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Obsessed with an experience

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I would say that it’s a western/American evangelical thing, but the reality is that people everywhere of all different times have been on what R. Scott Clark has called a “quest for illegitimate religious experience.” As fallen humans, we are so prone to measure truth and significance based on feelings and experiences of a sensual nature (not sensual in a sexual way, but rather things perceived with our five senses). ¬†And while experiences aren’t necessarily evil, how we understand them can be dangerous when we put God’s Word in subjection to them.

I’ve often heard arguments made against biblical doctrines based on what someone “saw with their own eyes” or “heard first hand.” My response to such statements is an attempt to establish the primacy of God’s Word and usually involves an illustration like this: “If you look up and see that the sky appears to be blue, but then you read in God’s Word that it is red, it’s red; your eyes are wrong.” Now that is certainly a crude and ridiculous example, but the point I’m making is clear. Experiences are to be interpreted in subjection to and in light of God’s revealed Word, not the other way around.

Recently, yet another “I’ve-been-to-heaven-and-back”/”I have extra insight about God and eternity that you can’t find in Scripture” blockbuster book has been written. This time the story of a 4 yr old boy (one who perhaps also thinks that Santa Clause is real) is fascinating Christians everywhere.

On the danger of these types of books and the inordinate influence they bear on Christians and unbelievers alike, see this brief article: Heaven is for real…well duh.

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Written by Joshua Peterson

June 20, 2011 at 7:45 pm