Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Faith is the Passive Result of being Persuaded

For those of you who have been following my James series, it is going to continue, and I think the next post will be Post 8 in it. Please be patient and review the other 7 posts (in my sidebar) to get up and keep up to speed. The following is a very short article on my view of what faith is, which does lend some background information to our study in James 2:14ff. (Faith without works is still true faith as a bicycle without a rider is still a real bike and a car without gas is still a genuine car, but we will discuss this in a later post).

Faith in Christ is not a work. Faith's role in the reception of eternal life is purely instrumental; an organon leptikon (Martin Luther), like the empty hand of a beggar receiving a gift. Faith as a way of receiving eternal life precludes any idea of works. There is no boasting, says Paul: “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.” (Rom 3:27)

Faith is not even something that you volitionally do, no matter what someone tells you.

Faith is the passive result of being persuaded, convinced, and convicted that something is true.

Faith the a conviction that something is true.

And as pertaining saving faith, it is taking God at His word concerning the offer of His Son, Jesus Christ, the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it.

Yes, faith is passive, and is not something that someone can determine to do. If a person is convinced that Jesus is the Christ, in the Johannine sense, then by automatic result, he is believing in Christ and thus has life (John 20:31).

To show that this is a simple truism, that faith is not an act of the will, a few illustrations will suffice. Have you ever believed something against your will? The author has. At one point in his life he received a phone call from his brother and was told that his dad had died. His brother, through his communication, convinced him that his dad was indeed dead. The author believed that his dad was dead against his will. He did not want to believe that he was dead.

Likewise, have you ever wanted to believe something that you couldn’t? Let’s say that Jimmy runs to his brother Pete and says, “Mom just brought home a new XBOX 360 with two new games!” Pete wants dearly to believe his brother, but his experience blocks him from becoming persuaded, for earlier that week his mom told him that they weren’t in the financial situation necessary to afford that game console. Therefore Pete wants to believe Jimmy, but more information would be necessary in order for Pete to believe. Pete then goes home and before he sees the new console, his mom says, “Honey, I just received a bonus from work and got you guys that game console you wanted along with two new games!” This was enough communication to persuade Pete that his family now owned a brand new XBOX 360, therefore Pete, as a passive result, believed.

No one can determine to put his or her faith in something. Either they are persuaded as to a proposition or they retain doubt. Doubt precludes faith (Romans 14:23; Jas. 1:6, 7). A single doubt about the gospel offer will keep one from saving faith. The convicting and convincing ministry of both the Holy Spirit and the Word of God is enough to overcome any doubt. It is when men have hardened their hearts that the word of God is of none effect. When one issue is answered, hardened men will come up with ten more; they determine to not consider the evidence.

The will is involved in one point. The individual must determine to consider the evidence of Scripture. A person cannot become convinced and convicted by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God unless they are open to the discourse.

With all issues of faith, the one who is persuaded through either communication or deliberation within himself or both concerning an issue, faith occurs as a passive result.

Once one has willed to consider the evidence, he has given it "permission" to act upon him, in other words, with a view that the evidence may convince him as to the veracity of the discussed issue. And once convinced faith occurs as the passive result.

For those of you who are of the Reformed “persuasion” and “believe” that faith is an act of the will, do this right now:

Determine in your heart to believe me in my Free Grace theology….

You can’t?

Why?

Because you remain unconvinced, unpersuaded as to my view.

Faith does NOT reside in the will.

(This teaching has a direct effect on assurance. When one is convinced, he believes. If he believes the offer of Christ, he by virtue of that faith has certain assurance of eternal life, for the guarantee is explicit in the offer. This is what some have described as "assurance is of the essence of saving faith". Both John Calvin and Martin Luther held this view of faith and assurance. Yet the Reformed tradition since then has left it. For an excellent REFORMED view that faith is passive (beside Calvin and Luther) see Gordon H. Clark's "Faith and Saving Faith" put out by the Trinity Foundation.)

