In Protestant churches, confirmation
is (hopefully) when young believers are taught arguments and reasons
that confirm and strengthen their faith. In my life, conformation is
when Jesus confirms my faith by contemporary activity. Let me explain
how I currently view faith, the basis of faith and my faith.

Content vs. confirmation

Do Christians believe in miracles? No, we believe in Christ.
Miracles only confirm our beliefs about Christ. Because that’s how it
was in Mark’s last verse:

And they went out and preached
everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message
by accompanying signs.
[Mark
16:20 ESV
]

The people who heard the apostles preach were expected to believe
the content they heard … maybe because of the miracles they saw, but
in any way believing was about the content the apostles told them.
Miracles without this content would be astonishing, but we’d remain
curious. Paul also makes this connection between hearing the content
(the good message about Jesus the Christ) and believing:

So people believe because they hear. They hear because people tell
them about Christ.
[Romans
10:17 BWE
]

Note that this translation is correct (IMHO): “δια ρηματος θεου”
(“through the word of God”, or “Christ”, in some mss.) can be
translated with a genitivus obiectivus. So nobody says anything about
metaphyically quasi-magically supernaturally active “word of God”
(probably the bible, one’d suppose …) which “generates” faith, as one
might understand from this translation:

 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of
God.
[Romans
10:17 KJV
]

And the Greek “ακοη” means the “hearing”, not the “preaching” as
others translate. As only this fits the context: the next verse starts
with “But I ask, have they not heard?” [Romans
10:18 BWE
].

History-based unconfirmed faith

So people believe because people tell them about Christ … which
has to be understood, in the context of the first century, as the
“historic Christ”. People told each other about the man Jesus the
Nacarene who proved to be the Christ, the son of God, by the historic
fact of his resurrection. This kind of history was and is a valuable
basis for faith in Christ Jesus. It is, currently, the basis of my
personal faith: I believe in the historic content about Jesus, and I
can argue (though not prove) that what I believe is truly historic. So
it’s possible, meaningful and justifiable for me to believe in Christ
without contemporary signs and miracles. Past events, signs and
miracles are enough because the biblical tradition is reliable.

However, such a faith is “unconfirmed” by contemporary experiences!
Wherefore I said, I need my confirmation yet. At least part of my
remaining life is dedicated to search for such confirmation. I call
this search the “Second Acts” project. Currently, I’m kinda satisfied
with this kinda faith, as “history-based unconfirmed faith” as a
rational preliminary faith, a “working hypothesis faith” waiting for
miracles that prove it, has multiple advantages over other kinds of
faith:

  • With a preliminary faith, I am allowed to admit that my faith is
    not yet proven beyond all doubt, while others who think believing is
    the “activity of being absolutely sure” must force themselves to think:
    • either, that history proves Jesus to be the Christ with
      mathematical exactness (which simply isn’t the case for any historical
      proof)
    • or, that they have found contemporary signs and miracles (which
      might be the case, compromise the standards for detecting true
      miracles, or lead to despair if it isn’t the case)
  • A history based, miracle-confirmable faith attributes the
    biblical priorities to both the message about Jesus, and to signs and
    miracles.
  • With a history-based faith you can bluntly admit that your
    present situation might be one where God simply does not do anything.
    It does not hurt your faith that Jesus lives, as you believe from history that Jesus resurrected.

Start date: 2007-11-02
Post date: 2007-11-03
Version date: 2007-11-03 (for last meaningful change)

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