Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Speaking Christian: Faith, according to Molina and Rohrbaugh

One more quote for you on the meaning of Faith for this Wednesday, this one from social scientists Bruce
Molina and Richard Rohrbaugh, who give us further insight into what the idea of faith was for the communities to whom the New Testament was addressed. What do you think of the distinction they make? Share comments below!

Faith as "assent to something or to something somebody says is not common in the New Testament...Also very rare is the use of the term to mean 'tradition,' as in the 'faith' which was delivered once and for all to the saints (Jude 1:3). In the New Testament, the words 'faith,' 'have faith,' and 'believe' much more frequently refer to the social glue that binds one person to another [emphasis mine]. They point to the social, externally manifested, emotional behavior of loyalty, commitment, and Matthew 21:21, the NRSV translates: "have faith and do not doubt." This translation puts the phrase into the first category above, assent of the mind. But this is not the normal use of the words in Matthew. They are better translated: "stay loyal (to God) and do not hesitate (in your fidelity or loyalty)." Similarly, in the next verse the obvious meaning is: "Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you remain loyal (to God)." In sum, "faith" primarily means personal loyalty, commitment to another person, fidelity, and the solidarity that comes from such faithfulness."

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