THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BEING AND DOING
Yesterday in our CHOW group (Young Adult Bible Study) we had a brief discussion while discussing the background of James about what the difference was between intellectual assent and authentic faith.
The dicussion circled around whether the two actions were opposite, or could they be the same thing. In an explanation, someone commented that intellectual assent is the natural precursor to authentic faith, and thus is a part of having authentic faith. The conversation then went to, can we have authentic faith without intellectual assent.
It is an interesting question. Must I agree with the words and ideas of faith to live by faith.
My answer is no. That authentic faith is often trusting relationally and with our actions even when we do not intellectually assent. For instance, during my freshman year I had serious doubts about the validity of the resurrection testimony. At times, the gospels read to much like self-serving propoganda (which they are--they happen to be true as well though). My beliefs were in crisis. Did that mean I did notlive in authentic faith? Quite the contrary. I lived day by day faithfully following, trusting, and communicating with God even though I could not completely intellectually assent to all the essential historical facts that the faith is based upon. The same thing happens when I am called to love my enemies. Do I agree with Jesus on this. Not always. Sometimes I think Jesus is tremendously unrealistic. Do I follow, trust, and connect with God in faith despite the fact I have a hard time intellectually assenting anyway? When I do I believe I am living with authentic faith, possibly even more authentic faith than when I do intellectually assent. Intellectual assent is based on ideas. Faith is based upon relationship