Monday, June 05, 2017

Encounter, Not Theology, Breeds Conviction

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Moon, over my house

For decades I have been saying that experience, not theory, breeds conviction.

Authentic theorizing comes out of experience. Otherwise theory is mere abstraction.

Regarding God, we could say: encounter, not theology, breeds conviction. Yes, we want to get our theology right. But theology without God-encounters is speculation in an ivory tower. Meaning, a disconnect. (Like, e.g., the atheist Old Testament professor that used to teach at Michigan State University.)

Anthropologist and missiologist Charles Kraft writes:

It is necessary to experience "the things Jesus told us we would be able to do if we have faith in him (John 14:12). It has been in vogue for traditional evangelical theologians and Bible teachers to warn people against basing doctrine on experience. Yet in the real world experience counts for a lot, and theory that does not work in experience is soon discarded." (Kraft, Confronting Powerless Christianity: Evangelicals and the Missing Dimension, Kindle Locations 76-79)