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Old 02-28-2015, 06:16 AM   #4
OBW
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Default Re: The Experience of Christ

I probably picked a bad time to introduce the subject. It is getting into a heavy season at work and I need to give more of my little free time to something besides this thread and forum.

If nothing else, I am wondering if we might find that "experience of Christ" should be more general in both finding and application. Is the experience in considering whether something expresses him (at least a significant thing, given that the purpose of man was bearing the image of God on earth) or wondering what could be known to all men?

Forbearance, and tolerance (to the extent that it is part of forbearance) are interesting terms. And they fall within a range of actions that we are called to take that includes both judging, and not judging. So simply forbearing everything is not an end-all. The goal of the Christian life is not to make everyone happy about everything. But where our tolerance is exercised must include our unbelieving neighbor. Until they are part of the body, while they are ultimately under God's judgment, they are not ours to judge. But there is a form of judgment that must go on within the body. While the way of rampant exclusivism is not the way, neither is simply sitting with forbearance about everything. Otherwise, there could be no admonishing, exhorting, or even bringing certain kinds of offenses to the church.

Yes, truly loving the unsaved by being tolerant of them in everything outside of what society (and God) would call criminal is a must. It should be exercised. And to the extent that we do not naturally want to tolerate certain ones, we need to receive the grace to overcome our natural intolerance. We need to set our minds on the Spirit and "walk" in a manner that is tolerant. We can call that an experience of Christ.

But if tolerance is the first thing that comes up, then why aren't we tolerant of Lee, Nee, Lin, RK, Benson, Ray and the others? Maybe it is because there are some things you don't just be silent about. And there is a context in which something should be said. Having seen something that we, collectively or individually, see as potentially damaging, or even limiting in our Christian growth, should we simply tolerate and be silent? And why? because it might offend someone? We are constantly offending the die-hard LCM people, both regulars and leaders. So the forum should end?

What do we gain by hiding the actual experience behind a generic label? I realize that it is a "high" way of speaking of it. But what it is will be true no matter what you call it. And we know what it means to become convicted that we are intolerant of certain people. And to deal with God about that until we begin to change. Sometimes we actually change almost immediately. Sometimes we find ourselves changing slowly as we step out in faith, but find ourselves in our old ways, but are quickly pricked in our consciences when we fail, and return to our walk according to the Spirit.

But more than anything, I am looking to find that what we tend to lump into a generic term "experiences of Christ" should, on the whole, have some occurrences in our quiet times or corporate worship, but as much or more in our daily lives because we come to express Christ in our living more and more. And they are worthy of more detailed analysis, both personally, and in whatever we speak to others. Saying "I had several experiences of Christ this week" is like saying "I lived my life this week." Or it should be. If the term is focused too exclusively on our quiet time, or the corporate worship, then we may only understand part of what could be there. And maybe the problem is that we are not labeling properly. But it could be that we are stuck in a spiritual/secular separation where experiencing Christ is spiritual and living the daily life is secular.

I know that there was a lot of talk about not being able to wait to get to the next meeting. And it was one of the reasons that there was so much looking down on the rest of Christianity because they don't meet as often as we did. And I believe that is because we had an incorrect understanding of what and how we "experienced Christ." It was a much bandied term will little true definition. But for many it was assumed to be something that happened in our "spiritual times."

This has been a "no evidence" speech. It somewhat expresses the expectation of my search. I will be up front about it because I want to recognize my own tendency to force-fit things to my chosen result. Can we all try to do that? It might help us see beyond our biases
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