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AUDIO: The Dangers Of An Experiential, Man-Centered, Me-Centered Interpretation Of The Bible

This is truly MUST LISTEN TO material, IMHO.

Dr. Matt Richard of Zion Lutheran-Gwinner, ND recently appeared on a broadcast of Issues, Etc. to discuss his helpful research and worksheet "How Do We View Christianity?" in a 45-minute segment titled "The Dangers of An Experiential Interpretation of The Bible" that aired this past Friday.

If you're wondering what to expect, then simply watch the following 2-minute video below and you'll get a pretty good idea (even though it covers so much more than this sort of thing).

VIDEO: How Not To Study The Bible (An All Too Typical Bible Study) 
AUDIO: The Dangers of Experiential Interpretation of The Bible

In short, "experiential interpretation" (or a "man-centered"/"me-centered" interpretation) of the Word of God as found in the Holy Bible is a major problem in Christianity today although it's also something that has become a sort of hallmark of the Small Groups phenomenon.

We've certainly tried to address this subject before by encouraging others to prayerfully consider some things about this popular practice.

Christ's Church vs. The Parachurch 
Zitat: Being A Confessional Lutheran 
Zitat: Small Groups In The LCMS 
The LCMS Addiction To Small Groups 
PODCAST: Episode #8 -- Ribs And Kidney Stones 
Pietism Is Just Another Name For Subjective, Emotional, Experiential Christianity 
Why One Lutheran Quit Small Groups

To reiterate something that was brought up in the discussion, we shouldn't talk to other people about OUR FAITH and OUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES, but we should be talking to them about OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, OUR JESUS CHRIST!

Romans 10:17 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

To emphasize what is meant by all of that, here's an excellent quote I found from Pastor Timothy Rossow.

I have other issues with small groups theory and practice, primary of which is that they are built around a relational model instead of a proclamation model. The Gospel forgives my sin whether I relate to it or not. As a matter of fact, that is the Gospel. I really don’t relate to it. I relate to the seductive words Satan spoke to Eve. But thanks be to God, there is no condemnation for Eve and me because the Holy Spirit has worked faith in me and he did so before I was even capable of a relationship -- on the eighth day of my life. God proclaimed me his child.

There was so much substance in that discussion between Pastor Wilken and Pastor Richard so you might even want to listen to it a second time just to make sure you didn't miss anything.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, and as an ex-Evangelical "Newtheran" in an LCMS Church that desperately wants to be anything but Lutheran, I see this as one of the biggest dangers in Christianity today, which is why it's essential that we become more aware of the pitfalls inherent in an experiential, man-centered, me-centered interpretation of the Bible if not also our justification, salvation, sanctification, and vocations.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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