Divided Faith Versus Singularity of Heart

The greatest form of idolatry today is not that people will bow down to a statue but that people will cling to someone or something other than the one true God. (As I’ve noted in an earlier post, even atheists have a god: whatever they trust.)

True faith teaches a singularity of heart, to have one’s confession of faith, one’s life, and one’s actions focused upon and giving honor to The One. Because our lives are so hectic, it becomes more and more difficult to have this singularity of heart. Mere busyness delivers us from idleness but pushes us toward idolatry as we struggle to meet all our commitments. The One—the true God—becomes for us a face in the crowd rather than the object of our devotion, set apart and consecrated above all things.

In the end, true faith calls for more than a different belief but a different way of life that expresses that belief. Life with God and living for God go hand in hand. We see this most clearly in the person and work of Jesus. The balance in His life is truly remarkable. He had great gifts of teaching and healing so that crowds sought Him and huddled about Him, to the point where He was jostled and pushed and overwhelmed by them. Mark 1 records:

That evening at sundown they brought to [Jesus] all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”

Even when everyone around Jesus demanded His attention—and deservedly so—He slipped away to pray to His Father, to commune with Him but also to intercede for His disciples and those who came to Him with all their needs. This singularity of heart, focused on the Lord and His calling, helped Jesus with the day to day struggles as well as His ultimate commitment: His calling from the Father. As a man, Jesus was overrun with demands yet He remained singularly devoted to His Father and entrusted all His cares and burdens to the Father for the sake of those who would listen to Him.

Real Evangelicals Believe These 4 Things

Researchers should define Evangelicals by their beliefs, not by their political demographics, the church they attend or what they self-identify as, the NEA and LifeWay Research have determined.

CHR Comment: The researchers began with seventeen statements and narrowed it to four. Oddly, none of the statements of faith are about the Trinity, perhaps assuming that doctrine or trying to accommodate non-creedal groups.

Source: Real Evangelicals Believe These 4 Things

Faith Seeking Understanding. Anselm. Luther

Over the centuries members of the Christian Church have struggled to understand and apply the relationship between faith and reason. For example, many Scholastic theologians during the Middle Ages taught that faith and reason were fully compatible. Luther and other Reformers argued that reason always went too far in trying to resolve the tensions that arise between faith and reason.

Reason usually does not want to follow faith but ends up having faith in itself—a form of idolatry. When this happens, reason stops being reasonable and becomes doubt and skepticism. As a philosophy, skepticism has been very attractive to some thinkers over the centuries (e.g., Cynics, Cartesians) but most people have never broadly embraced skepticism as a philosophy of life. Why? They sense that there’s something impossible and unreasonable about living in constant doubt. As I pointed out earlier, trust—faith—is not a luxury or a delusion. We are born dependent on others. We are born requiring trust in order to survive. We are designed to live by faith and by reason. Casting aside one or the other leads to disaster.

The motto of St. Anselm (c 1033–1109), “Faith seeking understanding,” provided a helpful warning to the early scholastic thinkers. It reminded them and us to live by faith and exercise reason with due humility. A famous saying of Martin Luther (1483–1546) builds on these important themes. When confronted by a council at Worms, Germany, and asked to recant of his teachings, Luther is reported to have said:

Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds and reasoning—and my conscience is captive to the Word of God—then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither wise nor safe to act against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God’s help me! Amen.

Martin Luther supported the use of what we call sound reasoning but emphasized the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God, as the basis for faith and our relationship to God and His creation. So, we approach the Holy Scripture and life with our reason serving—not ruling—our faith so that we might believe and understanding. God help us! Amen.

Medieval