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    InSlaveryToChrist's Avatar
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    WHITE HORSE INN - Faith & Experience

    Just wanted to share this recent discussion on faith and experience which I personally found very helpful:

    WHI-1086 | Faith & Experience - White Horse Inn Blog

    "Which is more important, Christís objective work on the cross 2,000 years ago, or my subjective experience of God today? The good news that the Apostles announced concerned Christís death, burial and resurrection, and the announcement of that objective fact creates faith and a rich experience of thankfulness and gratitude. But what happens if we preach experience itself, rather than the objective work of Christ? On this special edition of the program recorded live at Grace Lutheran Church in San Diego, Michael Horton and Rod Rosenbladt unpack the relationship between faith and experience."
    Samuel
    Attending a small congregation belonging to the United Methodist Church
    Lahti, Finland

    "To doubt God's mercy because our faith is feeble, is rather to rely upon our faith than upon the Lord. It is not the excellency and great measure of faith that makes us righteous before God, but Christ whom faith does receive and apprehend: which a weak faith can do as well as the strongest." ~John Ball (Puritan)

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    MW
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    Quote Originally Posted by InSlaveryToChrist View Post
    Just wanted to share this recent discussion on faith and experience which I personally found very helpful:
    The program left alot to be desired. Why was anyone present or why did anyone listen to the program if they were not seeking an experience of something? Even if it was the simple experience of learning something about Christian faith and life, it is still the case that an experience was sought. At one point the pastor pointed everyone to the message of the cross preached on Sunday as a sufficient experience. Then why was he there using another media on another day?

    Then I note the negative attitude towards a crisis experience when Luther's crisis experience is well known as one of the instrumental steps in the reformation. Why is Luther's experience held up as something that was very important to the reformation but personal experience is down-played? It appears that Luther's experience is made unique and singular, and sufficient for us all. He did not consider deep conviction, humiliation, etc., unique to himself. He thought it was normal for every Christian to have experience of the same in order that they may the better be assured of their salvation by grace alone. This is what he wrote:

    God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realises that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of AnotheróGod alone. As long as he is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God; but plans out for himself (or at least hopes and longs for) a position, an occasion, a work, which shall bring him final salvation. But he who is out of doubt that his destiny depends entirely on the will of God despairs entirely of himself, chooses nothing for himself, but waits for God to work in him; and such a man is very near to grace for his salvation.
    In brief, the program has failed to explore the experience of conversion which is bound up with faith.

    It is interesting to observe the way media is shaping the character of Christians through "experience." The round-table discussion is presenting an easy-going atmosphere within which to create an effect on those who listen-in. It is all very free and easy. The form of communication, however, because of what it tries to effect, is limited in what it can communicate. It is always focused on a single topic and regularly fails to make the distinctions and qualifications which are necessary to present a topic in balance. I don't doubt that Christians who are "affected" by this form of communication will be strongly tempted to grow less attached to the outward and ordinary means which God has instituted to communicate to us the benefits of redemption.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
    Australian Free Church,
    Victoria, Australia

    "Illum oportet crescere me autem minui."
    7 member(s) found this post helpful.

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    Alan D. Strange's Avatar
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    It did indeed leave a lot to be desired, Matthew. I was not shocked to hear a Lutheran overly objectify the Ministry of the Word. I was a Reformed man.

    Focusing only on that question--the preached Word--they both spoke of both Reformers (Luther and Calvin) seeing this as working the same way: grace communicated through the preached Word. That is Luther's doctrine, not Calvin's. Calvin never decouples Word and Spirit, preaching the absolute necessity of the Spirit to bring home the preached Word. It is the Spirit who brings us to Christ and Christ to us. I did not heard that enunciated in this talk.

    As I note in this article (http://opc.org/nh.html?article_id=101), our salvation has three aspects: the eternal (the decrees), the historical (worked out in redemptive history), and the existential. We err when we stress any one at tbe expense of the others. I fear that this broadcast stressed the historical at the expense, especially, of the existential or the experiential. The Reformed faith--read Calvin's Institutes, Books II and III--balances the Christological and the Pneumatological. This broadcast doesn't.

    I am often asked in my traveling and speaking, "do covenant youth need to be converted?" I respond, "well, let's think about what conversion is--it's repentance and faith in its initial exercise. Who doesn't need to repent and believe? Thus who doesn't need to be converted? Do we need a crisis-conversion? That's not for me to say. One might. Many don't have such. I am happy to leave that to Him. But we all need to be converted (Matthew 18:3)."

    There are several other issues one might bring up here (absolution?) but I'll forbear.

    Peace,
    Alan
    Alan D. Strange
    Minister, OPC
    Professor, Mid-America Reformed Seminary
    Dyer, IN
    6 member(s) found this post helpful.

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    MW
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    Alan, Thankyou for the link to your article. "The importance of the full-orbed reformed faith" cannot be stressed enough. We seem to be bombarded today with all manner of "reformed" concepts separated from the context of the reformed system. I especially appreciated your concluding statement:

    We must never imagine that the persons of the Holy Trinity are pitted against each other in their work. Rather, we must-with the Reformed faith-fully embrace the work of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit in our salvation. From the Father electing to the Son redeeming to the Spirit applying, our salvation, in every respect, is all of grace.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
    Australian Free Church,
    Victoria, Australia

    "Illum oportet crescere me autem minui."
    3 member(s) found this post helpful.

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