Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Complete Faith

I watched an attempt to gain more "heart" faith out of a congregation this last weekend. The assumption the pastor was making was a natural one, if flawed by the spirit of the age. The assent to a certain propositional truth is considered "head" faith and we have all witnessed both individuals and churches die in the swamp of "head" faith correctness. The spirit of the age suggests, with all of it postmodern subjectivism and its merely animal grasp of decision making, that for the heart to be engaged, the emotions regarding the truth claim need be engaged. "I believe in the Bible" becomes "YES! I KNOW (slight sob) That Jesus wrote the VERY words of LIFE! Glory!" (the latter preferably shouted). This is the St Valentines approach to the heart. In our society we consider the heart the seat of the emotions. In the Scriptures there is the sense of the center of a thing is its heart.

"Head" faith becomes "heart" faith when the truth claim made replaces the preexisting truth claims by which your life was run. In other words you look out your eyes with TRUTH A being held like Gravity is held in your next step. You don't think about it nor gauge its effectiveness. Your "head" faith must do more work than mere catechizing. It must discover and delete the earlier operating system.

Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.

If in your heart you are still Lord, (or your mother, or your church, or the Age, or your habits) don't try to replace absence of "heart" with a more stringent "head" faith. But more to our topic, don't try to solve "heart" absence by exuberant sermons or worship-fully played background strummings by the soul patch wearing worship team leader. This sort of faux-heart faith is having a few beers too many and being convinced by your church that you are SOOOOOO in love with Jesus that for a couple of days you will forget you are really married to someone else.

Some will say that I (as usual) am stressing the head aspect. They would be correct. It isn't that we think too much about the Faith but that we think too little. We only ask that superficial assent be made as far as statements of the orthodox faith. There are inside us "head" conclusions we persist affirming. There are outright, contrary to the Scriptures, pure American, family-valued other "faiths" that you really have in your "heart". Like gravity, you can't imagine them not being true. They have to go if you want Jesus to be Lord in your heart.

What the Church recommends: 1) Assent to Truth A and for the deeper walk, 2) get really emotional about it.
What I recommend: 1) Convinced of A, root out all of its competition for your guiding thoughts. 2) Feel good about it.

Emotion answers what is. Do not depend on it to cause what should be.

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