Quotes about Experience
When once you are rooted in Reality, nothing can shake you. If your faith is in experiences, anything that happens is likely to upset that faith; but nothing can ever upset God or the almighty Reality of Redemption; base your faith on that and you are as eternally secure as God. When once you get into personal contact with Jesus Christ, you will never be moved again.
[If] we accept the revelation of God in Christ, then we must believe that any experience of God which is valid has an ethical quality defined by what we know of Christ. …Unless the experience includes a setting of the affections and will in the direction of the moral principles of the Gospel, it is no true experience of God, in any Christian sense.
Increasingly our world is short on thinking and long on experience. Mix this with inner turmoil and a desperate need for answers from some higher source, along with the infiltration of eastern religions, and you can easily see why the mystical aspects of our culture are so predominant. Our generation would certainly far rather load all of their information in a computer and forget the agony on thinking, especially thinking biblically.
Experience is not firm enough to be the ultimate ground for the uniqueness of my faith.
The Lord Jesus Christ gave the proper pattern in the Gospel of John, chapter eight, verse thirty-two, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” What that truth is, is seen in the previous verse, “My Word.” God’s design is from truth to experience, not from experience to truth! The formula: “I have had an experience. I find experiences like mine in the Bible. Therefore my experience is Scriptural” is dangerously misleading.
We should remember that it’s always very important to evaluate impressions, ideas, and experiences in the light of the revealed Word of God. If we do not, we could make some serious errors in judgment and behavior. I’ve known some Christians who have had certain “religious experiences” which contradicted the Bible. Yet they chose to follow their religious experiences rather than the Word of God. The results were spiritually disastrous.
Whenever evangelicals have an experience of direct, personal access to God, we are tempted to think or act as if we can dispense with doctrine, sacraments, history, and all the other “superfluous paraphernalia” of the Church and make our experience the sum and soul of our faith. We are still attracted to movements that replace thinking and theology by other emphases relational, therapeutic, charismatic, and managerial (as in church growth). Whatever the other virtues of these movements and the unquestionable importance of piety, we must courageously repudiate anti-intellectualism for the sin it is.
The God we seek is a Person. As we seek Him (and not just an experience of Him) we glorify and do indeed enjoy Him… It is not “my experience” at which proper worship aims. Fulfilling personal experience is a by-product of God-centeredness in worship.
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
While all Christians affirm the necessity and reality of the experiential dimension of faith, the experience must be grounded in and accountable to the Word of God.
Impressions, hunches, intuition, signs, and new revelation become the focus of the Christian instead of moment-by-moment dependence upon Scripture. Soon, even the lines of Christian fellowship are determined by “common experiences” rather than biblical truth. It is a fine line, but what a great deception. Again, Satan is willing to give ground, to gain a greater advantage.
Experience is a dangerous ground upon which to test ultimate truth, because our experiences may vary, and our interpretation of an experience, however genuine, may be wrong. Scripture clearly says to “test the spirits, whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1). No human can test spiritual realities without the Word of God.
Believe God’s love and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your rock is Christ, and it is not the rock that ebbs and flows but the sea.
Nothing, in fact, has done more harm to Christianity than the practice of filling the ranks of Christ’s army with every volunteer who is willing to make a little profession, and talk fluently of his experience. It has been painfully forgotten that numbers alone do not make strength, and that there may be a great quantity of mere outward religion, while there is very little real grace. Let us all remember this. Let us keep back nothing from young professors and inquirers after Christ. Let us not enlist them on false pretenses. Let us tell them plainly that there is a crown of glory at the end. But let us tell them no less plainly, that there is a daily cross in the way.
We must stress that the basis for our faith is neither experience nor emotion but the truth as God has given it in verbalized, prepositional form in the Scripture and which we first of all apprehend with our minds.
It seems so many in the church today want to talk about their experience. True disciples should be talking more about their commitment.
Truth is now simply a matter of etiquette: it has no authority, no sense of rightness, because it is no longer anchored in anything absolute. If it persuades, it does so only because our experience has given it its persuasive power, but tomorrow our experience might be different.
We must always judge our experience by the Word of God. We must never make God’s Word conform to our experience.