To the Work #10. “Generic Faith.”

To the Work #10. “Generic Faith.”

How are we to approach those who settle on a “generic faith?” Those whose “god” is far enough away to never notice their shortcomings, but close enough to call upon when times get tough? When encountering believers of firmer persuasion, they are expert at either mirroring their zeal, or listening with feigned religious fervour. Of course, their faith doesn’t have to be centred in one world religion, but instead can incorporate as many beliefs as needed or preferred.

So, what do you say when some of these souls insist that they are Christians, but aren’t bothered that their collection of beliefs is not found in the Bible?

My starting point is to try to get them to tell me what they really hold dear, as opposed to that which is novel. This is important because, though everyone believes that they have thought through all their ideas about God, not everyone gets a chance to hear themselves defend their contradictory ideas about God uninterrupted.

I used to spend many hours in loving debate trying to convince people that their ideas do not make sense when held up to the light of scripture. However, though debate is important, I tend now to just present Jesus as he presents himself.

We cannot leave anyone in any doubt: Jesus claims to stand apart from all other gods or faiths. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus insists in John 14:6. And if that is not exclusive enough for anyone, he adds, “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30).

The apostle John also leaves us in no doubt as to in whom salvation lies:

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11).

For Jesus there is no such thing as a “Generic faith.”

John Staiger


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