21 Comments:

Blogger Byron said...

I think you bicycle/car and begger's hand analogies do not adequately express the GIFT of faith. Faith is a virtue, a habit, a firm disposition to do good by becoming like God. All virtues seek to perfect the will. Some virtues are acquired by human efforts (like temperance, courage, justice, and prudence). Some virtues are infused by God into our souls (like faith, hope, and love). Justice is a natural movement of the will toward goodness, while faith is a supernatural movement of the will toward goodness. Human beings have no natural inclination for faith; we naturally belief through logic and rationalism. Because of God's grace, however, an individual comes to believe through faith.

Rationalism is a natural belief. A rationalist willfully approaches his or her belief mentally or intellectually. This mental process often becomes the object of the belief. I would argue that few rationalist faithfully believe that humanity involved from an ape-like ancestor. Most rationalist logically believe in the THEORY of natural selcetion, which explains the scientific and visible similarities between humans and apes.

Faith is a supernatural belief. There is no mental process for approaching the belief. We simply believe because the belief is infused in or graced upon our souls. The faithful do not believe in words, in symbols, or in creeds; the faithful believe in the realities expressed by those words, symbols, and creed. We approach unseen realities, things hoped for, via faith. Faith is not a begging hand (a human or natural effort); faith is the extended hands of the Father filled with treasurers (a divine and supernatural gift). Faith is not an immobile vehicle. Faith teleports us to a different realm. Faith is a movement. We approach our GOD-GIVEN HOPES AND DESIRES. Hope is the desire for the kingdom of heaven, for the promises of Christ. Through faith, God places in our hearts belief in unseen realities, and then God gives us the desire to pursue these unseen realities through hope. We pursue these unrealities in love, love of God (the source of our faith and hope) through love of others.

Now, God does not act alone. Grace is a push to our will. God wills that our will be His will, but he does not force it. Faith is dead without works. In order to be complete, a gift require the receiver to receive it WILLINGLY.

December 21, 2005 10:23 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Interesting arguments. I am not sure that there is not some volitional element of faith. I shall have to think about this.

God Bless

Matthew

December 22, 2005 12:43 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

This is my first time actually visiting your site. I have read many of your comments in many places.

"And as pertaining saving faith, it is taking God at His word concerning the offer of His Son, Jesus Christ, the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it."

I certainly agree with that.

I exercised some faith in the chair in which I am sitting. I sat in it.

Had I just philosophized about it, I might never have known that my faith had substance.

Is that MY passive faith, or is it a faith that requires action on my part?

Very thought provoking.

Have scanned a couple of your posts, and will delve into them more completely at a later time.

I do enjoy your approach.

December 22, 2005 12:56 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Antonio,

Do you believe that the will has any effect on faith? For instance, I know some folks that are so stubborn that they refuse to even give the arguments for Christianity a chance? So in some cases, the will can keep people from faith in Christ, right?

December 22, 2005 3:47 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

Hi Antonio,
Lots of thought went into this thing. I agree with the idea that we recieve the power to believe, to have faith, from God. Like everything else. That seems to be what we are being told all through out the new test. The "faith [of] Jesus Christ", mentioned many times, as opposed to [in], along with many other examples. I agree with you.
But I have a hard time reconciling these two statements of yours:

-Faith is not even something that you volitionally do-

and

-The will is involved in one point.-

I don't think those two statements can co-exist in the same explanation.

Using the word "taking"in the following statement also, to me, describes some sort of an act of will on the believers part in a actively volitional way.

