What is Faith?

I stopped this week at my friend Michael Durham’s 3rd favorite place, Star Bucks Coffee (after his home and Oakgrove Baptist Church), to get some hot tea and study for about an hour before getting my children at school in the afternoon.

As I sat down at the table outside to enjoy the pleasant weather, I saw words written on the Star Bucks cup which intrigued me. I began to read these exact words by James Brown, a pro football television sports anchor:

“I have faith–faith in our wondrous capacity for hope, good, love and trust, for healing, and forgiveness; I have faith in the blessing of our infinite ability to wonder, question, pray, feel, think, and learn; I have faith in the infinite possibilities of the human spirit.”

I began to think, smile, ponder, and then grieve– everyone’s religious in America these days; Brown sounds like he lifted a quote from yesterday’s Oprah show, though he probably wrote it himself. Everybody’s talking about faith today, from Obama to Joe Biden, to Rush Limbaugh, to Oprah and Hillary, to Barbara Streisand and even Madonna– everybody loves “faith”– it’s very fasionable and in vogue to say you have faith.

It all sounds so sweet, kind, inspiring, gushy and mushy, making people want to bust out singing in unison, “We are the world, we are the people!” But the real question is this:

What in the world do they mean by faith?

Brown’s words above are loudly and clearly saying one thing: “I have faith in me– I have faith in man– I have faith in my own endless capacity to be really good; I have endless, infinite abilities and capacities because I am human.”

The world is groveling and drooling over such language every day- in advertising, in movies, in the media, in Hollywood, from L.A. to New York, in office buildings, coffee shops, in press conferences, in presidential candidates’ speeches, in churches, at weddings, funerals, graduation ceremonies and in university classrooms across the country and in many towns in rural America, where ladies will have coffee together tomorrow morning. This disease is everywhere and it continues to spread.

Such words as Brown’s are meant to teach only one thing– have faith in yourself and in innate human goodness, for that is the only thing that matters. Neither Marx, Lenin, or radical atheistic communism ever had a better humanism than the words on that Star Buck’s cup. America has swallowed the biggest lie of all– I trust in myself because I am good.

Never has there been worse blindness than that. Such people are clueless as to what faith is at all. Because there is no faith apart from a true objective basis of faith– the Word of God; and there is no object of faith that is credible and true except in one person– Christ Himself. The Bible is the only basis of faith and Christ is the only object of faith. Accordingly, true believers are the only ones who have any faith at all and are the only ones who can even talk about faith in a true way.

There is only one faith in existence- the faith once delivered to the saints; there is only one basis of faith– the Bible, and there is only one object of faith– not you, not me, not man, but Jesus Christ Himself. Faith doesn’t even exist apart from the exclusive reality of the Lord Jesus. Every person who has ever been on the planet is shut up in complete unbelief until he or she finds a resting place solely in Jesus Christ Himself, the only place for true faith.

Sorry, James; the hot tea was good, but the cup’s advertising fluff about faith is emptier than cotton candy. I’ll drink the tea, but not the faith you are spreading; I don’t want it because it’s not the faith of Jesus and it does not work– cannot work– in life, in death, or in eternity.

– Mack T.

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