Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Can One Have a False Faith, or Just a Delusion?

Do" false converts" stick their head in the sand?
This is a serious question. I write a lot of commentary on the views of Lordship Salvation (LS) proponents. I haven't had anyone really support that view, or challenge my assertions about it here here in a long time. I hope that some of you LS proponents will comment on this article though.

I've asked the following in another location, and have not yet had it answered. I hope someone here will take a stab at it.
LS proponents say you can evaluate to find out if you have really believed in Jesus. Can anyone give another example of something you could only "think" you believe in?  
As far as I can discern, only delusions are false beliefs. Belief in vain, in something that isn't real or true. That's Paul's point in 1Cor 15 wrt to believing in vain.  
Even in the case of a delusion the person really believes it.  
Can you not be sure if you believe 2+2=4? I can see not having confidence in it... if you don't know yet - but that is the definition of NOT believing. Not "thinking" you believe.  
So can anyone give another example other than faith in Jesus where it would be possible to only think you believe in something?  
I don't buy it.
Is there an example of something that a person might truly believe they believe to be true, and yet somehow they don't actually believe it?

If the answer is what I expect it to be: No there is no example of something that someone could believe they believe, but somehow not actually believe it - then what use is evaluating your faith to find out if you have truly believed? There is no such thing as a false faith, there can only be faith and delusion. Both are equal in quality, but a delusion is a true faith in something that is false. The person has been deluded into believing a lie.

I hope someone has an interesting answer.

16 comments:

wisdomknowledge said...

Hi Kevin,

I have been lurking as usual and decided to comment because this is really a very interesting question. Of course I agree with you so I am not going to be able to give you the example you are looking for.

Anyone who holds to the belief that a person can only believe in Christ after they are regenerate must agree with you statement. We have both heard claims that a person can have a "false assurance" because they think they have believed when God has not actually regenerated them. So it would make sense that anyone with "false assurance" is deluded.

I hope you find someone who provides you with an example.

Thank you.

Glenn

Kevl said...

Hi Glenn, nice to hear from you!

Thanks!
Kev

Look up said...

You are getting philosophical on us with this one.

The emergent church is a group that only thinks they believe something, that is until a so-called 'better' or 'newer' something comes along. They are never really certain they have believed a truth, all that they believe they are certain of is that they will attempt to keep pursuing a form of 'truth for them' as they can make it up.

Another group are those who think salvation can be lost. Ultimately a false faith has no assurance with regards to eternity. They are not really SURE of what comes next in regards to themselves for eternity. Therefore it is their faith that is faulty. The faith is faulty for the same reason as the EC group, it is stems from being placed in something that cannot deliver.

Atheists have a false faith in that they are not really sure what they believe and will wait for the shifting sands of science to figure it out for them, likewise Muslims have a false faith and it goes pretty well anyone who has no assurance of salvation.

A real faith (as Moses had) climbs into the Red Sea with a wall of water on each side and has a certainty of crossing. A false faith (as the Egyptians had) follows after hoping to go where those with faith have gone, but trust in themselves to get through not how and why they got there. In the end they all went in the same direction but the false faith was revealed.

Kevl said...

Hi Look Up, thanks for the comment.

I normally TRY to stay away from plain philosophy but I really think this question has merit. :)

The Emergent Church have issue with whether what they believe is true or not (have they been deluded) not if they really believe it.

That's the same as scientists who believed in Newtonian Physics but kept looking for a more accurate model. It wasn't that they were not sure they "really believed" it's that they were not sure it was as accurate as they could get. Not a false faith, but a delusion. They didn't want to be deluded into thinking Newtonian Physics was a perfect representation of how the universe works.

Those who think they can loose their salvation are in the same boat. They really believe this. This belief is in vain, because it is in something that is worthless, insecure... but they DO really believe it. They don't just THINK they believe it, they really do.

Atheists may actually be a pretty good example. Romans 1 says they know there is a God, but they refuse to worship Him. Interesting. I'll have to come back to this in another comment.

Muslims again, they really believe what they believe... it's just what they believe cannot save them. It is the same as if the resurrection were not true, our belief would be in vain. We would really believe it, but it would be a real belief in something that is false.

I have to think more before I discuss the Atheist. Very interesting!

Kev

Jan said...

Is there an example of something that a person might truly believe they believe to be true, and yet somehow they don't actually believe it?

It seems to me that eventually you are going to have to get down to some basic, core belief about something. Somewhere in there is a belief that something is true.

What I find interesting is that there are things people can believe that they don't even know they believe until it is exposed. I have a friend who spent years on medication for depression because of an untruth from Satan that she believed (I forget the specifics) that she never was aware she believed until one day she realized it and saw it for the lie it was. That changed her view dramatically and she no longer needs to be on medication.

