True faith versus false faiths

The following is a summary of the second plenary session of National Reformed Evangelical Convention in Kinasih, 27-30 Dec 2005. The speaker for the session was Paul Hidayat. The session was delivered in Indonesian. Any deviation in translation and summarizing is the sole responsibility of me. Comments are most welcome.

Faith is very important. Habakkuk, in the midst of a serious struggle of his faith, exclaims that the righteous shall live by faith. Faith is not only foundational, but also central and vital.

What is true faith?
We need to see the connection and distinction between the subject and the object of faith. True faith contains security, because one who has faith entrusts himself to Him who provides security. We have faith because we believe in His Word, His Truth. Faith is a tool that connects us with the Source of security, that is God Himself. There are the objectivity and the subjectivity of faith. True faith is a faith built on God who is absolute, righteous, faithful and the truth of His promises. Therefore there is the objectivity which does not rely on emotions and human subjectivity. The measure of faith is not in itself but in the object of faith, that is the absolute God. But there is also the subjectivity of faith. That is why we talk about the birth and growth of faith. Because we have fallen we do not have the ability to have faith; this comes only as God’s gift.

The following are some false faiths:

  1. fanaticism. It is a reckless zeal for Christian faith without cognition and abandonment to Christ.
  2. formalism. Formally Christian, but does not really believe in Christ’s teachings. One who succumbs to formalism has lost his spiritual fervor.
  3. legalism. A false dogmatism. One needs to pursue and fully understand the doctrines in order to be saved.
  4. enthusiasm. Mixing of Eastern spirituality.
  5. pacifism. Spirituality-covered-up-indolence. Emphasizes on the empowering from God.

True faith has to be Trinitarian.

  1. It is a faith that comes from the Father, a faith that relies on God’s revelation.
  2. It is a faith that is Christological. He is the King, the Priest, and the Prophet.
  3. It is a faith that is Spiritual. It is based on the work of the Spirit leading towards the right direction. It has to be communal, growing in the spirit of fellowship in love and truth.

True faith is a wonderful experience–little portraits in our lives. We know Him from Elohim to the God who resurrects. Let this be a warning to us who have irresponsible faiths–faiths that offer false hopes.


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