Michael W. Austin

Ideas that Matter.

Month: June 2016

What is Faith?

4416372357_7348991248_zThere is a lot of confusion about what it means to have faith in God. Some believe it means to believe in God without any good evidence. I’ve argued elsewhere that this is a misguided view of faith.

The best explanation of a biblical understanding of faith in God that I’m aware of comes from Paul Moser, who argues that faith is “entrusting oneself to God”. To paraphrase Genesis 15, then, “Abraham entrusted himself to the Lord, and the Lord counted this entrusting as a right relationship to himself.” The virtue of faith, then, includes belief, but goes well beyond it. It also includes a lived experience of entrusting one’s very self to God.

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What is Sunday Morning For?

8718277405_bc918ab8b3_mIn many churches, there is great confusion about the purpose of the Sunday morning service. Many on the more theologically conservative end of the spectrum carry out the Sunday service as if it is primarily an evangelistic service. But I think this is a mistake. It should primarily be about worship, equipping members of the church for growth in Christ, and enabling them to reach out to others in love.

This misguided understanding of the point of Sunday morning also in part explains the lack of character formation, minimal spiritual growth, and being ill-equipped for ministry that is present in so many of our churches.

It is of course easy to criticize, but what can be done about this?

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