpose in any era is to “testify about [Christ]” (John 15:26). As Michael Horton quotes J.I. Packer:
You know where the Holy Spirit is present: wherever Christ is being clearly proclaimed.