Friday, January 01, 2010

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Christian Experience

I wanted to begin the New Year with some concise quotes from Dr Lloyd-Jones on Christian experience. They are so challenging and tell us that our hope for more of God is not in vain. The most stupid thing that a Christian can do is to be so put off by excess and fanaticism that they adapt their theology to become one of pure intellect and fear of any experience "in case" it is false.

Here is the Doctor from his monumental sermons on the book of Ephesians;

"Christians are so much afraid of excesses and of enthusiasm that they are only satisfied they are Christians when they are really miserable. What a tragedy. What blindness, what misunderstanding of Christian doctrine!".

And from his book; "Enjoying the Presence of God";

"Actually another belief that is very common today is the tendancy to dismiss these high experiences as just ecstasy. People try to explain them psychologically as the enthusiasm of youth, or people being carried away by emotionalism. But that is to limit 'the Holy One of Israel', that is to quench the Spirit. That is to put a barrier between that which God has made possible for us and ourselves".

I think one of the lessons perhaps that the Lakeland Outpouring brought the church - was that while Christian experience is true and valid, we do not have to invent experiences or signs or wonders when there are none. What an awesome comfort the doctrine of the sovereignity of God brings! We simply have to believe that He is good and He is eager to touch and to bless and to move. If He hasn't touched or done something - then we do not have to invent or exaggerate. Dr Lloyd-Jones very much taught this too as balance;

"If my experience does not tally with the New Testament, it is not the Christian experience. It may be wonderful, it may be thrilling, I may have seen visions. But I say, it matters not at all if my experience does not tally with this, it is not Christian experience".

That being said - it must be noted that the New Testament has very few limits on Christian experience! I wrote a post inspired by one of my favourite films called "Only God should have that kind of power" - and considered the place of "teleporting" for the Christian. The fact is that teleporting of sorts seems to occur in the Word of God! So let's be very careful before swiftly claiming that is "non-Biblical". But alternatively let's not desperately seize on any experience - because the real, the genuine manifest Presence of God is more than worth the wait!

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