IT WAS one of the great mistakes of the Pietism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that, in seeking the assurance of faith, or of salvation, it divorced itself too much from the Word of God. The basis of assurance was sought, not in the objective promises of the Gospel, but in the subjective experiences of believers. The knowledge of the experiences that were made the touch-stone of faith, was not gathered from the Word of God, but was obtained by an inductive study of the subjective states and affections of believers. In many cases these were not even put to the test of Scripture, so that the true was not always distinguished from the counterfeit. Moreover, there were unwarranted generalizations. Individual experiences and experiences of a very dubious character were often made normative, were set forth as the necessary marks of true faith. The result was that they who were concerned about the welfare of their soul turned attention to themselves rather than to the Word of God, and spent their life in morbid introspection.
This may seem to some.. many that such a thing has gone the way of the Dodo Bird. For the most part, this is probably true although there are still groups and denominations where this is painfully existent and strongly guarded. Unfortunately, for the great majority of the world's churches, the opposite error is in vogue; Easy Believism and a pitifully damning confession of faith, e.g., I love Jesus, I asked Jesus into my heart, I read the words on the back of a tract, etc., etc. But when one ponders these two critical errors, the remedy to them, which is exactly the same for every error or any and every kind is: "What does God's Word teach?"!!!
Thus, Louis Berkhof wrote years ago in regard to the issue and problem of true assurance that Scripture is the sole and final authority of faith and practice. I believe that he did a masterful job in dealing with this subject and sets forth the biblical teaching concerning of the assurance of faith. He reveals both the errors that are held and the wonderful truth that every believer has been given to them by God himself that they are unassailably secure in their faith through the Lord Jesus Christ.
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In His service and grace,