Re: Sola Fide (Faith Alone) Q & A, April/May p. 15.
Dr. Hesslein wrote that “in addition to being understood as a set of beliefs, faith can also be a relationship.” However theoretically correct, a crisis of practice ensues when we substitute faith as a set of beliefs, which is secondary and easy to do, for faith as a relationship, which is primary and demanding. When Jesus speaks of faith, the New Testament uses the Greek word pistis which translates as “trust.” Jesus regards faith, first and foremost, as a personal relationship of trust in and with God.
When we reduce faith to a set of beliefs, such as creedal statements about God or Jesus, then faith becomes a mere mental assent, which devolves into divisive church arguments about who is right and wrong. This is not faith, but another centuries-old demonic display of Christians fighting over the truth of our formulations, while unable to hear God in the pain and suffering of the world.
We, the churched, have always been stubborn to change. We’re smug, satisfied and saved. Because we’ve got the truth, we’re right. But Jesus never said: “You shall be right!” He did say “Have faith,” because faith is the catalyst for our personal change and global transformation. Belief says, “God will love me if I change.” Faith says, “God loves me so that I can change.”