On his blog Seth Barnes writes,
“The problem is, the Bible is a static set of words on a page. To understand them and form beliefs around them, you can’t escape the need to interpret the Bible. And when you interpret the Bible, you do so in part based on your experience…More often than not, we don’t believe ourselves into better experience, we experience our way into a new way of believing.”
In essence he is saying that experience trumps theology.
God’s word is not static.
Heb 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
We are not told to have experience, we are told to know Scripture for wisdom. We are also told to be careful to interpret accurately.
2 Tim 3:15 “how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
2 Tim 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
Experience is not a test for truth, we will give an account to the Lord Jesus based on the truth of Word of God revealed in Scripture, not our experience. How do we interpret Scripture with experience if we are repeatedly warned that false teachers will show us “experience” to lead people astray?
“They are sincere in wanting to serve the Lord with their lives. It looks to me like they are slowly and deliberately being led astray. They don’t have a Bible study they do, but they journal what God speaks to them in the silence….My heart goes out to these young people. Some are true born again believers and I believe they will see the truth and be led by God’s Holy Spirit; but some of these young people are in the process of seeking the truth, of seeking God and have not yet been born again spiritually in Christ Jesus, these will be led by deceiving spirits. The church needs to be protecting these young people.“
Matt 24:24 “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”
Matt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”
Forget the Bible Seth says,
“A tip – if you’re discipling a new believer, don’t give them some kind of devotional book to teach them basic theology. And please, don’t tell them to “read through the Bible in a year.” If you think about it, it probably didn’t do too much for you, and it probably won’t do much to stir up life in a new believer either.Please don’t read Romans or Galatians. It’s great theology and essential reading at some point, but first, wrestle with the question: “Who is this guy I am supposed to be following?” Jesus is a radical. He won’t be tamed or dumbed down. Following him is hard enough without requiring disciples to study theology. First learn what he says and do what he says. Then once you have that down, move on to what other people say about him.
This is in direct opposition with Scripture. Is he suggesting Christ is “dumbed down” in the Scriptures? Are we to teach new believers based on our supposed experience? How will they know the Christ they are submitting to?
2 Tim 31;16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
1 Tim 4:2-4 “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
Even Jesus used the Scriptures to explain who He was to his disciples.
Luke 21:24 “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Seth suggests that the apostolic writing’s are less God’s Word, (“what other people say about Him”). He also misses the fact that a true disciple of Christ will long to read and study His entire Word…not as a requirement!
Psalm 119:40 “Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!”.
Does Seth believe we are divine? he writes,
“How does God speak? He spoke through Jesus and he continues to speak thru men and women. We are his word. The word made flesh. It is the magic of the incarnation. The word is made flesh every day. We are his word. Until we enter another person’s world and speak the language of their heart, God lacks the language to speak to them.”
We are his ambassadors to share the Good News of salvation offered to sinners through the blood of Christ only known through the revealed Word in Scripture and Jesus Christ incarnate, we are not the Word made flesh, that is Christ’s privilege alone. We are given a new nature and adopted as beloved children, but we are not divine, nor equal with Christ.
2 Cor 5:17-20 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
Is this the simple message of Jesus? Seth says
“We must recognize that God wants us, his creatures, to be happy and gives us a great deal of latitude….Spiritual dominion over evil is the goal that we’ve been given as we interface with an unbelieving world.”
Did Christ suffer so we could be happy? Note the key words of the Gospel are not in this post.
Clearly experience wins out over any Biblical standard.
**See the post, titled Mentors, Influences, Praiseworthy men for more info on Todd Bentley