“But first, are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced? Well I have…” –singer and songwriter Jimi Hendrix.
Referencing Jimi Hendrix on a faith-based blog may seem odd, but since my writings center around warnings and dark matter (evilness, not the gravitational effect), this is par for the course in my small corner of the blog universe.
It is not my intention to point a condemning finger; seriously, the only reason I didn’t fall down this ‘experience’ rabbit hole is that I was too busy wrongly using apologetics to argue unbelievers into the Kingdom. But that’s another story for another post.
It’s common to hear that we should share our experiences as testimonies, because “no one can argue with that” or “no one can take it away”. Well, I can argue with that, and I hope to take away this line of thinking. I don’t disagree with sharing experiences; I disagree with only sharing experiences as a testimony. Subjective observations are not the Gospel.
Experiences in today’s evangelical pagan circle are multiplying at the rate of Creflo’s dollars. Trips to heaven, personal revelations, The Holy Ghost Hokie Pokie, healing crusades, monastic practices … it’s not difficult to understand how the usurping of Christ’s sacrifice by one’s experiences occurs in a testimony. Both the “we are little gods” mentality and eisegesis have contributed to a me! me! me! frenzy resulting in a Selfie Seeker Movement.
Three Examples of How Using Only Experiences Can Backfire
1. Experiences are not unique to Christians.
When I was a practicing New Ager and occultist, I had many experiences. I believe Satan wants worship, not only through believing in his various schemes, but also by participating in them. Seances, tarot card readings, transcendental meditation, casting spells, etc., usually result in some sort of experience. In fact, if mystical experiences had ceased during this period of my life, I probably would have given up the whole belief system on that basis alone. The peace and connection I felt to a “Cosmic Consciousness”, combined with supernatural experiences, trumped anything that traditional religion could offer. Satan hands out experiences like a pedophile doles out Smarties. He’s quick to reward an outstretched hand to those wanting more than the sure Word of God.
2. Truth has become subjective.
Have you heard “That might be true for you, but it isn’t true for me”? Others can’t take away your truth experiences; ipso facto, you can’t take away theirs.
Or what about, “Well, God has given me comfort, and I’ve been through a lot of things.” It is such a blessing to experience God’s comfort and strength; however, people experience comfort through many things that do not involve Jesus; everyone worships something. If comfort is the means and the end, many already think they have that covered (Philippians 2:21). Additionally, if comfort is the carrot that is used to lead the horse, many may end up drinking out of the trough of the prosperity gospel.
3. Seeking an experience alone can lead to a false conversion.
Kendall Hobbs, a self-described former Christian, details his many Christian “experiences” within his testimony. There is much of his testimony that I experienced as well. I was granted the knowledge and truth of Jesus Christ and salvation, but it was not until many years later that I was granted repentance. Paul could have been talking about me when he wrote 2 Timothy 3:5. So while I cannot judge the state of Mr. Hobbs’ heart, I can certainly sympathize. From what I gather, he did all the “right stuff”, but the deep sorrow over sin and life-changing repentance are what’s missing.
Are you experienced? Or are you saved from the wrath of God? When you are evangelizing, please remember to share the gospel along with your experience.
Soli Deo Gloria,