Fideism versus Real Faith


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While I am trying to figure out what I am going to do with this blog and site, I figured I would use it to share some thoughts, as an evangelist and apologist. Please be sure to check out The Real Issue Apologetics Ministry. But while you are here, I would like to share some of the things that have been buzzing around on my heart.  One of those is the whole idea of what biblical faith is all about.

You see many in the church embrace a type faith that is positioned in a choice not factor in evidence to their faith. This is known as fideism.  This type of faith is unscriptural, irrational, and a losing position in a conversation with someone seeking to know why you are a Christian.[1]  

Some of my blog fodder comes from things that I observe, but this posting comes from a few thoughts which I jotted down from Hebrews 11:1. Many of us are familiar with the passage,  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, NKJV)

Now I know that I have probably written on this subject before on The Real Issue blog and possibly here, but coming from my devotional time this morning, here are some things that I would like to mention from the highlighted words in the verse.

Hebrews 11:1 is a not a definition or a description of blind faith. Like I said if we look at the words “substance,” “hoped,” and “evidence,” we are going to find that this verse gives strong support for a robust kind of faith that the church is lacking today. 

The word “substance” is synonymous with words which reinforce a strong faith and not a blind faith. If you look at other translations, the word used elsewhere for “substance” are words like “confidence,” “assurance,” and “realization.”  We need to understand that we can have a confident faith.  A confident faith is one that has come to the realizations about the factual nature for our faith. By the way, this is where “internal apologetics” comes as a means for reinforcing and instilling a confident faith.  Before we get to the word “evidence,” we need to discuss this word “hope.”

The hope that the early believers had was not a blind hope.  A blind hope is something like playing a scratch off lottery ticket. The person playing the ticket cannot see the winning numbers, so they blindly scratch away hoping to find the winning numbers, if they are present on the ticket.  The church was less than a generation removed from the resurrection and the hope of the resurrection was fresh.

Let us not forget or overlook that this letter was written early (somewhere around AD 70).  The reason why this is important is because the original Apostles were still alive (most of them) and they were writing. You also have the vehicle of oral tradition to carry the correct message of the gospel and the testimonies of the events of Jesus’ death, and resurrection.  They did not get it confused, like “the telephone game.”

So this kind of hope is far from a blind hope, and one reason is that the message that Jesus had risen was fresh on their minds and their mouths, sharing the good news. 

When we speak of evidence that which was unseen was immediately recent. As I just mentioned, the resurrection was fresh on the hearts and minds of the believers reading this letter by an eyewitness (who that was we can discuss over some good coffee). 

But well-meaning believers do not like evidence because they are afraid that it might taint their love for God and their walk with Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth.  I always like to say, the more you know about God, the more you love Him and are willing to live for Him.  

Evidence builds a factual faith.  Evidence reinforces what we do not see and place our trust in (faith). That reinforcement brings forth a confident faith, and when you run into a conversation with someone who is skeptical toward your faith in Christ, that confidence may speak volumes to that person despite what comes out of our mouths. That is how God’s Holy Spirit works some of the times.

Note

[1] While I know that many reading this might appeal to Hebrews 11:6, which says, “But without faith it is impossible to please God,” I believe that the kind of faith I will be describing in this posting will be that which pleases God and not a blind, or lame faith (fideism).

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