-And as pertaining saving faith, it is taking God at His word-

The idea that we cannot even have faith without God doing it for us is something that scripture makes clear to me. But it's in a fashion which I fail to be able to articulate. Moreover, the articulating I have the most faith in is the exact wording of scripture which tell me these things, and I have to admit that I cannot go right to any of those places without some searching. So I am going to thank you for arousing my interest in your topic and causing me to do just that searching. I think that you are on the right track and thanks for being receptive to comment. Yours truly in Christ-Todd

December 22, 2005 4:37 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Faith is an act of will. God's will and not mans. Faith is born in man by the power of God only so then it is not of him that runneth or willeth but of God who shows mercy awakening that man to faith. So then faith is indeed the willful action of the new Adam who is a life giving spirit. I Cor 15:45. It is impossible for the old Adam to have faith or even will himself to have faith until God puts him to death on the cross. Then and only then does faith come alive as an act of God only. Lazarus could not breath until God raised him from the dead. That breath comes from God and as the heart beats as a result of faith so it is that faith exists as a gift from God.

God is a God of volition so it is impossible for faith to not be in the will, only it is the will of God in the new Adam and not the will of man in the old Adam who God put to death.

If one is trying to stir up faith in the Old Adam then ones attempts will have no profit.

You will only come to true faith if you seek first the Kingdom of God. It is then you will discover that it was He seeking you in reality. Jeremiah 20:10-14

December 22, 2005 4:46 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

I meant Jeremiah 29:10-14.

Keep on my brother you have it right on the Majority Texts so I am convinced you are a seeker of truth:-)

December 22, 2005 4:54 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Byron, thank you for visiting my blog, but I just don't follow you.

I will respond to a few:

You said:
----------
I think you bicycle/car and begger's hand analogies do not adequately express the GIFT of faith.
----------
You haven't demonstrated or supported any of this with Scripture.

You write:
----------
Human beings have no natural inclination for faith; we naturally belief through logic and rationalism. Because of God's grace, however, an individual comes to believe through faith.
----------
Faith and believe are the same cognate words. Faith is the noun and believe is the verb, they both have the same Greek cognate words in the New Testament. They are not different concepts.

I really don't see any use responding to anything else.

Antonio

December 22, 2005 6:05 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Joe,

You have visited my blog. I have at least 1 comment from you! hehe!

You write:
----------
I exercised some faith in the chair in which I am sitting. I sat in it.
----------
I contend that if you have to sit in the chair, then that is not faith but empirical sight.

Faith is believing that the chair can hold you up no matter if you sit in it or not. Faith remains certain that the chair can hold you up before you sit in it, and even if you NEVER sit in it.

You write:
----------
Had I just philosophized about it, I might never have known that my faith had substance.
----------
Faith IS substance. Faith is substance of things not seen. It is conviction, assurance; it is firm persuasion.

I don't quite get what you mean by "philosphized about it". In the matter of faith there is either being convinced or doubting. If you are convinced you believe as a passive result.

you write:
----------
Is that MY passive faith, or is it a faith that requires action on my part?
----------
Faith does not require action. Faith is believing in the Name of Jesus for eternal life. Christ did the "actions", we just take Him at His word.

Contrarily, no action necessarily requires faith. Someone could will to to just about anything imaginable without faith.

Thank you for visiting again. Drop a line any time.

Antonio

December 22, 2005 6:13 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Daniel,

You are absolutely right.

If one does not give the word of God and gospel communication a fair hearing, he has precluded faith by his will.

Thanks again for dropping by!

Antonio

December 22, 2005 6:14 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi Todd, thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog.

You write:
----------
Lots of thought went into this thing. I agree with the idea that we recieve the power to believe, to have faith, from God.
----------
I don't think this is what i said. Although there is a sense I agree with this, if I were to say that the power to believe comes from God, it wouldn't mean an irresistible gift. I would say that the power to believe comes from God creating in us the constitutional ability to exercise faith.

You write:
----------
The "faith [of] Jesus Christ", mentioned many times, as opposed to [in], along with many other examples.
----------
You may need to expound this more and give the biblical examples, for if you are saying what I think you are saying, I would disagree.

you write:
----------
-Faith is not even something that you volitionally do-

and

-The will is involved in one point.-

I don't think those two statements can co-exist in the same explanation.
----------
I agree that this is a bit unclear. Let me clear it up for you.

