There’s a helpful saying that I’ve heard (and repeated) about the early Pentecostal movement. It states that Pentecostalism “was an experience in search of a theology.” This simply means that since there wasn’t really a “Pentecostal” category prior to the early 20th century, the experience(s) that took place during events like the Azusa Street Revival had to be thought of in newly created theological categories.
Make no mistake, experience is an important part of Charismatic Theology. I’d actually argue that those who make the suggestion that experience shouldn’t play a role in determining the validity of one’s theology are often arguing on the basis of their lack of experience, which is still an argument from experience! For Charismatics, experiencing the presence of the Lord is something that can be tangible and somewhat normative (like I said here and here). For me, one of the reasons why I’m “Charismatic” is because of my experience.