Theology Thursday: Are there two kind of faith?

It’s time for a shiny, new feature I call “Theology Thursday” 🙂

I’m going to ask a theological question that I don’t necessarily have an answer for and it will require some thought and possibly research on your part and you’re going to give an answer to the best of your ability, so that we can think through something  together. Sound like fun? I think it does. And it’s biblical, in that iron sharpens iron kinda way. So let’s get started…

So, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about faith. And I’ve began to wonder are their two kinds of faith? Now follow this line of thought. There are two kinds of sanctification: Definitive, wherein we are as holy as we are ever going to be which happens at our conversion and Progressive, wherein we work at becoming more and more like Christ daily and from what I understand saving faith is entirely monergistic, meaning it comes from God alone.

BUT

There are all these verse in the Bible about having faith, the one I can think of off the top of my head is Matthew 17:19-21

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Now if there is only one type of faith why would Jesus be chiding his disciples for their lack of faith?

Another example is when Jesus walks on water in Matthew 14 and Peter jumps out of the boat and runs toward him but begins to sink. Jesus chides (I’m having a lot of fun with the word ‘chide’ lately) Peter for not having enough faith, but Peter was the only one of the disciples to actually get out of the boat. Wouldn’t the other eleven guys have even less faith than Peter? Yet Jesus does not chide them.

And in other parts of the Bible it keeps talking about faith like there is an action on our part like in Corinthians where it says: We walk by faith, not by sight. Faith seems like it has an action that goes with it here, but if faith is solely monergistic then who is doing the action us or God?

So maybe you can help me shed some light on this: Are there two types of faith a definitive and a progressive? What do you think the Bible says about it? Chime in, in the comments section below I’d love to hear your feedback.

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One thought on “Theology Thursday: Are there two kind of faith?

  1. That is a really good question John.

    I haven’t put a whole lot of thought into the question yet, but I’ll give it a shot. I would say in it’s most base form we could think that faith is a ‘belief in an outcome’. I have faith that the Tigers are going to make the playoffs this year, I genuinely believe it is going to happen. Peter believed that he would be able to walk on water and it happened, but as he walked on water it quickly became unbelievable to him that he could even do that. Abraham believed the promises of God therefore he went forth to a country he did no know. Obviously there is a big difference between faith given to us the Almighty, and faith in the Tigers, but I think belief in an outcome is a generally good definition. In that sense I would say there are two types of faith, divinely given, and otherwise. However as to your question whether or not there are two types of divinely given faith, I think the answer is no.

    I believe what God has said regarding what His Son has done for me. I am saved by that faith, his work is imputed to me because I believe what he has said and done regarding me. Just like Peter believed he could walk on water and did, so I believe I have have been redeemed by the work of Christ, therefore I am. To ‘walk’ by faith is to walk influenced by the outcome that you believe. This is why we can say that sanctification is by faith, walking more and more according to the outcome we know to be true. Yet sanctification is by the same faith as justification. Justifying faith is to believe outcome (who we are in light of Christ) sanctification is the process whereby belief in the outcome comes to govern more and more of our lives.

    What do you think?

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