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6 years ago  ::  Feb 19, 2009 - 11:16AM #1
greenponder
Posts: 1,395
The term “faith” is used in many ways. I would like to know what you think. What is the definition of “faith”? What is “faith”? What are the properties of “faith”? What are the components of “faith”?
(I’m posting these questions to a few different discussion groups to get input from a variety of perspectives.)
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2009 - 10:46AM #2
calebevans218
Posts: 454
The definition given by Hebrews 11 has always worked for me.

In Christ,
Caleb
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2009 - 11:15PM #3
sterrettc
Posts: 89
Being an ordained officer of the church, I am to be guided by the confessions.  I am presenting here some quotes from the confessions to further the discussion.  I don't believe that these quotes necessarily constitute the difinitive answer that will end this discussion.  Rather, I hope this furthers the discussion.

Q. 21. What is true faith?
A. It is not only a certain knowledge by which I accept as true all that God has revealed to us in his Word, but also a wholehearted trust which the Holy Spirit creates in me through the gospel, that, not only to others, but to me also God has given the forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation, out of sheer grace solely for the sake of Christ’s saving work. (BOC 4.021)

WHAT IS FAITH? Christian faith is not an opinion or human conviction, but a most firm trust and a clear and steadfast assent of the mind, and then a most certain apprehension of the truth of God presented in the Scriptures and in the Apostles’ Creed, and thus also of God himself, the greatest good, and especially of God’s promise and of Christ who is the fulfilment of all promises. (BOC 5.112)  (There is some more in the following sections.)

Q. 72. What is justifying faith?
A. Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner, by the Spirit and the Word of God; whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assenteth to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and his righteousness therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation. (BOC 7.182)
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 23, 2009 - 12:26AM #4
smc93
Posts: 200

sterrettc wrote:

Being an ordained officer of the church, I am to be guided by the confessions.  I am presenting here some quotes from the confessions to further the discussion.  I don't believe that these quotes necessarily constitute the difinitive answer that will end this discussion.  Rather, I hope this furthers the discussion.

Q. 21. What is true faith?
A. It is not only a certain knowledge by which I accept as true all that God has revealed to us in his Word, but also a wholehearted trust which the Holy Spirit creates in me through the gospel, that, not only to others, but to me also God has given the forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation, out of sheer grace solely for the sake of Christ’s saving work. (BOC 4.021)

WHAT IS FAITH? Christian faith is not an opinion or human conviction, but a most firm trust and a clear and steadfast assent of the mind, and then a most certain apprehension of the truth of God presented in the Scriptures and in the Apostles’ Creed, and thus also of God himself, the greatest good, and especially of God’s promise and of Christ who is the fulfilment of all promises. (BOC 5.112)  (There is some more in the following sections.)

Q. 72. What is justifying faith?
A. Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner, by the Spirit and the Word of God; whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assenteth to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and his righteousness therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation. (BOC 7.182)


I can imagine why the Confession chose to use the adjective 'true' in Q. 21, but I have to confess detestation of such use.  The word 'true' is used like a weapon in the culture war being fought between fundamentalist and progressive Christians.

For me the simple, straight forward answer is:  Faith is trust in God.

Of course, that requires explication, but it seems to be to start at a better place.  And, of course, it's nice to have all that confessional stuff recorded somewhere.  But it seems to me that those of us who are ordained officers of the Church ought to be able to converse with people about such matters.  The Confessions aren't bad... they simply seem to hamper communication.  I definitely wouldn't point the questioning young person (or anyone else...) in the direction of the Confessions, not, at least, until after a couple of conversations.

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