The will is not involved in the "production" of faith. What I mean is that faith cannot be willed. Even if one is open to the evidence, the evidence could fail to convince him of the veracity of the issue.

One must be open to the discourse and even possibly deliberate in the mind. But the moment that he becomes convinced concerning the issue, faith occurs as a passive result.

There is no sense in which faith can be "willed". The will is involved in the listening and deliberating of communication and evidence. But faith cannot be willed. Unless one is convinced, persuaded, he cannot have faith. And once he is convinced, persuaded, faith occurs simultaneously with that as a passive result of being convinced.

I hope that you get the gist. I can say that "faith is not something that you volitionally do", because you can't will faith. This is a true statement.

The will is involved in the consideration of communication and/or evidence. You must will to listen. But like I said. No matter how much you desire or want to believe something, unless you are convinced of it, faith is precluded.

The issue is faith being an act of the will or not. My view is that faith cannot be willed.

You write:
----------
Using the word "taking" in the following statement also, to me, describes some sort of an act of will on the believers part in a actively volitional way.

-And as pertaining saving faith, it is taking God at His word-
----------
This is just the figurative way that I chose to employ the concept of this abstract noun/verb (faith/believe).

It is hard to get around using active terminology, especially when it is so engrained in our language and idiom, even with the words believe/faith.

It may have been better to say "it is receiving God's Word as truth". Here I employed a passive verb.

Todd,

I like your style, your thinking, and your challenge to me to be more specific in articulation and not be sloppy or ambiguous.

You write:
----------
The idea that we cannot even have faith without God doing it for us is something that scripture makes clear to me.
----------
It is not clear to me there. I see faith as the constitutional ability of every human, for he was created in God's image. We exercise faith in many things in our dealings with life. This shows that we have the constitutional ability to believe.

Furthermore, Jesus draws all men, the Spirit convicts the world, and the Word of God is powerful unto persuasion.

Thank you for visiting my blog. You were a joy to read.

I hope you get some good study in! :)

Antonio

December 22, 2005 6:35 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Bhedr,

thank you for coming and visiting my humble blog.

you write:
---------
Lazarus could not breath until God raised him from the dead. That breath comes from God and as the heart beats as a result of faith so it is that faith exists as a gift from God.
----------
I don't buy this comparison. The analagy just has too many flaws, and too little correspondence.

If you want to use the dead analogy, just remember, a dead person can't breath, but he can't sin either.

You write:
----------
God is a God of volition so it is impossible for faith to not be in the will
----------
Your conclusion isn't necesstated by your premise.

Antonio

December 22, 2005 6:41 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Matthew,

well, let me know the result of your cogitations when you come to any conclusions. :)

Your friend,

Antonio

December 22, 2005 6:43 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Comment from Antonio on TULIP … Unconditional Election, part 2
Rose says:
----------
Faith is jumping off the diving board into the water
----------
I have a real problem with this illustration. Faith is not like jumping off a diving board, or sitting on a chair, or crossing a bridge. Faith is assurance, faith is conviction, faith is taking God at His word.

Saving Faith is the passive result of being convinced about the gospel. When you are persuaded by the testimony of Scripture, in conjunctoin with the conviction of the Holy Spirit, in line with the drawing of Christ, you believe as a passive result.

Comment to Antonio from Rose on same post
Antonio,
Can you give me a better illustration? Really. I have been looking for one.


Antonio,
Thank you for finally answering this question. You have given me a lot to think about. I must come to some understanding of what faith is and where it originates because I think that will once and for all answer the TULIP debate and the regeneration preceding faith etc. etc.

December 22, 2005 7:26 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

Hello again Antonio,
The reason for my vague comments before, agreeing on the one hand and then not on the other hand about those points I cited comes down to this. It is a very difficult concept that we're asked to grasp the truth of "we need to believe but then when we do it is not even our doing". I attempt to understand it like this:
Abraham recieved credit for his faith. It was something that God had given him that Abraham had the power to exercise of not to exercise. Faith was credited to Abraham and it made him righteous in God's eyes.

