Quick Faith Quiz ~ BitterSweetLife

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Quick Faith Quiz

Here are a few questions to challenge your faith jones. Answer them correctly, and your spiritual acumen will be obvious to all. Well, maybe not... I'm more interested in simply exploring these queries a little, and don't have "the right answers" in mind. Really. So what do you think:

  1. When Jesus talks about "faith like a child," what does he have in mind?
  2. Is "child-like faith" different from "normal faith?" (Assuming, in this case, that normal faith is the healthy, 100% supernatural stuff that was good enough for Moses, Elijah, David and everyone else who has been, will be, or are being saved by grace.)
  3. Or should we assume that faith like a child is, well, the one kind of faith that God is after?
  4. That is, either you have this kind of faith, which Christ said will inherit the kingdom of heaven, or you don't have faith at all?

I've been given an opportunity to preach at church this Sunday, and I'm leaning toward the topic of "Faith Like a Child"...so make your suggestions snappy, all right? ;)

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10 comments:

Ched said...

The way your sequence of questions develops seems to reveal your position on this matter. I agree with that trajectory (if i haven't missed something).

Maybe Child-like faith is "normal faith." There must be something about the faith of a child, some quality, that is has to be present in saving faith (i.e., complete unreserved dependence, trust without guile).

Many times when I hear people talking of "child like" faith, they are using it as an excuse to indulge in anti-intellectualism. Therefore, I think there needs to be a distinction made between "child-like" faith and childish faith. Faith like a child, not a child's faith. True maturity then would deepen a child like faith, rather than replace it with the "grown-up" skepticism that so easily wraps its tenacles around a believer's heart.

At any rate, sounds like a good sermon. I'd like to hear it.

Anonymous said...

Tough questions...well, here, I'll be first (oops! second! ;-) to make a fool of myself. :)

1. I'd say faith like a child is having an attitude towards God like a child to his dad, which comes down to trust for me.

Pure child-like faith is total trust, usually without a shadow of a doubt that the object of our faith is reliable, good, and perfect. Note that the "shadow of a doubt" thing is not necessarily a "must" - when I have my son Joshua jump off the table into my arms, he's often a little scared, so I think there is the thought "what if..." somewhere in his mind. But the moment he jumps, it shows he trusts me. In that moment, he is demonstrating his child-like faith in me.
2. No. Jesus is simply giving us a vivid picture of what faith means.
3. Yes.
4. Yes. Again I wouldn't say "child-like faith" is a "kind" of faith, I'd say it's a picture of what faith means. It means being as trusting as a child.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that the others have it right. Child like faith is that faith that knows no doubts. We simply assume that we will be loved, fed, housed, and protected and, in exchange, we know that all we need to do is love our parents and occassionally clean our room. ;)

Jamie said...

When I hear "child-like" faith, I equate it with a simple, uncomplicated faith. Children might ask a lot of questions ("why" is their favorite word), but their questions are unsophisticated, and they are often willing to accept simple answers in return. This doesn't mean kids are necessarily simplistic, per se, but they are in some ways simple.

I don't know that child-like faith is different from "normal" faith, but I'm also not sure that child-like faith is the only acceptable form of faith. There's a legitimate place for unsophisticated faith, but there's also a time to push past simple questions and simple answers and go for the really nitty-gritty stuff. I think that's part of spiritual maturity. (Paul apparently thought so too, since he talked about putting his childish ways of thinking and speaking behind when he became a man).

Maybe it would be fair to say that we need both a child-like faith as well as a more mature faith, each working together to create a complete, robust faith?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if "child-like" faith is a doubt-less faith(?). My two yr-old son already has doubts and fears (even though his unjaded trust is also still evident).

So I might think of the adjective "child-like" as explaining faith itself, not distinguishing a kind of faith. I also think of faith as a posture: childlike in that it assumes an eagerness to learn, to be delighted, to wonder, to be open to (or "surprised by") joy.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if we made the distinction that "normal" faith from "child-like" faith in the same way as we do the OT from the NT (based on your definition): That if Moses, David, et al had "normal" faith, then by virtue of the new covenant in Christ in the NT God would want us to have "child-like" faith (as Hebrews 11 points out that together with our faith the OT folks would be saved).

A couple of months ago I asked my son, who is 5, if he ever talked to God or heard God's voice - I fully expected the answer to be "no."

Instead, he said, "Uh huh...sometimes I hear a voice in my brain that tells me not to do something...that's God."

If only I could hear God's voice so simply.

Anonymous said...

Ah, what Chesterton wouldn't give to have a blog so others could write his sermons. ;)

I may have to pay a visit. I can set up a cheering section if you like, kazoos, that sort of thing.

Be sure to bring that Piper CD.

Anonymous said...

An intellectual can have child like faith. A four-year-old can have child like faith. A teenager can have child like faith. A philosopher can have child like faith. A professional baseball play can have child like faith. An Aerospace engineer can have child like faith. All of these people can have child like faith and yet not throw away their individuality. Is this sort of idea helpful at all?

Anonymous said...

I think of "faith like a child" to mean obedience without context. Scripture says that we add to faith, virtue. This suggests to me that faith comes before we can consciously choose goodness. Before that point, we are obeying without understanding. I tell my son in church to sit down and to be quiet, but he does not know that his activity and his noise is disturbing others. Though if he is obedient the effect is the same as if he saw he was disturbing and closed his mouth. Later, he'll know and can choose to act virtuously. But faith must come first or else it's my son's own brand of filthy rag righteousness. Or in other words, without faith, it is impossible to please God (through obedience to his Word). I hope that makes sense...

Here's a few questions of my own about faith and obedience?

Ariel said...

The comments on this post are fantastic. I wish I had time to do justice to each of the contributions made...as it is, rushing to finish my message, I'm forced to express my gratitude simply by lifting your comments verbatim and inserting them in the body of the sermon.

Just kidding...although it's tempting. I'd like to return to this topic after I preach, though. Thanks to each of you for helping me sharpen my thinking on this.

 

Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife