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shoyt

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Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« on: July 30, 2020, 01:41:12 pm »
A passing thought on faith, which in my mind is the Christian layperson's most abused and misunderstood notion in the ocean of things a person could get wrong theologically.

Maybe I'm wrong too, but nonetheless, I haven't relied on my own opinion to arrive at this summary:

Hebrews 11:1-3 isn't epistemic commentary but a comment about commitments. That is, "things hoped for" has a relationship to the word "faith" in the passage. Whatever one hopes for and whenever one hopes, faith is the evidence (of one hoping for that thing hoped for).

Simply, if I hope it will rain, I don't believe it on faith that it will rain. If I hope it will rain, I will have faith it will rain. The entire notion of faith in scripture centers around practice rather than belief, even in Pauline literature which has the most frequent use of "pistis". For instance, we were saved by the "pistis" of Christ ... i.e. faithfulness, committedness (Galatians 2:16).

This distinction between faith as commitment and faith as belief plays out in the tension between James and Paul. It wasn't just the specific statement that faith entails commitments to act but that James wanted to impart to Paul that acting is what matters full stop. James wasn't commenting on belief versus action but instead was highlighting the key issue between he and Paul. That is, having faith entails acting and acting in a certain way, so, Paul shouldn't suggest Christians could depart from the rites and traditions of Judaism as most of his letters show him continually to be doing.

When I hope it will rain, I don't just have a certain desire for rain but I arrange my life in such a way that makes me ready for when it does. This "doing something to be ready for" is what I take faith to be in scripture and I think Protestant Christianity, particularly modern day Western Evangelicalism has utterly bastardized its use in trying to suggest that faith is some sort of justification to believe one thing or another.

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Lucian

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2020, 01:57:05 pm »
A passing thought on faith, which in my mind is the Christian layperson's most abused and misunderstood notion in the ocean of things a person could get wrong theologically.

Maybe I'm wrong too, but nonetheless, I haven't relied on my own opinion to arrive at this summary:

Hebrews 11:1-3 isn't epistemic commentary but a comment about commitments. That is, "things hoped for" has a relationship to the word "faith" in the passage. Whatever one hopes for and whenever one hopes, faith is the evidence (of one hoping for that thing hoped for).

What exactly do you take ὑπόστασις and ἔλεγχος to mean here?

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shoyt

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2020, 11:04:25 pm »

What exactly do you take ὑπόστασις and ἔλεγχος to mean here?

Basis and that against which something is tested.

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Aaron Massey

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2020, 09:37:58 am »
"things hoped for that are not seen" Is how it ought be read...  Hoping for something that has "been seen" is not Faith, but belief.

Hoping for things not ever seen is faith... for the layman.. of course..
Proverbs 8:30 "then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man."

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Lucian

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2020, 09:49:01 am »

What exactly do you take ὑπόστασις and ἔλεγχος to mean here?

Basis and that against which something is tested.

So your proposed translation of Hebrews 11:1, plugging your translations into the NASB's effort, would be:

Now faith is the basis of things hoped for, the thing against which things not seen are tested.

Is that right?

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shoyt

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2020, 04:01:10 pm »
Yes ... faith as committed action, not belief.

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Ethos

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2020, 05:53:08 am »
A passing thought on faith, which in my mind is the Christian layperson's most abused and misunderstood notion in the ocean of things a person could get wrong theologically.

Maybe I'm wrong too, but nonetheless, I haven't relied on my own opinion to arrive at this summary:

Hebrews 11:1-3 isn't epistemic commentary but a comment about commitments. That is, "things hoped for" has a relationship to the word "faith" in the passage. Whatever one hopes for and whenever one hopes, faith is the evidence (of one hoping for that thing hoped for).

Simply, if I hope it will rain, I don't believe it on faith that it will rain. If I hope it will rain, I will have faith it will rain. The entire notion of faith in scripture centers around practice rather than belief, even in Pauline literature which has the most frequent use of "pistis". For instance, we were saved by the "pistis" of Christ ... i.e. faithfulness, committedness (Galatians 2:16).

This distinction between faith as commitment and faith as belief plays out in the tension between James and Paul. It wasn't just the specific statement that faith entails commitments to act but that James wanted to impart to Paul that acting is what matters full stop. James wasn't commenting on belief versus action but instead was highlighting the key issue between he and Paul. That is, having faith entails acting and acting in a certain way, so, Paul shouldn't suggest Christians could depart from the rites and traditions of Judaism as most of his letters show him continually to be doing.

When I hope it will rain, I don't just have a certain desire for rain but I arrange my life in such a way that makes me ready for when it does. This "doing something to be ready for" is what I take faith to be in scripture and I think Protestant Christianity, particularly modern day Western Evangelicalism has utterly bastardized its use in trying to suggest that faith is some sort of justification to believe one thing or another.

That's why Acts describes the Apostle Paul as preaching the good news about Jesus to people and telling them emphatically that what they must now do in response to this is stop sinning, because Jesus is coming back to judge the world. I think you have it right.

