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date: 24 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Evangelical theology has traditionally had a somewhat ambivalent relationship to the notion of “experience,” understood here as some event lived through, of which one is consciously aware. This article examines the role of religious experience in the formation, sustenance, and development of Christian doctrine. It also considers the relationship between religious experience as a putative source of encounter with the divine, and other sources of testimony appealed to in order to ground theological authority, such as Scripture or tradition. It can be seen that in evangelical thought, there are different, sometimes conflicting, accounts of the relation experience bears to doctrine or to norms of theological authority. But faith itself is an act that implies religious experience. For most evangelicals, faith is an act that involves two components: the doxastic component and the fiducial component. Reflection on the very concept of faith and the role it plays in evangelical theologies must also include consideration of how faith relates to experience, since to have faith is to undergo some sort of experience.

Keywords: Christian doctrine, faith, religious experience, divine, evangelical theology, theological authority, doxastic components, fiducial components

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