Published: 10 years ago

Experience AND Evidence

The great thing about having a blog is that you can use it on Monday to clear up stuff you said on Sunday.

If you were at our Brier Creek AM Campus yesterday, you know that some yahoo took over the stage while J.D. was hanging out at our Cole Mill and West Club campuses.  This particular yahoo (okay, it was me) talked about the fact that experience – our personal story of coming to Christ – should always be supplemented with evidence – the objective foundation of scripture.

I had a great conversation after the 10:45 service with one of our college students, who told me that she frequently uses her coming-to-Christ story as a witnessing tool to her friends, and unless I clarified my statement she was going to take a sledgehammer to my kneecaps.

Editor’s Note: That’s not really what she said.  She was going to use a rubber mallet.

Here’s what experience vs. evidence looks like when we’re going with our personal stories: both of them are incredibly important.  While it’s true that someone could argue with your personal experience, the chances of that happening decrease proportionally as your personal relationship with that person increases.  In other words, it’s much easier for me to argue with your experience if I don’t know you all that well.  It becomes more difficult to argue with you if you’re a family member, a roommate, or a sorority sister.  (Please note that I’ve never had nor have I been a sorority sister…just play along with the illustration, okay?)

However, as in all of our stories, we give them more credence if we supplement them with evidence.  “This is what happened to me…and this is what scripture says about it.”

On the flip side, there are people in your circle of influence who would give more weight to your story than to scripture…and yet God can use your story to help them begin to trust the Bible.

Can God use your personal story?  Of course he can.  Scripture is full of stories that – when they happened – weren’t scripture yet.  They were recorded for us later, but when they happened they were simply personal stories of God interacting with and intervening on behalf of people.

Can God use scripture to supplement your personal story?  Certainly.  When you point people to the verse in Romans that God used to get your attention, or you direct them to the gospel of John, which you were reading as you were wrestling with the truth claims of Jesus, I believe God will combine the two and use them in a powerful way to bring your friends to Christ.

  1. Rob Taylor says:

    Yea, I was actually very glad you talked about this in the sermon. It doesn’t matter what your religious persuasion is, everyone has a story. If life change itself is the goal, then it doesn’t matter so much what your story is (although I would argue that from a moral perspective, Christianity is superior).

    The difference between “our” story and “their” story is not that of a changed life so much as it is the foundation of the life change. If our story isn’t rooted in objective reality, then it’s just another ingredient in the stew which is pluralism.

    And while you can’t argue with someone’s experience, you can always argue with their interpretation of that experience. If their experience doesn’t correspond with reality, then it has to be attributed to something else.

  1. By Monday on the links « Small Groups Guy on April 6, 2009 at 11:16 am

    […] Experience AND Evidence (blog by Summit Pastor Danny Franks): reflection on sermon from 04.05.09 which discussed how you balance your personal story and the truth claims of christianity. His sermon is linked on that blog. […]

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