Monday, October 27, 2014

Made real by our experience. . .

Experience is many things.  It is not bad -- in fact it is good.  Our experience of the Christian faith and even our emotions within that experience are good things. . . but they are not that which makes the faith real.  Experience and emotion are a response to the reality which exists by virtue of God's Word that speaks and creates, that is efficacious delivering what it promises, and that does not fail to accomplish God's purpose in sending it.

The idea that something of the faith is made real by our experience is dangerous for that means it can be rendered unreal by our failure to experience it or our rejection of that experience.  In a sense this is no different from those who complain about their pastor not because he fails to preach God's Word rightly distinguishing Law and Gospel or faithfully administering the Sacraments according to Christ's institution but because they don't like him.  They claim to get nothing out of his sermons and even to find their faith hindered by his ministry.  But what they get out of his preaching and ministry (of Word and Sacrament) is neither created nor prevented by their like or dislike of the man.  It is the nature of the Word that it does what it promises and delivers what it says.  Period.

Yeah, I know what he means.  I have had those moments when emotion, experience, and faith all come together.  They are good moments and not bad.  But good or bad, our experience of Christ, our experience of His Gospel, and our experience of His grace is rendered neither real nor unreal by special moments or memories or a lack of them.  We pastors need to be careful lest we turn folks to the uncertain ground of feelings and experiences from the solid foundation of God's Word.  Especially when we broadcast these words across the internet.

1 comment:

Janis Williams said...

More lust for the seeker-sensitive success from this "network." What next? A renaming of the Emerging church movement for Lutherans?