Faith is Not a Philosophy!

Recently, I had a conversation with a neighbor who claims to be a Christian. I told him about a friend who attends our church meetings who claims to be an unbeliever (not a Christian). Being curious, my neighbor began asking a series of questions about the things my friend believes. Using the Apostles’ Creed as a basis, he began asking if he believed the various statements contained in it. After completing his questions, he realized that my friend assents to every statement in the Apostles’ Creed. My neighbor stood there momentarily with a puzzled look on his face. He didn’t understand why my friend did not consider himself a Christian (since he assents to every statement in the Apostles’ Creed).

Below is the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

A person can assent to the statements in this creed and still end up in hell. How is this possible? Inherent in the gospel, is a demanded response to it. In other words, part of the gospel is a command to repent and believe it. Any so-called gospel that does not include this demand is a false gospel.


True faith (evidenced by works) is required by the New Testament Gospel

Many people who claim to be Christian do not have a biblical view of what it means to believe the gospel. To many, faith seems to be not much more than a philosophy. If a person assents to a set of sound biblical statements, he is assumed to be a Christian.

From late 2001 to about 2006, I evangelized door to door weekly in a mainly Caucasian neighborhood. I spoke face to face with over one thousand people and kept records. About 70% of these people claimed to be “born again, Bible-believing Christians.” But based upon the conversations I had with them, only about 5% of those who claimed this were living according to its teachings. The rest had no interest in reading the Bible, living for Jesus, being a part of a church, etc. They seemed content to live autonomous lives, seeking pleasure their own way.  In spite of this, they considered themselves Christian because at some point in their lives, they “made a commitment” to Jesus, prayed a “sinner’s prayer,” were baptized, or some such thing. They did not seem at all concerned about the coming judgment. They don’t realize that according to the New Testament, they appear to be headed for hell (based upon their current way of living). They do not appear to possess saving faith as the New Testament describes it.

We must all take heed. Saving faith always results in a Christ-like life. The true believer loves Jesus and shows it by his obedience to Him. When Jesus lives inside a person, characteristics such as humility, caring love for others, purity and righteousness abound and continue to increase throughout his lifetime. For more specifics, see my article Salvation is Conditional.

2 Responsesto “Faith is Not a Philosophy!”

  1. Tim Parker says:

    Great article! I encourage you to use the word epistemology rather than philosophy because, at root, Christianity is a Christ-Reflecting philosophy especially at the godly sense you are driving toward. Your point is crucial: Christianity is NOT naked epistemology (merely a belief in a recipe of sorts without spiritual resurrection or a soul-change) that’s not created and therefore driven by ontological New Birth by the Spirit. Scripture tells us to avoid ungodly philosophy. If many DID approach our Christianity as a Christ-philosophy as how Scripture speaks of our thinking, meditating, transforming, embracing and actualizing of our new relationship with God in Christ, the reality you seek would be evidenced. I’m glad you’re driving this necessary point of Christ-reflection that always supersedes a counterfeit profession of faith!

    • Tom Bear says:

      I agree with the essence of your post Tim. But I suspect that most people these days do not have the terms clearly defined in their minds because most do not examine the terms the way people use to do many years ago. I suspect that my rough use of the word philosophy conveys well to most people out there even though technically, it falls short in preciseness. Thanks for the comments.

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