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    Ethics & Debate Center - Thread: Is faith a wholly voluntary act?

    1. #1
      MoreCoffee's Avatar
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      Is faith a wholly voluntary act?

      Can one decide to have faith in Jesus Christ; is it a voluntary act that does not require proofs?

      For example, one can choose to vote for Donald Trump even if one dislikes him, despises his policies, regards his statements are untrustworthy. Voting is in such a case purely voluntary. To vote for a candidate is to have a kind of faith in them. Of course the example of voting is not precisely the same as believing in Jesus Christ but the principle is similar.

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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      Can one decide to have faith in Jesus Christ; is it a voluntary act that does not require proofs?
      No, one cannot chose to have faith in Christ. Faith is the gift, the action of God.

      No, faith is not a position and thus has no burden of proof. However, faith has an object and that object (for example: Jesus is the Savior) does have a burden of proof (as all positions, propositions, do). Now, it's a whole other issue as to what does and does not constitute "proof" and "evidence." For me, God's words in His Holy Word is more than enough proof since I embrace Scripture as normative for theology - but of course, for others it would not be. Not all would agree on the norma normans or the arbitration on that issue.

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    4. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      No, one cannot chose to have faith in Christ. Faith is the gift, the action of God.

      No, faith is not a position and thus has no burden of proof. However, faith has an object and that object (for example: Jesus is the Savior) does have a burden of proof (as all positions, propositions, do). Now, it's a whole other issue as to what does and does not constitute "proof" and "evidence." For me, God's words in His Holy Word is more than enough proof since I embrace Scripture as normative for theology - but of course, for others it would not be. Not all would agree on the norma normans or the arbitration on that issue.
      Why do you say faith is a gift - an action of God?

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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      Why do you say faith is a gift - an action of God?
      Because the Bible does.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      Because the Bible does.
      Where does the bible say it?

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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      Where does the bible say it?
      Just for starters: Eph. 2:8, John 6:28-29, John 6:44-45, 2 Peter 1:1, Romans 12:3, Acts 3:15, Philippians 1:29. And of course, we are told that we are DIED (and dead can't cause themselves to live) and the Creed credits the Holy Spirit as the GIVER of life, not that self enlives self.

      Did you want to hijack your own thread to this other issue? If so, know that it will quickly become yet another "debate" between Catholics and Protestants as to who is the Savior - self or Christ - since it is impossible to separate faith from the object of it - Christ or self. I would LOVE to yet again have an opportunity to proclaim Christ, to lift high the Cross, to affirm Jesus as the Savior (it gives me enormous joy to have that privilege) and you yet again will try to minimize that, to get the focus off Chrsit and onto self, to argue Jesus makes salvation POSSIBLE but doesn't save.... we've been over this several times before. You sure you want to here? I'm more than willing, indeed eager.



      - Josiah
      Last edited by Josiah; 10-25-2016 at 08:39 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      Just for starters: Eph. 2:8, John 6:28-29, John 6:44-45, 2 Peter 1:1, Romans 12:3, Acts 3:15, Philippians 1:29. And of course, we are told that we are DIED (and dead can't cause themselves to live) and the Creed credits the Holy Spirit as the GIVER of life, not that self enlives self.

      Did you want to hijack your own thread to this other issue? If so, know that it will quickly become yet another "debate" between Catholics and Protestants as to who is the Savior - self or Christ - since it is impossible to separate faith from the object of it - Christ or self.
      * Because it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God; [Ephesians 2:8 NJB] - it looks like grace is the subject of the sentence and maybe the gift from God is grace but one could construe the verse to say faith is the gift. Opinions will differ on that. It does not look definitive.

      Then they said to him, 'What must we do if we are to carry out God's work?' Jesus gave them this answer, 'This is carrying out God's work: you must believe in the one he has sent.' [John 6:28-29 NJB] - Looks like the work that the folk asking Jesus about is the work that they must do to be doing what God wants of them. It does not say that God does the work. And it does not say that God does the believing. The passage is not teaching that faith is an act of God.

      'No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They will all be taught by God; everyone who has listened to the Father, and learnt from him, comes to me. [John 6:44-45 NJB] - The passage here says that God teaches people who come to Christ but it doesn't say that faith is a gift from God or that faith is an act of God.

      Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ, to all those living as aliens in the Dispersion of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen, [1 Peter 1:1 NJB] - this passage says people are chosen but it does not say that faith is a gift from God or that faith is an act of God for those chosen people.

      * And through the grace that I have been given, I say this to every one of you: never pride yourself on being better than you really are, but think of yourself dispassionately, recognising that God has given to each one his measure of faith. [Romans 12:3 NJB] - This passage does say that God gives to each person his measure of faith. That makes it a possible support for your stated claim that faith is a gift from God. This passage does not offer support for the idea that faith is an act of God on behalf of people who believe.

      while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are witnesses; [Acts 3:15 NJB] - This passage does not say faith is a gift from God nor that faith is an act of God on behalf of people who believe.

      * This comes from God, for you have been granted the privilege for Christ's sake not only of believing in him but of suffering for him as well; [Philippians 1:29 NJB] - this passage says that one is granted the privilege of believing in Christ. That makes it a possible support for your stated claim that faith is a gift from God. This passage does not say that faith is an act of God on behalf of people who believe.

      Out of the passages you posted there are three that either equivocally support the idea of faith as a gift from God or state that faith is a gift or a privilege given by God to people who believe but none of the passages teach or say that faith is an act of God on behalf of people who believe. The three passages that may offer support to the idea of faith as a gift from God need further contextual analysis before any conclusion about what they teach can be reached.

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      Faith comes by hearing of the Word from God. All kids get faith in Him if they hear His Word.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Rens View Post
      Faith comes by hearing of the Word from God. All kids get faith in Him if they hear His Word.
      Not everyone who hears will believe, right?

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      As Josiah pointed out, faith is a gift from God.

      There is no one who seeks God. Romans 3:11

      This verse makes it very clear that God first approaches us and that He seeks us out. This in hand with the verse "No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me," which you think doesn't show that faith is a gift because it's not specifically stated word for word does show that it's God doing the work in turning us to Him.

      John 15:16 states "You did not chose me but I chose you". This verse also is clear that it's God's doing in making His disciples.

      When we look at the ensemble of verses that Josiah has given and the couple I've shared, it's evident that GOD is the one at work in turning us to Him. He does so by His Word (faith comes by hearing as Rens pointed out).

      God's Word is alive and active Hebrews 4:12 and will not return to Him empty Isaiah 55:11

      Now add those above verses to the rest of the group along with the one that you claim "grace" is the subject but you're forgetting that the entire verse is all gift talk and God's doing. Faith is given so that we may believe. We are saved by grace through faith. That means that God's grace works within us to give us faith so we may believe in not just the fact that there IS a God but that there is a Savior (God) who forgives us all our sins.

      Man cannot create faith within Him since as the above verses have shown that it's God's work within us to turn us to Him. He does so by His grace and what does that grace do but give us the Gospel? God has given each a measure of faith as Josiah pointed out in another verse. There is a verse in Luke where the apostles call to God "Give us more faith!" How can that not be obvious that faith is from God?
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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