This is certainly a realm that the Faith once for all revealed to the saints (Jude 3) must be contended for in our day. In a school of ministry during my undergraduate days, I remember being told that “doctrine is the way to build a church and it is how churches used to be planted.” Doctrine must be the central focus of the local church for without doctrine, the church becomes a club or a staged show. I could not agree more that subjective experience is dangerous. But it is dangerous not so much because it deals with emphasizing a relationship with the Lord but because it primarily zeros in on a subtle shift internally in our view of God. If God reveals Himself to “touch me” or “speak to my heart” then the danger becomes seeking a feeling instead of seeing God as Sovereign who saves me. Satan can deceive and manipulate a person very easily who views God experientially. This is why so many are falling prey to the Word of Faith, Seeker Friendly, spiritualism and New Age movements within our churches. However, this discussion must not be carried to far. God does personally walk with His people throughout the Scriptures. God has a personal relationship with Abraham, Noah, Moses, Joshua, Paul and others. Therefore, God does “experientially” reveal Himself. There are a multiplicity of times in the Scriptures in which one of our forerunners in the Faith felt the presence of God mightily, received and answer to prayer, or were led by the Spirit to boldly proclaim Christ. Praise the Lord that He is God! May we not seek experiences, but may we not cast them aside completely and make our God impersonable. He is not changing, but our perceptions are.
Published by Ryan M Marks
Ryan is a bit of a nerd: loving to hike, strategy games, his garden, a good book, and learning. Presently serving: Strengthening Churches through itinerant Teaching, Administrating Discipleship & Revitalization, and Equipping Pastors through Encouragement. His prayer and desire is that his “life message” be Matthew 6:33, Colossians 1:27c-29, and Psalm 71:17-18.” View all posts by Ryan M Marks