In Rom. 4:24 scripture says, it(meaning Abraham's righteousness) will be credited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus from the dead. Doesn't that mean belief(faith) will result in credit(credited to us as righteousness or salvation) to those who do it?

Paul talks about growing strong in faith. This describes faith to me in a unique way as well. Something I can influence in myself possibly.

I also think of the Talents Parable. The talents came from the Lord yet were completely at the mercy of the "will" of the one who the talents were given to.

So this issue of faith not being our own and how it is not has driven me nuts at times trying to make sense out of. It seems like it has been over thought quite abit. I would also have to add that the exact nature of how the Lord does this is, in my opinion, is beyond our comprehension.

So I differ with you somewhat on the details of the interplay between our will and our faith which we recieve from God. But not on the general truth which is that it is not inherent in our own selves but comes from Him. It will no doubt continue to be an interesting discussion.

Thanks, Todd

December 22, 2005 7:56 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

- Who do you say that I am?

-Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!

-Blessed are you Simon for flesh and blood (clap clap)have not revealed this unto you but *My Father*....

December 22, 2005 10:26 PM  
Blogger Byron said...

I'm sorry you did not understand me. I hope this helps. I am quoting from the New Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha: An Ecumenical Study Bible. New York: Oxford UP, 2001.

Thank you for your definition of "faith" and "belief" and "believe." In my discipline, the English/Legal discipline, similar words never carry the exact same meanings. As symbols, words denote and connote different meaning. Your knowledge of the Greek definition of the words is more extensive than mine, so I will abstain from judgment. I will say that I THINK "faith" (a noun) conveys a different meaning than "believe" or "believing" (verbs). As a noun, "faith" expresses a state of being, while the verb "believe," which may function as a transitive or intransitive verb, requiring or not requiring an object, signifies an action. I distinguish between the two because I believe that faith is a state of mind, while believing is a mental process. This my connotation, however. I would love to hear more about the Greek eytomology of the words. In order to clarify my statement, I should substitute the word "believe" for "understand." Now let me explain myself.

Because of the power of sin, human beings do not have a natural inclination for faith. We do not possess a innate belief or conviction about the mysteries of God: "What then? Are we [the Jews] any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Gentiles, are under the power of sin, as it is written: 'There is no one who is righteous, not even one; there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one.' . . . 'There is no fear of God before their eyes.'" (Roman 3.9-13, 18)

Faith is a supernatural virtue; faith is a gift from God. In his first letter to the Church at Corinth, Saint Paul states that "faith" is one of the many gift bestowed on us by the Holy Spirit: "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by the one and the same Spirit, who allot to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses" (I Corinthians 12.4-11).

Faith seeks understand; faith colors our black-and-white (in my opinion, our rational) understanding about the world. By faith we understand the mystery of the unseen realities: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible." (Hebrew 11:1-3)

The majority of Saint Paul's letter to the Church in Rome deals with the issue of circumcision. In his letter, Saint Paul insists that Christian are not justified by strict observance of the law (circumcision), but by the free gift of faith: "For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do you then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law" (Roman 3.31).

Saint Paul uses the Patriarch Abraham as an example of justification by the free gift of faith and not by strict religious observance: "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something something due. But to one who without works trust him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. . . . We say, "Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness." How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. . . . For this reason it [the promise of Abraham] depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, no only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is father of us all, as it is written, " I have made you the father of many nations)--in the presence of God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become "the father of many nations," according to what was said, "So numerous shall your descendant be." He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith "was reckoned to him as righteousness." (Romans 4.2-5, 9-11, 16-22) Saint Paul's letter to the Roman is essentially defining faith.

Enough about Paul. I only mention him because Saint James uses Saint Paul's concept of grace and faith in his letter to the Jewish Christian in the Diaspora. Saint James' letter is mostly about "true" religion. As you know, we must have that true religion: "If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongue but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (James 1:26). I call this the thesis statement of the letter.