I think that can happen a lot. It's one of the things that concerns me about the pastoral effects of LS. People who know they believe the gospel have their faith undermined by a slick presentation that makes them begin to wonder if they are really saved and shifts the basis of their assurance off of Christ and onto themselves, not because Christ doesn't really save, but because not all faith is saving faith. Christ is not false of course, but their faith might be. So now the belief that their faith might not be real has entered the equation and begins to undermine the faith they do have, and this with a problem that really can't be remedied.

But apparently the belief that their faith might not be real is real enough.

JanH

Kevl said...

Hi Jan,

I remember after several counselling sessions with a Pastor one night I was walking through the local grocery store.. it was about 11pm and I was alone.

All of the sudden I burst into tears as I realized that I had been believing a lie (from satan) and it had been defining my life. I was so angry and relieved at the same time... all I could do was cry. I feel silly but I wept like a baby.

"But apparently the belief that their faith might not be real is real enough."

Yikes.

Kev

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Hi Kevin,

I suppose we still disagree about the foundations of evolutionary biology being all laid out in the first two chapters of Genesis.

I generally live by the understanding that as we are all fallible human beings, whatever we think we know about God, we are partly right, partly wrong, but by faith that God knows what he is doing, and would like us to TRY to be perfect, we can count on grace to make up the difference.

Therefore, I don't worry too much about doctrinal issues, whether of the Roman Catholic canon or the emergent church or the distinctions between Protestant sects. Can't go wrong with that.

Kevl said...

Hi Look Up,

With regard to Atheists. I don't think their belief qualifies as a belief one is not sure if one really believes.

The Bible says they have willfully rejected the truth of God, Romans 1, and in several other places talks about "disbelieving."

So I don't think that Atheism qualifies as a like example of what Lordship Salvation proponents claim faith in Christ is/can be - a belief that you can be unsure you actually believe.

Kev

Kevl said...

Siarlys Jenkins,

There is absolutely no way one could come up with nothing to everything, or even just goo to you, Evolution from reading the Text of Genesis alone. The only way such a foolish idea gets into one's head is if one listens to the God hating philosophers who will accept any answer as "true enough" if it excludes the existence or faithfulness of God.

Evolutionists can't agree on anything other than a consensus that "Evolution" must have happened. The latest theory is that it started in ice.... You are defining God's Holy Word using a philosophy touted as science which completely changes over and over again... to paraphrase the Evolutionary Worldview: "a warm soup... ice... a comet... oh it doesn't matter HOW it happened, we just know it disproves the Bible!"


Further you wrote:

I generally live by the understanding that as we are all fallible human beings, whatever we think we know about God, we are partly right, partly wrong, but by faith that God knows what he is doing, and would like us to TRY to be perfect, we can count on grace to make up the difference.

There are two fallacies hidden in there.

First - since I don't think I can know absolute truth I deny that anyone can, or that it is even important to know it.

Just because you can't be sure of something, does not mean someone else cannot. God desires to reveal Himself to us, and has written the Bible to us for that purpose.

That brings me to the second fallacy. That understanding of the Bible is dependant on man's ability.

The Bible is a supernatural document written by an all powerful God who designed us and who is also the source of all knowledge. He wrote the document to be understood. He is a God of logic.

If one can't know truth then your final paragraph makes sense and you're right "you can't go wrong with that." However, God says to critically test all things and hold fast to that which is good. He praises those who search the Scriptures to see if something is true.

He presents Himself as exclusively the Truth, any less than perfect truth in our expression of Him is therefore blaspheme.

You certainly CAN go wrong with the views you expressed in your last comment.

I hope this is more helpful than it is blunt.

Kev

Pearl said...

Can anyone give another example of something you could only "think" you believe in?

Could these be examples? I have heard the gospel presented in the following manners:

I see a chair and believe it can hold my weight. But unless, I actually sit in it, I am not truly "believing/trusting" the chair. I must sit in it for my faith to be real. Therefore, my faith is in vain.

I've also heard this similar analogy illustrating a tightrope walker:

With a rope stretched across a raging river, a famous trapeze artist asked the crowd if they thought he could make it across, they shouted in unison "YES! We believe!", and so he did. Next, he asked the crowd if they believed he could do it blindfolded. After a few moments of consideration and slight reserve, the crowd hollered "Yes! You can do it!", and so he did. Then, the artist asked if they believed he could do it carrying a man on his shoulders. Whispers, oohs and ahs traveled through the crowd, and finally, they proclaimed "Yes, we believe!" "Good! Now, which one of you will volunteer to ride on my shoulders?" The crowd remained silent. Obviously, they didn't really believe/trust Him.