I think a lot of Protestants (I am a Protestant) would accuse Peter, Paul, James, and Jesus himself of preaching a gospel of salvation by works if they had the chance to speak to them. But faith looks like something. Namely, it looks like "doing something to be ready for" [the return of Christ, who "will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead"].
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kravarnik

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2020, 01:36:57 pm »
I've found that with most Protestants that I've spoken to, the matter of Salvation does come to works. And I only see a semantic difference, rather than ontological, when you press them. The usual question is "If it is by faith alone, and faith is some internal spiritual process intertwined with the will of man, then does it mean you can sit all day and all life on your couch and get "saved" by having this "faith"?". Of course, then they say that you'd have to DO something, for you cannot just sit around and get saved, while having the means to do the works.


So, it eventually comes to DOING something externally, to affect the outer world and not just having some internal process going on. But that's the exact position of traditionalists. Faith is BY faith THROUGH works. That is, by faith that produces fruit in accordance to God's will. Thus, usually I find it that most Protestants I've spoken with simply include "works" to be in their definition of "living faith", whilst the traditional position maintains a distinction, but still faith is primary. And it's more of a semantic difference, rather than ontological one when it comes down to crucial questions such as:

- if one has the means to do a good work, but does not do any good works persistently, then does the "faith" save him?
- what do we make of all the warnings in the Scriptures about being "on the watch" for Christ's return? A warning to His very followers - that is, people that have faith already, - so there must be something additional, that would render us able to stand in His presence without shame: we understand that as works

"And even if you crush my body and drain it 'til the last drop - you can never touch my spirit, you can never touch my soul. No matter how bleak or how hopeless, no matter how hard or how far - you can never break my conation. Tear the will apart from desire." Insomnium - Weather the storm

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kravarnik

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2020, 01:44:02 pm »
I just don't understand why Protestants feel the need to deviate from what has been Scripturally revealed: that faith alone is not enough. That's even the only mentioning of "faith alone/sola fide" in the Bible: in James "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." This is the only place in the Bible where "faith alone" is used.

And it's not only the Scriptural case, but the common sense case that can be made against "sola fide". In every other aspect of life we understand that "works" reflect the internal state of man. A skillful master would produce skillful pieces of art. If someone came to you and said they are a master at X, but then you ask them to demonstrate their mastery, but are unable or unwilling to do so, then you conclude they do not have the "skill".

If you claim to love someone, then your works also reflect that. In that, if one would claim to love a woman, but all his acts harm her, or neglect her completely in their provision, then wouldn't we conclude that such man does not really love said woman? Wouldn't there be some expectation of works that reflect said internal disposition?


And if a parent claims to love their child, but starve them to death, because they are unwilling to give them food, would we not consider that this parent did not really love their child?


It is that in all cases, by common sense, we know that the external works we do reflect the internal disposition and state we have - a coward acts in a cowardly way; a murderer acts in a murderous way; a deceiver acts in fraudulent way; a betrayer betrays and so on, - but Protestants make some incomprehensible move to say that "faith" - an internal disposition in man, - somehow does not necessarily have to be externalized through one's deeds.
"And even if you crush my body and drain it 'til the last drop - you can never touch my spirit, you can never touch my soul. No matter how bleak or how hopeless, no matter how hard or how far - you can never break my conation. Tear the will apart from desire." Insomnium - Weather the storm

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shoyt

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2020, 09:48:36 pm »
It's certainly a Protestantism to think of salvation in terms of an exchange of one sort or another.

I never understood the mantra that there's nothing you can do to earn your salvation, you must believe to be saved.

Translated, there is something you can do to earn your salvation, believe.

In any case, we can't choose to believe anything and after all, belief is no more than a commitment to act.

It just wreaks of unthoughtfulness.

Thanks for your thoughts however!
« Last Edit: August 12, 2020, 09:51:15 pm by shoyt »

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Lucian

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2020, 06:42:13 am »
Yes ... faith as committed action, not belief.

Okay. Where else does ἔλεγχος take this sense?

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shoyt

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2020, 10:52:08 pm »
Yes ... faith as committed action, not belief.

Okay. Where else does ἔλεγχος take this sense?

As I began by saying ... it is a commitment to act and through acting, through experience, which is the basis, the testing ground of the commitment of faith, that we discover what we've been hoping for.

I'm not sure how this is hard to follow or that this exegesis is off base somehow.

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Lucian

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2020, 02:39:19 pm »
Yes ... faith as committed action, not belief.

Okay. Where else does ἔλεγχος take this sense?

As I began by saying ... it is a commitment to act and through acting, through experience, which is the basis, the testing ground of the commitment of faith, that we discover what we've been hoping for.

I'm not sure how this is hard to follow or that this exegesis is off base somehow.

There's no answer to my question here. If you don't know, you can say so.

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Ethos

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2020, 01:47:20 am »
It's certainly a Protestantism to think of salvation in terms of an exchange of one sort or another.

I never understood the mantra that there's nothing you can do to earn your salvation, you must believe to be saved.

Translated, there is something you can do to earn your salvation, believe.

In any case, we can't choose to believe anything and after all, belief is no more than a commitment to act.

It just wreaks of unthoughtfulness.

Thanks for your thoughts however!

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shoyt

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Re: Faith As Committed Action, Not Belief
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2020, 06:56:33 am »

There's no answer to my question here. If you don't know, you can say so.

I have answered you, and, don't be a dick.