Belief and Experience
The Christian church was inaugurated with an overwhelming outpouring of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling the words of Jesus, “Ye shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” This experience - the first pentecost:-
was supernatural, “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost”;
was sensible, “He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear”;
was significant, in that it attested the exaltation of the Lord Jesus, “God hath made that same Jesus ...... both Lord and Christ.”
The coming of the Holy Spirit confirmed to the disciples the truth of what they had been taught, it was God’s seal on the ministry of Jesus, an assuring endorsement of the Gospel Christ had committed to them. But experience is not the final arbiter of truth. Peter’s first reaction after the coming of the Holy spirit was to express the validity of his experience in the words of Scripture. “This is that ..” he said, and proceeded to explain the event in Biblical terms. Pragmatic and dogmatic knowledge are wedded in true Biblical experience. They must not be divorced.
Doctrine without experience is sterile; experience without doctrine is volatile. True belief is concerned both with understanding and experience; but experience is not the last word, only “the more sure word of prophecy” can be the final judge.
Scripture references: Acts 1:8, 2:1-4, 33, 36. Acts 2:16, Joel 2:28, 29. 2 Peter 1:19
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