Kevl said...

Hi Pearl,

You wrote I see a chair and believe it can hold my weight. But unless, I actually sit in it, I am not truly "believing/trusting" the chair. I must sit in it for my faith to be real. Therefore, my faith is in vain.

Again, if you believe that it will hold your weight and it can then your faith is not in vain. It is in something true, if you needed to test that faith it would hold up. It would not have been in vain for you to have trusted it. Even if you never needed to use it, your faith that it would hold you would not be in vain, because it truly could - if you needed it to.

Now we get into a sort of James 2 issue here. If you never sit in your chair, you will never come into the fullness of trusting it. You will never have your faith perfected. You will never learn to do more than just trust it... yet your faith would not have been in vain because the chair really could hold you. The object of our faith defines whether our faith is in vain or not.

If the chair could not hold you then no matter how much you believed it, you would have been deluded into thinking it could hold you. Your faith would be in vain. No matter if you never sat in it, or if you did and you fell... your faith would be in something false, and it would hold no promise for you. You may take comfort from your faith, but if you ever needed it... the chair would fail you.

Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Pearl you wrote:

With a rope stretched across a raging river, a famous trapeze artist asked the crowd if they thought he could make it across, they shouted in unison "YES! We believe!", and so he did. Next, he asked the crowd if they believed he could do it blindfolded. After a few moments of consideration and slight reserve, the crowd hollered "Yes! You can do it!", and so he did. Then, the artist asked if they believed he could do it carrying a man on his shoulders. Whispers, oohs and ahs traveled through the crowd, and finally, they proclaimed "Yes, we believe!" "Good! Now, which one of you will volunteer to ride on my shoulders?" The crowd remained silent. Obviously, they didn't really believe/trust Him.


This is a cool analogy. It could really be used to rip appart LS theology... they will not rely on Him to save them based on His work being accessed through their faith.. they must always be testing the waters to try to see if they are "really" saved.

I'm not convinced this is an example of someone thinking they believe something and then finding out they didn't really believe it.

I might be... but I really have to consider it.

Here's my thoughts so far. They believed that he might be able to do it, and were willing to risk his safety to see if he could - but not willing to risk their own safety.

I'm not sure they were actually saying they were sure he could do it, only to be surprised that they didn't really think he could do it.

I think it is more like, it's his show... this seems scary but he must know what he's doing... but I am not going to trust him with my life.

This seems to be more about levels of confidence, not about believing something to be fact or not.

Do you know what I mean?

Kev

Pearl said...

It's funny that you see it as a tool to rip through LS, because I saw the glass as "half empty", in that the illustration suggests I had to "do" something to prove my faith in the object was "saving faith", thus helpful to LSers.

But that was my initial gut reaction. I've not really sat down and analyzed it further. Guess I should.

Kevl said...

Hi Pearl, sorry this has taken so long. I've been both sick and busy!

I say the story goes against LS, though I caught that it was being used to support the theology, because the LSer would not simply let the man hold on to them. They would not trust that he had them safe. If they were tasked with putting on a safety harness and ensuring it was on correctly - then they would "trust" him.

The LSer must always be checking to see if they have their safety harness properly installed.

One who truly did trust, would simply place their safety in the hands of the one who could keep them safe.

More in a sec!
Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Pearl,

The idea that people can't have really believed unless they cross on the line with the man is demonstrate-ably untrue.

If there is a group of people who can go one at a time, and they all agree to go because he can keep them safe - is it true that they all believe at the time they agree? Or do they not "truly believe" until they actually get on the line?

The doing something may validate their claim to faith to an onlooker, (James 2) but it doesn't change the reality. I may completely trust that the guy can take me over.. .but be unwilling to spend the time it would take to get there and back. This doesn't mean I didn't believe him, it means I believed him but I don't want to be inconvenienced. Or perhaps I don't want to set a risky president for other people watching....

Likewise I might decide to "take the risk" and go with him even though I don't trust him - perhaps I'm a risk taker, a show off, or I want people to think more of me. So I do it, but I never trusted him. Mat 7:21-23

There are seemingly endless reasons why the "doing" doesn't prove the reality of the faith. Or even be the determining factor of IF someone believes or not.

Doing is not part of believing.

Kev

Pearl said...

Oi vey! My head is spinning!

Seriously, you've made many excellent points, all while putting a smile on my face.

If they were tasked with putting on a safety harness and ensuring it was on correctly - then they would "trust" him.

So true!!

Thanks, Kev. Good stuff.

Oh, and glad you're feeling better, too.