As some of you may know Sally and I have just returned from a conference on healthcare research. It was proposed by several of the speakers that there is a hierarchy in the quality of research for evidence based practice – one of the main approaches in healthcare today. The picture shows be breadth of methods.
This begs the question, how do we measure and research Christianity? What credibility would we give to numbers, personal stories, commentaries, learned theological texts etc. There may be merit in all of these measurements. But in my experience what is at the bottom of the healthcare list is at the top of the Christian one – expert opinion – what I would perhaps parallel to testimony in a church setting as ultimately, we are the experts in our own faith even though we may perhaps never use that word to describe ourselves. We may get our information from all these different other sources but unless it rings true for us, unless we have experienced it as real and authentic then all the syntheses of literature in the world will never quite be enough for us.