Thursday, November 7, 2013

What is Faith? Part 24 of 31

TEXT: Hebrews 11

IDEA: Faith is often misunderstood as being much less than a dynamic trust in the living God.

PURPOSE: To help listeners identify false definitions of faith that can trip them up.

Christians can stumble over Hebrews 11 because they have some misconceptions of what faith is. George Guthrie examines some misconceptions about faith which can trip us up. He notes two that are often found in the broader non-Christian culture.

I. Some misunderstand faith as "a blind leap into the unknown."

Some Christians and those who are hostile to religion may think that faith is the antithesis of scientific endeavor.

They reason that a true scientist cannot be a person of faith because scientists are grounded in facts.

Even people in the broader culture who are sympathetic to religious belief often see faith as a warm-hearted step into the black cavernous hole of our hopes and dreams.

"You've just got to have faith" often means "you've got to act contrary to all that you know to be true and trust that things are going to work out the way you want them to."

II. Others understand faith as "a life of reflective devotion to any god one happens to follow."

The statement "She is a person of deep faith" is often applied equally to a follower of Buddha, Krishna, or Christ. Thus faith is synonymous with a generalized "spirituality."

In contrast to the Christian misconception of faith as equaling creed, this definition of faith suggests that a particular set of beliefs is unimportant. What matters is sincerity and maybe a commitment that transforms the person into a more purposeful, loving individual.


None of these approaches to faith does justice to the dynamic, challenging portrait of authentic Christian faith as we find it in Hebrews 11. This chapter, when we read it carefully, eclipses the false visions of faith, showing their inadequacy.