Everlasting Kingdom: Unraveling the Bible’s Secrets

What is Faith?

A Terminology Exposé About Faith

Before I direct you to the link: “What is Faith”? I would like to make some comments. I have an entirely different “worldview” on the Bible than does Dr. Marcus Borg, [Hundere Professor of Religion and Culture]. From taking a quick look at the home page of this link, we would probably agree on very little. Still, as is often the case, on this one particular point I would definitely endorse reading his monolog on “faith”, as it is explained here; I wouldn’t change much from, “What is Faith”? However I do believe that a vital dimension is missing. “Faith” really should be rendered as “faithfulness” or “fidelity”, much of the time! (Those are the key words that led me to this page.) These are two of the dimensions of faith. The dimension missing here is the faith of a mustard seed. Certainly every Nazarene, (a term I prefer over “Christian”) has a miniscule degree of faithfulness and fidelity, but that is not miracle producing faith.

Matthew 7:19-20Every tree [person] that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So you’ll know them by their fruit.

Here are a couple of excerpts; hopefully they will add some dimensions to your faith:

“... But with the enlightenment of the 17th Century—the birth of modern science and scientific ways of knowing—suddenly the central claims of the Christian tradition no longer looked like bedrock truth to many people. They became questionable, and so faith as giving your mental assent to the creed, to the Bible, to Christian doctrine and so forth, became the primary meaning, at least amongst Protestants, of what faith meant. Faith increasingly came to mean believing iffy stuff to be true. Believing stuff that on other grounds you would probably reject, or at least put into a suspense account. Faith meant believing problematic statements to be true. Now, that is a very odd notion of faith when you think about it, as if what God most wants from us is believing iffy stuff to be true.

“The pre-modern meaning of the word “believe.” I’ve already mentioned that for many modern people it means believing something to be true, though there are reasons to think otherwise. If you go back to the English language before the Enlightenment, Shakespeare and before, the word “believe" invariably means “love.” You see this in the Middle English word believen. That is where you get the modern English word “believe.” Believen means to belove, so that ultimately, what you believe really means what you belove”.

As far as applying faith in our lives goes, we would definitely be on different pages:

James 2:22-24You see that faith enabled his works, and as a result of works, his faith was perfected. 23 The Scripture was fulfilled that said, “Abraham believed in Yehovah [God], and this is why he was considered to be righteous.” He was even called YHVH’s Friend. 24 So you see that people are deemed to be righteous by works, and not by faith alone.

What is Faith?

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Minor update January 12, 2012