Is faith mainly about believing facts, or is it primarily about a relationship of trust with “the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). Here’s where the rubber hits the Scriptural road, because over and over again when faith is used in Scripture it is not about intellectual assent. It is more often about trusting a real person, God, and the “messiness” that comes from relating to him personally.
Recently, I’ve had three conversations that all circle around one significant topic: Christianity as a mere intellectual exercise. In the first, a seminary student told me of a conversation with his son:
Dad - Faith - Teaching - Mum - Teaching
“Dad, I believe in the Christian faith. I have sat under your teaching and under mum’s teaching for years. I am still convinced that it is true. I also believe what the leaders of our church have taught. I believe in the Christian faith. The problem is, it just doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s all just ideas.”
In a second conversation, another student confided in me that he has felt dry ever since arriving at school. He came expecting to know of God better, but has felt more distant. In a third (more hopeful) talk, a friend called from England to tell of an epiphany he had, which followed a season of study-related dryness. He was struck by the contrast of knowing God and being known by God (1 Cor 8:3; Gal 4:9).
Insight - Friend - Bruce - Pearson - Man
I’ll return to the rich insight of my dear friend, Bruce Pearson, later. But first, I’d like to think about the young man who saw the Christian faith only as a system of beliefs.
How are we saved? Is it through believing a...
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