Have You Had a True Spiritual Experience?
Today people are embracing every form of New Age thought and experience. "Whatever works for you," is the byword. But if you want a genuine spiritual experience, your choices narrow.
Millions are searching for spiritual fulfilment. Nearly 8,000 techniques for expanding human awareness have been introduced into our culture. At least ten million have taken up some form of meditation. More than four million young people have joined the 1,000 religious cults active in the United States and Canada. The goal of many who join these New Age cults is spiritual fulfilment. With the current prevailing attitude that "all things are relative" and "whatever works for you is your 'truth,'" more and more people are asking: "Isn't Christianity just another emotional or psychological experience?"
… if … the resurrection is not true, then there is no Christian Gospel..
We must be ready to give a proper answer to this proper question. Christianity is far more than a subjective experience. It is based on solid historical fact—the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That even established Jesus' deity and His power over sin and death.
The beauty of the Gospel consists in its openness to examination. God has revealed Himself in time-space history. Christ was a public figure and His resurrection was a public event. In the New Testament Jesus repeatedly predicted His crucifixion and its outcome in the resurrection. This was to be the ultimate sign that He would provide for us: "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days" (John 2:18-21).
If the resurrection had not taken place, then Jesus could not be the Son of God, nor our Saviour, and Christianity would be meaningless. As the apostle Paul said, "If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most miserable" (2 Corinthians 15:17-19).
Paul makes it quite plain that if this fact of the resurrection is not true, then there is no Christian Gospel at all and any experience that people may have has no final value.
Christianity is not down on experience. Jesus invites individuals to experience a personal relationship with Him. But He encourages a commitment to Him that is based on absolute truth, a solid fact of history outside ourselves to which our experience is joined.
It's not enough to have some kind of religious experience. A genuine spiritual experience is based on Scripture. The person who believes God's Word experiences the power of the risen Christ in his life today. He can know that his sins are forgiven (see 1 Corinthians 15-19-26). He can become a new creature and find meaning for his life (see John 10:10),
Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer. The greatest experiences, apart form Him, are deception and tragic.
Michael P. Horban is a retired ministry and a retired minister with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, and a former editor of Resource.
Originally published in Testimony, April 2003.
Used with permission of the author. Copyright © 2005 Christianity.ca.