Christian Experience An Evidence of Christianity -- By: Sumner Osborne

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 093:372 (Oct 1936)
Article: Christian Experience An Evidence of Christianity
Author: Sumner Osborne

Christian Experience
An Evidence of Christianity

Sumner Osborne

Someone has rightly said that Christianity is not a religion but a Person. It is not a standard of conduct or adherence to a creed but rather the relation of redeemed men to the Man Christ Jesus and all the outworkings of that relationship in the purpose of God. This involves reality. There cannot be in Christianity the vagueness or indefiniteness which is found in the religions of the world because it involves a living Person whom men know and worship.

It is for this reason that we have Christian evidences. Because the Christian Faith is one in which reality has such a central place, there must be satisfactory evidence given to prove it is all its documents claim it to be. While the world’s religions may slumber on in the darkness of forms, rituals, and endless creeds without any need for evidence, Christianity must be demonstrated to men’s minds by strong and clear proofs if it is to claim their trust and satisfy their hearts.

There are numerous classes of evidence which establish the truth of the Christian Faith. The kind we propose to study in this theme is that of experience. We want to observe how the experience through which Christians pass in their spiritual careers proves the reality of Christianity. This may best be done by considering the field of Christian experience in three parts: first, the conversion of the Christian or birth; secondly, his spiritual course or life; and

thirdly, the finish of that course or death. This is the extent of the Christian’s experience which is of value to us as evidence. We shall study these divisions in their proper order.

In the first place, the conversion of the Christian provides evidence for the truth of Christianity. It provides it first of all to his own heart. The example we have chosen is the Apostle Paul. Here was a man whose conversion marked the great turning point of his life. Up to that point he had been a zealous young Pharisee, living in the full current of the Jews’ religion. To him Jesus of Nazareth was an imposter and those who followed him were worthy of death. The day came, however, when all this was changed. This One whom he had despised appeared to him in brilliant light from heaven and spoke to him. The experience made an indelible impression upon Paul. Nothing could have been more real, and from that time on his testimony was, “What things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea, verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:7, 8). In Paul’s eyes t...

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