WHITE HORSE INN - Faith & Experience

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by InSlaveryToChrist, Mar 9, 2012.

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  1. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    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, Christ’s objective work on the cross 2,000 years ago, or my subjective experience of God today? The good news that the Apostles announced concerned Christ’s 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."
     
  2. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    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:

    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.
     
  3. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    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
     
  4. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    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:

     
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