Tag Archives: Faith

Is your faith big enough?

Jesus said to his disciples,

For truly I say to you, if you have faith like the grain of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.
(Matthew 17:20)

And that means the amount of faith is not relevant. Mustard seeds are small! (See also Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:31-32.)

In other words, if you trust the truth you have enough faith.

Knowing the deception of the human heart, therefore, we expect that Christians and churches will sometimes get this all wrong. Beware anyone, then, who says you do not have enough faith.



Jesus, history & faith

Here are some thought provoking words on Jesus in history: the historic events are open to historical understanding, and at the same time are only understood by faith.

The Jesus of whom the Gospels tell us is a unique event in history, not to be confused with other personalities in history. His uniqueness in this general historical sense is an essential part of the fundamental confession of the Christian faith. …

The atonement and redemption which was achieved through the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross is an event which does not lie in the dimension of the historian. It is for that reason not something which the historian as such can recognize, but which is only apprehended by faith. It is an action of God, an act of the self-disclosure and self-communication of God, and thus is something which cannot be perceived as a historical occurrence. While the uniqueness which the historian apprehends in the Person and history of Jesus is only something relatively unique, that which faith apprehends in this historical fact as God’s deed and God’s Word of atonement and redemption is something absolutely unique, it is something that by its very nature either has happened once and for all, for all times and for every man, or else has not happened.

From Emil Brunner’s Dogmatics, Volume III.



On the existence of eggs

Opinions vary. Here is a representative range of voices.


I’m just not sure about the existence of eggs and all that. Obviously I’ve seen shells, and I know how useful they are, but the whole story of yolk and egg-white … I mean, how can you know? I personally know people who are convinced that eggs exist, and I’m cool with that. I can see how it helps them face up to eggshells.


Eggs don’t exist, that’s certain. We all know about eggshells and the shape they give to life. Once we think with maturity, we know that’s all there is – just a shell. The whole egg-myth is a creative back-story. Perhaps it was originally used to explain the need to look after the eggshell, or to explain it to the young. But now the egg-myth is a means of control: ‘You must believe in the egg to explain the eggshell.’ Baloney!


I am convinced that eggs are real. For me, it’s not that the shell forced people to create the idea of ‘eggness’. No, it’s that the existence of eggs gave rise to the shape of eggshells. I’ve heard people say that the simplest explanation is better – that the shell is all there is – but that sounds like a claim that half-reality is better than whole-reality. Anyway, I’m sure about the historic account of the broken egg. I know I didn’t see the yoke run out, but others did.


I’m part of a group of egg-believers, yes. Though I think it’s more out of habit than strong conviction. I certainly like the way we treat the eggshell. I find that my view of the egg itself varies: perhaps there is an egg, perhaps just an egg-white, perhaps nothing. In my heart of hearts, I think it probably doesn’t matter, as long as we all behave nicely about the eggshell. I don’t want to offend the strong egg-believers I hang around with, yet I feel they’re a bit over the top at times, even embarrassing.



Faith before reason

There is a simple way to see that faith comes before reason.

We universally hate being lied to.

That probably requires some explanation, I accept, but it captures all that I will say.

Firstly, though, why bother thinking about this? It’s because there’s a prominent line of thought that places an absolute divide between faith and reason. ‘My total authority is reason, I have no place for faith.’ It’s a claim that any faith is always irrational.

This is – oh, the irony! – a creedal position. It is propounded as an unchallengeable tenet that must be believed.

(I do not think this position is held widely, but it is held loudly. The faith-reason dichotomy has some devoted and insistent public defenders. Plenty of people who opt not to hold the Christian faith, however, know that 100% of people exercise faith.)

This post is not to argue that we all have faith before reason, but to illustrate it, So, again, this is the illustration: We universally hate being lied to.

A lie hurts, profoundly. To lie is to speak a word, and break it. The liar makes a promise: ‘I will do this’, ‘This is true’, etc. Every promise is – at the same time – an invitation to faith. ‘Trust me!’ And we do exercise faith: we trust, and our trust is betrayed.

Now, what has this to do with reason? It shows reason to be secondary.

Reason tells me that lies are everywhere and from all people. Men and women, young and old, every culture … we are liars. Could anyone disagree? If reason were primary, we should be able to stop lies affecting us. Logic would change us to expect lies and simply treat them with equanimity. ‘Oh, a lie – yes, that makes sense and has no personal effect on me.’

But instead, our strong faith continues. We believe that words should mean something. We trust that a promise will be kept. We rely on information from other people. We cannot shake our faith – faith is a bedrock reality of human life. And it’s a good bedrock!

Faith is not against reason. But faith is before reason.