Have you ever heard one Christian reminding another Christian to preach only what he has experienced? Or one preacher advising another preacher, “Don’t preach above your experience!”

It will be a sorry day for Christianity and our world when a Christian layman or clergyman tries to preach no higher than the level of his own experience. True, one must have had a personal encounter with God in Christ, and know that whereas once his back was to God, now he is facing Him. He must know that though once he was outside in the cold without Him, now he is inside the warm shelter of His love. Once in, we are told to go on to perfection, to an ever deeper experience in the grace of God, and communicate to others our experience.

As laity and clergy, we are called to proclaim not only our own experience but the message of God in its entirety. Shame on us for not having a higher experience; but more shame will come to us and to those who hear us if we preach only our experience, and not the highest to which we must heartily and everlastingly aspire! “Preach only what you’ve experienced!” To do that we shall have to omit much of the highest and best in the Bible. For who but the most presumptuous person could claim to have attained the complete surrender God demands in Galatians 2:20—“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”? Or who has ever found all God desires for him as expressed in Jesus’ words: “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me. For the man who wants to save his life will lose ...

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