Have you read this new book by Todd Burpo? This book tells the story of his son who died and went to heaven. I have personally not read this book, but sat in a class several weeks ago at Concordia Seminary when it came up in our discussion of 1 Corinthians 15. Dr. Jeff Gibbs was our instructor for this class and shared with us that he wrote a review on this book. I recommend that you check out Jeff’s book review by CLICKING HERE. I believe that Dr. Gibbs handles this book review with grace while also holding to the integrity of scripture.
Besides suggesting this book review to you today, I do hope to draw attention to something that was mentioned in the review. How do we respond to people’s experiences in this Christian Life? For myself, I have a lot of profoundly weird and powerful stories that I certainly could tell you. I am sure that you do too and know of others who have power experiences. So, how are we to process our stories and experiences? I believe Dr. Gibbs offers a great insight in this review. He states, “When someone says they have had a spiritual experience, you never deny that something happened. But you always reserve the right to interpret it in light of Scripture.”
As Christians we can be tempted to interpret the Bible by our experiences, however, God forbid this temptation, for we do not want to be ensnared in Mysticism. On the other hand, we don’t want to harshly reject experiences because we can come across as insensitive jerks and we can also end up denying the reality that we are emotional and subjective beings. Things do happen; people have experiences. Rather, we don’t have to embrace the extremes. We don’t have to blindly accept nor harshly deny Christian experiences, but we get to assess them and interpret them in light of the Scriptures. Scripture interprets our life, we do not interpret the scriptures.
God’s Grace and Peace to you as the Word continually shapes, informs, ministers and interprets you.