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What faith is not...

When I was younger, for example, in my teenage years in fundamentalist churches, I used to regularly hear some bad analogies for faith, especially in evangelistic or apologetic contexts. I heard faith being compared to sitting in a chair [“your belief in the chair’s ability to hold you does no good unless you sit in it”] or getting on a plane [“your belief in the plane’s ability to take off safely or transport you won’t work until you decide to board it”]. Now I cringe whenever I hear salvation compared sitting on a chair, or getting on a plane. Thankfully, my church here doesn’t use such analogies that trivialize faith and salvation.

Such analogies are cheesy, simplistic illustrations of salvation. They reduce faith to something trite, like a mundane decision, a mere intellectual act, little different than choosing to vote for a certain party, or choosing what shoes to wear in the morning. And they’re rather human-focused rather than God-focused. (They sound rather Arminian, in fact.) I mean, it’s a life-changing event, for crying out loud. It’s complete surrender, a surrender to Gods’ will and the lordship of Christ, a commitment to being a disciple of Christ, giving your life to him, being reborn. And the rebirth is a great work of God, a miraculous event, not something wimpy like parking your butt on a sofa. It’s all about what he does, not what you do. It’s not like choosing to sit in a chair. It’s choosing to live or die. How about that for a gospel illustration? It is a choice between life and death. Real life, eternal life, a new life. Or a forever-existing sort of death, like being a zombie basically, only worse. Please... use a zombie movie for a gospel illustration, or something realistic, not a chair. Or choosing to jump off a building, or jumping into a tar pit, versus choosing a brand new life from the only one who you can trust and follow. That's a lot more like what faith is.

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