A Brick in the Valley


Both Objective and Subjective / Carson and Moo
November 27, 2007, 3:37 pm
Filed under: Ephesians

Adrian Warnock has posted a Lloyd-Jones quote which stresses experience founded on doctrine.   Adrian is right to insist that we should be looking for experience that builds on solid doctrinal footings.

Agreeing with Adrian, we must value experience.  I grew up in circles where we were suspicious of any sort of experience.  We stressed the objective aspects of the faith but not subjective experience.  (Note the D.A. Carson quote below).  If someone had done something radical like raise their hands, they would have been shot.  Don’t get me wrong, the people were sweet.  They would have smiled while pulling the trigger – – but they would have pulled it none the less.

In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul prayed that based on the objective argument of the first 3 chapters of Ephesians (and what argument it is), that the Ephesians will have a subjective experience of the faith – – something that transcends knowledge, indeed that they will be filled to the brim with an experience of the love of Christ.

In reference to this passage, Carson summarized:

“Because some wings of the church have appealed to experience over against revelation, or have talked glibly about ill-defined ‘spirituality’ that is fundamentally divorced from the gospel, some of us have overreacted and begin to view all mention of experience as suspicious at best, perverse at worst.  This overreaction must cease.  The Scriptures themselves demand that we allow more place for experience than that. . .”  D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities From Paul and His Prayers, Grand Rapids (Baker, 1992), 191.

 Relative to Romans 5:5, Moo writes:

“The confidence we have for the day of judgment is not based only on our intellectual recognition of the fact of God’s love, or even only on the demonstration of God’s love on the cross . . . but on the inner, subjective certainty that God does love us . . . and it is this internal, subjective, yes, even emotional, sensation within the believer that God does indeed love us – – love expressed and made vital in real, concrete actions on our behalf – – that gives to us the assurance that ‘hope will no disappoint us.'” Douglas Moo, Commentary on Romans, pages 312-313.

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