Q: What place do Scripture, tradition, reason and experience play in your own theology? Which is most important for you? Least?
A: We know that scripture is God’s infallible Word and so it’s important for me to read, study, understand and apply scripture to my everyday life so that I can grow spiritually and die to the flesh. Sometimes life is very busy but I do my best to keep God at the forefront of everything.
Tradition isn’t as important to me, as there can be many flaws with following something simply for sake of following. Tradition is too similar to “religion” which is more or less based upon a “works” theology, which the bible clearly tells us we are saved by a Grace we are undeserving of, but is a gift to all those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Reason, while it can be used wisely in making decisions, “reason” should not be the lead or only means of choosing which way to go. Using reason alone can cloud our spiritual wisdom; it can cause us to close our ears to what God is telling us to do especially in the moments when He tells us to “Walk by faith and not by sight.”
I can certainly say that experience has played a role in my own theology, but that is mostly because I have a better understanding of spiritual things than I had in the past when I was going through certain trials. Before the Lord removed the scales from my eyes, I was lost and didn’t know that I could rely on God 100%. I wondered “Why?” much too often. But now that I understand, I see where my experiences played a strong role in drawing me closer to the Lord, and away from the world, (thank You, Father God!)
Of these, which is most important? I would have to say the spiritual experiences that I have gone through, because I have felt the presence of the Lord, I have witnessed His miracles right before my eyes, I have heard His voice in my spirit and heart… Those experiences shape my present and future more than relying on scripture alone because without spiritual understanding words can seem like just words, unfortunately; certainly more than “reason” because spirit is beyond basic reasoning; and of course the least of these would be tradition, as Christ proved that living dependent upon the Spirit of God and His guidance, and doing as He calls in any given moment, means much more than simply following an outline of tradition.
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