Thursday, January 25, 2007

Subjective Spiritual Experiences

I was thinking about posting about subjective spiritual experiences when the internet Monk beat me to it by posting Thoughts on Spiritual Experiences He wrote on the area of subjective spiritual experiences and even has a case study. I am not complaining. He is such a good writer and quite comprehensive in his coverage of the subject.

Spiritual experiences has always been treated with suspicion by the church. The experiences of Teresa of Avila is one good example. However John Wesley named ‘experience’ as one of his four pillars in building a theological system. The other three pillars are Scripture, Tradition and Reason. This is known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral

What I would like to comment on subjective spiritual experience is this statement. Christians will come to me and say, “I am having such a great personal experience with Christ.” And I will go, “Aha…” I mean, there is nothing wrong with having a great personal experience. And with Christ too. Most people will happy accept that statement. Somehow, it makes me uncomfortable.

Shouldn’t one say, “I have a great Christ in my personal experience.” Here the emphasis is on Christ rather than the experience. Maybe it is just me. Somehow I feel that many Christians are more focused on their spiritual experiences than on the Giver of their experience.

Soli deo gloria

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