Saint James' definition of religion is very much in sync with Jewish prophets, especially Amos and Micah. The Prophet Amos said, "I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delights in your solemn assemblies. . . . Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice role down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream"(Amos 5.21, 23-24). The Prophet Micah said, "The women of my people you drive out from their pleasant houses; from their young children you take away my glory forever . . .What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 2.9; 6.8).

Saint James is essentially saying that because God has graced us with faith we are called to express that faith through good works of love. Our redemption is a cooperative work. God has and will supplied the faith, the hope (or desire), and the love required for use to do the work; nevertheless, we must willingly commit to the cooperative work of redemption: "Strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. . . . And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love" (2 Corinthians 12.31, 13.13). Saint James wants his Christian brothers and sisters to seek the greater gifts: "My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, 'Have a seat here, please,' while to the one who is poor you say, 'Stand there,' or, 'Sit at my feet,' have you not made distinction among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts. What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,' and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, 'You have faith and I have works.' Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you may faith. You believe God is one, you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder."

Faith comes from God. As I said earlier, its bestowed on us, infused into our soul when we accept it. Like Pharaoh, we can harden our hearts and not allow the God's grace to penetrate it. Even demons believe in God, but their faith is completely dead because they will not willingly cooperate with God's grace.

This is a very long comment. You mentioned that I did not quote any scripture (I wanted to be brief). In my opinion, Saint James' letter defines religion, and not faith. I believe he agrees with Saint Paul that faith is gift from God that we must willingly accept. Since the Saint James' letter is addressed to the Jews in the Diaspora, I think he is connecting the ancient prophetic definition of religion with the new Christian definition of faith. Since your article was about faith, I did not say anything about defining religion in my previous comment, but I might have implied it (which might explain your confusion).
If you still don't see my point, then don't worry about it. I think your analysis was excellent, and I only commented because YOU GAVE ME SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. As Christians, we're called to help each other along the journey. I hope my comments have been helpful. Your blog has certainly made me reflect on my faith. May the Peace of God be with you alway.

Yours,

Byron

December 23, 2005 12:09 AM  
Blogger Byron said...

I so sorry. I forgot to make my most important statement. The title of the blog is "Faith is the Passive Result of Being Persuaded." I don't believe faith is passive; it's active and cooperative.

God bless,

Byron

December 23, 2005 12:11 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

For those of you interested,

Rose over at Rose's Reasonings hosted a blogspotter to this post where interesting discussion is underway. Please click on the following link to catch the comments being made there, as they are important and germaine to this thread:

Rose's Reasonings Comment about This Blog thread

Antonio

December 23, 2005 12:35 AM  
Blogger Rufus the Great said...

antonio,
I see that you love knowledge and wisdom. So do I. You may gain tremendous understanding from my blog, if you are truly open-minded. And we answered the same random question on our profiles. That gave me goose bumps.

December 23, 2005 8:31 AM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

Please check out the Gordon Clark's very helpful book, Faith & Saving Faith. (If it loads too slowly try going to the home page at trinitylectures.org.) He argues that all the understanding of faith as a heart-centerd virtue is vapor and has no biblical or even philosophical foundation.

FASF is now published with Clark's book on John's idea of Logos. His (Reformed!) publisher writes:

Both books deal with the crucial issue of justification by faith alone in a new fashion: by deriving a definition of faith (belief) from the Greek New Testament rather than from Latin theologians. It is both ironic and telling that most Protestants, when asked to define the word "faith," sound like they are exegeting the Vulgate. No one before Dr. Clark has examined, collated, and systematized the wealth of Scriptural material relevant to the definition of faith. The result is a refreshing and exhilarating defense of the doctrine of justification through belief alone.

Lord bless you as you sort this crucial point.

Warmly,
Jodie

December 23, 2005 8:55 AM  

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