Faith Belongs to the Church

When I have listened to sociologists and philosophers discuss the abiding effect of post-modernism on the common person in today’s culture, I am often perplexed that there is such a disregard of its power. It seems to me that in their haste to classify common folk as nonacademic, they have misunderstood the appeal of post-modernism to the masses.

I believe that they have made this miscalculation for one reason. The very people who make this judgment fail to grasp the extent of human depravity.

Why would an everyday person be drawn to a philosophy that deconstructs language, literature, and law?

Isn’t the definition of common sense logical truth that is common?

What would entice common people to accept a philosophy that tears down the meaning of the very documents they depend on for cultural distinction? (Constitution and Bible)

There is only one possible answer. People do not want to be held accountable. And if anything can be redefined to fit his or her particular desire or behavior, then no one has the right to say “you are wrong”.

Marriage becomes essentially love. Tolerance is the veritable equality of all ideas. Truth has been determined by the individual, not its relation to reality.

One other casualty of post-modernism is faith.

Faith is a term with Christian roots that has enjoyed a particular meaning for several hundred years. But it has been under attack for quite some time.

If you’ll take notice the next time you listen or take part in a discussion with a skeptic whether atheist or agnostic, a conversation in which faith becomes an issue, they will always relegate faith to a “blind leap”. “It is”, they will say, “a bridge between fact and fiction”, “belief without evidence”.

The problem with their deconstruction is that for 400 years the Church has understood faith to be something much different and for 2000 years the writer of Hebrews was the Biblical definer. Even during the Old Covenant faith was a trust in God based upon the evidence he provided in his trustworthiness.

Faith is no blind leap. It is a trust in the things that we know to be true.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, ESV)

Even though faith has come under a direct attack, one aimed at its very nature, it has also been exposed at its flank. There has been an effort not only to undermine the very meaning of the word faith, but there has also been a cohesive and cooperative effort to damage the understanding of the virtue of faith.

This effort has come in the reversal of our cultures epistemological trust, whereas the virtue of faith was once understood to be realized in greater degrees of certainty, virtue now lies in doubt rather than certainty and those who display great amounts of certainty are accused of being ignorant or closed minded.

Make no mistake; we cannot attribute this battle of the mind in all of its cohesiveness to a person or even a unified group of people. The obvious immensity and transcendence of this effort coupled with its metaphysical nature leads me to believe it is not flesh and blood, but spiritual powers that we struggle against.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV)

In my opinion, the Church has relinquished too much ground in this battle, most of it voluntarily.

It is also my opinion that this ground will not be retaken without first educating the Church about one of its greatest tenants. How can we ask God’s people to have faith when we have failed to help them understand what faith is?

We are called people of faith. Its time we came into our own and reclaim what is rightfully ours.

Faith belongs to the Church.

If I am asked, as a purely intellectual question, why I believe in Christianity, I can only answer, “For the same reason that an intelligent agnostic disbelieves in Christianity.” I believe in it quite rationally upon the evidence. But the evidence in my case, as in that of the intelligent agnostic, is not really in this or that alleged demonstration; it is in an enormous accumulation of small but unanimous facts.

  1. K. Chesterton[1]

 

[1] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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