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experiential christianity

God says,

“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:”

Acts 2:12-17

Todays topic is “experiential Christianity” and why direct revelation is the best foundation for interpreting the scriptures.  In churches many believe that doctrine can and should be derived exclusively from intense study of scripture.  These same people argue that experience is a not a reliable basis for doctrine. Moreover some even look down upon those who who claim knowledge of God because of their experience.  

Thus, the analytics amongst us tend to dominate the discussion of theology. They claim authority through Greek lexicons, church fathers, and the consensus of fellow doctors of the law. Those who are Spirit led claim, conversely, direct revelation from God almight.

Who is right?

It is my firm belief that doctrine, or what we believe about God, should come from direct revelation of our Lord. Then, and only then, can we record and analyze what we have both seen and heard in light of the scriptures.  We have all heard the saying, “experience is the best teacher” and I believe that actually direct experience is the best and most direct way to know Him.

Are you Steering the ship when you don’t need to?

A ship has no need of a rudder if there is no wind in its sails. Likewise, there is no need of teaching without something to explain and teach about. In the scriptures quoted above we see the apostle Peter explaining the phenomenon that was currently taking place in light of the scriptures. Note; the order of events is first the experience and then the teaching. If we examine scripture we see that the majority of the time doctrine proceeds out of experience and not vice versa.  The biblical pattern is: people experience God first and then simply write down these experiences and that forms the basis of doctrine.

Peter says,

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2 Peter 1:21

Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible through direct revelation. Moreover, until the time of Moses direct revelation was the only mode by which men knew about God.  In fact, if you can receive it, God only gave us the scriptures because men refused to hear Him directly.

Only recently, with the rise of the belief that the Bible is complete, have people left off receiving direct revelation from God. The inteligencia of the church is now disdainful of direct revelation as a lower means of knowing Him.  As a consequence, some assume that we only need to fit the pieces we have together to know God.  In fact, some go so far as to say that personal experience with God is not even necessary.

To be natural minded is death

The central problem with study of the scripture is that it necessarily employs our natural minds to do so.  In the book of Proverbs God states a fundamental truth,

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

Proverbs 14:12

It matters how you approach the study of the word of God more than your personal ability to do it.  If you study God’s word as you are led by the Holy Spirit it brings life, but if you study the word of God intellectually it promotes legalism and death.

God commands,

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Genesis 2:17

This is precisely why Jesus said we need to receive the Spirit of Truth,

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”

John 15:26

Jesus also says,

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

John 16:13

It is through the Spirit of God that we are led into all truth and not through analytical reasoning. Jesus says “all truth” and not just “some truth”. Therefore, we must have His Spirit to lead us into any truth.

Live by God’s revelation

It is through experience and direct revelation that we begin to know and understand God for what and who He truly is.  Though our minds, when submitted to His spirit, are valid tools to pursue the knowledge of God we cannot rely solely upon intellect to arrive the correct interpretation of scripture.

In conclusion, let us return to the higher way of knowing God by opening our hearts and minds to direct revelation from Him.  Let us also seek to experience Him directly instead of solely relying upon the revelations of others written many centuries ago.  While we should honor and respect the revelation of yesterday we should earnestly desire to listen, hear, and obey our Fathers current word for today.

Spirit Break Out by Kim Walker