Many Charismatic and Pentecostal believers (along with other Evangelicals) build their faith on personal experience rather than on truth. Yes, truth must be experienced – it not enough to hold a merely intellectual faith. But our faith is reasonable and the truth of God in Christ is the foundation of our experience. The order is clear. Truth first, experience second. The only reliable test of truth is the revelation of God in his Word – his personal Word, the Bible and His Personal Word, Christ.
It is a joy to see more Muslims coming to Christ today than at any time in history. Muslims are coming to Christ in Europe, Africa, Asia and in the Middle East. What is it that causes them to abandon the teaching of Mohamed and to come to faith in Christ?
They have come to see the truth in Christ, the one who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No-one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). They have come to understand that they need a Saviour, not a prophet. They rejoice in the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we can be forgiven by God. They reject their religion because they discover that truth is not found in any religion but only in a personal relationship with God through Christ.
In short, everyone who is convinced by the Holy Spirit that the truth is found in Christ is convinced by spiritual understanding. They are persuaded by the power of spiritual truth. Because Jesus is the Truth, he can become our Hope.
That’s why the Apostle Peter instructs us to be ready to give the reason for our hope. Faith is not blind; it’s a response to the revelation of God’s Truth. We must present the reasons why we believe as well as testify of our spiritual experiences. Experience must be judged at the bar of truth.
Hope is the anchor of truth. That is why we should be ready to answer the question, “How do you know that what you believe is true?” Never accept the patronising response some people might give you when you share the gospel: “That’s very nice for you. I’m glad that you have such a faith.” What they are really saying, “That’s your faith – mine is different!” If the gospel is true then it is true for everyone. Jesus came to reveal God and to offer his life on the cross for all. Without it, there is no hope for you, for your friends and family, and no hope for the world in which we live.