WHI-1273 | Faith & Experience

Sunday, 30 Aug 2015

This week on the White Horse Inn we are continuing our series on sustainable church discipleship. In this special edition of the White Horse Inn, Michael Horton and Rod Rosenbladt speak before a live audience and discuss the relationship between faith and experience in the Christian life.

What is a legitimate experience of God? Should we look for a feeling of divine presence and overwhelming joy? What happens when we focus more on the experience of faith than the object of faith? Are we more interested in the practical application of Christianity than we are in truly understanding the Christianity that is to be applied? What are the dangers of this kind of approach to the Christian life? Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we delve into this important topic of faith and experience.

“Isn’t the goal again for us too, as the psalmist says, have our heart stirred by a noble theme? In other words, you have to set something before the heart that inflames it. You have to have something objective and what we have today is a lot of affection chasing, a lot of experience inculcating, a lot of people trying to gin up experiences so that they can climb up to heaven with a certificate and hand it to God and say, ‘I am sure now that I have had the right experience. I’m sure I have true saving faith because I’ve looked inside my heart. I’ve had this experience,’ and people will fly across the country, around the world to go have this experience so that finally their consciences can be assured that they really have whatever that thing is that makes them truly saved.”
– Michael Horton
Q. 21 What is true faith? A. True faith is not only a certain knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word; but also a hearty trust, which the Holy Spirit works in me by the Gospel, that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.
(The Heidelberg Catechism)
The Reformers were unanimous and explicit in teaching that justifying faith does not justify by any meritorious or inherent efficacy of its own, but only as the instrument for receiving or laying hold on what God has provided in the merits of Christ. They regarded this faith primarily as a gift of God and only secondarily as an activity of man in dependence on God.
(Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 497)

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