Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Experiential Life of the Christian

I have been in some Christian cultures where we really avoid any kind of experiential kind of Christianity. We wanted everything to be "objective" and "intellectually grounded", so to speak. We didn't like to speak of "feeling God's presence", or saying things like "God told me...". We didn't like the idea of people having a "subjective call from God". We were uneasy with any talk of God speaking to us other than through the grammatico-historical exegesis of Scripture.

Well, we definitely want to understand the Scriptures correctly. And it is in the Scriptures that God always speaks of a dynamic relationship between Himself and his people. In the New Testament think of the prophet Agabus, or the Spirit telling Paul and his companions to go to Macedonia, or the interactive way that God works through prayer. The God of the Bible is an immanent and living God, intimately involved in the lives of his people. It is natural to expect God to be subjectively/ experientially involved in our lives, since we are not Deists, we do not believe that God has just set up all the rules, and then watches from a distance. So we should expect some kind of dynamic interaction in our lives, regarding how He wants us to live, and what he wants us to do. Isn't that part of the evidence of Jesus' ascension and his reigning through the sending of the Holy Spirit (cf Acts 2 etc)?

Of course there can be abuses and twists to this kind of idea, but that seems true of just about anything. And sure it is wise to give more attention to God's revealed will in his Written Word, over our fallible interpretations of God's present activities in our lives. Nonetheless, we should embrace Christian *experience* and not shy away from it.

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