Faith and Feelings Part Ten – Conversion is typically an emotional experience

Spurgeon argued yesterday that often feelings come before faith, (having previously denied it!).  In today's quote after carefully reminding us that not every conversion is a "typical" one he goes on to tell us how he feels the typical conversion occurs: Some men have the light of God; but they cannot tell when the light first came to them. Let none of you imagine that you are not converted because you do not know the hour when it occurred; otherwise, you would be as foolish as I should be if I … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Nine – Spurgeon suggests experience comes before knowledge after all

Today's quote from Spurgeon demonstrates that the man believed two points that many today would disagree with.  Firstly, he argues that intellectual assent to the gospel is insufficient for salvation, indeed that it may make you more worthy of damnation. Secondly, he seems to suggest that experience may well need to come first before faith. How many people do in fact say, "if I could just feel God, I would believe?" Finally he seems to believe that it is possible to have full assurance of faith … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Eight – High affections are to be desired

Jonathan Edward's great work Religious Affections was introduced to us in yesterday's quote.  In my mind there is probably no better book written to help us to grasp this vital subject (other than the Bible itself of course!)  We should by now be beginning to understand one of the most fascinating paradoxes, our feelings are meant to be a massive part of our Christian experience, and yet they are not always to be relied upon. This quote is vintage Edwards: Some are ready to condemn all high a … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Seven – How the affections of a preacher must be stirred

Today we turn to Jonathan Edwards, that master of discussing Christian experince and his concept of the affections.  We would be wrong to assume that affections are simply the emotions as the following quote makes clear.  Although this idea does include emotions, it relates to the entire inclination of our heart and wills. When thinking about our affections, we have to ask "what draws our heart's attention?" Jonathan Edwards’s Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections (1746) has provided the b … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Six- It is Impossible to Elevate Emotions Too Highly!

The following post is comprised of Piper material I have posted before at PIPER FRIDAY – It is Impossible to Elevate Emotions Too Highly!. “Don’t I elevate the importance of emotions too highly?”While at Wheaton College, Piper read Situation Ethics by Joseph Fletcher, who argued that since love is commanded in the Bible, therefore love can’t be an emotion because you can’t command an emotion. But Piper felt there was something dead wrong with this premise since emotions are commanded everywhere … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Five – Learning from outside our comfort zones

Longtime readers of my blog may remember the days before I banned comments. If you do, you will remember that I gathered a group of people who seemed to disagree with almost everything I said. I stopped comments because I didn't have time to deal with everything they were saying, and because I found moderating very difficult. These days, that group largely finds expression through a blog written by someone who shares my surname, but despite rumors to the contrary is not related to me! If you … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Four – Spurgeon on Sealing and Faith

In today's quote Spurgeon introduces the vital concept of "sealing" or assurance of our faith and relates it ultimately to the line from our hymn: Note also that this sealing does not necessarily come at once with faith. It grows out of faith, and comes “after that ye believed.” We are not in every case sealed at the moment when we first trust in Jesus. I am persuaded that many who believe in Jesus enter into peace directly, and perceive at once the blessed assurance which is involved in their po … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Three – Spurgeon on how feelings do not produce faith

Our third quote in this little series, makes the very important point that however precious our experiences of God might be, a warm glowing feeling inside us never actually produces faith.  Some of my readers might be surprised to know that I wholeheartedly agree. Faith on the other hand, DOES produce feelings, as in the other two quotes, Spurgeon quotes our hymn: There are some who fancy that faith cometh by feeling. If they could feel emotions either of horror or of exquisite delight, they … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part Two – MLJ on why we can't rely on feelings

Regular readers of this blog will know that I sit firmly in the tradition of Piper, Lloyd-Jones, Spurgeon, Edwards, and dare I say it Paul (!), who stresses the vital nature of the experiential side of Christianity. Now, as we begun yesterday, we are looking at the relationship between feelings and faith, initially by sharing some quotes from the very advocates of a pursuit of a real intimate relationship with God. Today Lloyd-Jones explains why we can't trust the sweetest frame that God may … [Read more...]

Faith and Feelings Part One – MLJ on the vital place but unreliability of feelings

As promised yesterday, we today begin a series exploring the implications of one line from an old hymn "I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholy lean on Jesus name." It is my assertion that the writer of the hymn must have known something of the sweet "frames of mind" that Jesus gives us. He would not have written as he did if he did not.These sweet experiences of God are to be sought, and according to the following quote from the good Doctor, they are actually essential. Yet the … [Read more...]