As I get older and closer to Eternity, I realize the worthlessness of many things I used to think were important.
And the incredible importance of things that I used to take for granted.
In that important category, is a simple truth.
That what is true is not based upon experience but on the written word of God.
Which is our only source of faith.
Which is our only source of absolute trustworthiness in this life and the life to come.
The Unstable Nature of Experience
We have nothing except by the mercy and grace of God.
And when we presume that we might actually possess something due to our own good behavior, our own performance, or something in ourselves (even in our best “Christian” selves), we make a serious mistake.
All assurances of forgiveness, cleansing, sanctification, and salvation are based solely upon what God has said in His word. And our resting in what the Lord has said in His word.
Our experiences are secondary. The only true anchor of our souls is in what the Lord has written. And what we have believed about what He has written.
All that we will truly know in this life is based upon how we handle God’s written words.
Our attention to them. Our keeping them in our hearts and minds. And our believing them.
Those words are the only stable source of our Faith.
Experience Over Faith?
It has occurred to me that the preoccupation of Christians with experience over faith is not a new thing. It is something that has always been a problem in the church.
A prime example of this problem playing out in the modern Bible churches can been seen in the denigration of being theologically sound. Which is a common theme that pastors and leaders like to harp against.
With more of their attention given to loving one another and doing good works.
And on one’s salvation “experience”.
Modern leaders are constantly telling us to stop being so picky about theology. And to stop insisting that everyone must follow the same doctrines. And to stop being so legalistic and narrow-minded in our beliefs.
But, instead, to focus on our common experience of Christ. On our common love for Christ.
A Surface-Level Faith
This commonality is popularly characterized by a focus on one’s crisis-of-faith experience. Seen in a kind of surface-level profession of faith in Jesus. As in having made a decision for Jesus or having said “Yes” to Jesus.
We are taught to respect a person’s general testimony without delving deeper into divisive ideas about absolutes or what might actually constitute saving faith.
Because all of Evangelicalism today is based on this very unstable house of cards.
On the general consensus to honor a person’s surface testimony while remaining silent about just what specific beliefs form the foundation of that person’s belief in Christ.
Sadly, without this conspiracy of silence, the Evangelical movement would cease to exist.
Eternity at Stake
The simple fact of the matter is that Eternity is at stake here.
The souls of those whom we call brothers and sisters-in-Christ are at stake. Because we don’t want to offend people. Because we don’t want people to get mad at us for asking the necessary questions.
Tragically, I see very few of my Christian brothers and sisters who demonstrate any real concern about this.
Even when it comes to their interactions with those who regularly attend our churches, they remain silent.
Which, when you really think about it, is only to be expected.
Since very little is required even of the leadership in our churches today. Such as demanding a solid belief in the literal, historical, Genesis record, and a worldwide flood, and a young earth, and in salvation by faith alone.
A leader can often get by with simply a general assent to these things. As long as he has a relevant degree. Without going too much deeper than that.
And if he cares about people, has integrity, and is good with kids, sign him up!
The result is this surface-faith attitude filters down to the folks in the pews. Who look to these leaders to guide them into truth.
At least into whatever truth the leadership might actually believe. Or into of whatever truth the leadership is willing to stick their necks out to proclaim.
The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord. In whom, we can rest assured, when we believe specifically what He has written about Himself and His finished work.
Image by Marion from Pixabay
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