Is faith blind?

Is Faith Blind?
In every era, faith is put on trial and a verdict is demanded. Perhaps the most noted accusation against faith is that it is blind. By this, the accuser is suggesting that faith is contrary to reason and logic, that faith cannot be supported or proven. Therefore, since faith cannot be qualified by any measurable terms, those who say they have faith have no argument, thus they must only have “blind faith”. Yet, is that true? Is faith guilty of being blind?
H.L. Mencken, an American journalist in the 20th century, defined faith as “an illogical belief in the occurrence of the impossible”. It would seem that he agrees that faith is guilty of being blind. Furthermore, Richard Dawkins, one of the elite atheists of our day, wrote a book called God Delusion. In it, he claims faith opposes reason and he called faith a delusion. He describes faith as a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence.
So, is faith blind? Is faith a delusion? Perhaps the problem is a definition of terms. There is a vast difference between blind faith and biblical faith. Blind faith is faith in faith. Biblical faith is faith in God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Biblical faith is when faith and reason come together as partners. David Horner, a professor of philosophy, says “Faith and reason are friends and partners. They go together. They need each other and cannot flourish or even survive apart. Our faith should be a reasonable faith, and our reason should be a faithful reason…”
Biblical faith is greatly different from blind faith. Biblical faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 by stating, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (NASB) The word “assurance” could be translated as concrete, substance or confidence. The word “hoped” could be translated as fixed or expected. The word “conviction” could also be translated as proof or evidence. Realizing these multiple translations help us to see that faith is not blind. In fact, it sees so clearly that it can even see the invisible!
Realizing that faith is not blind allows us to “know” and “show” truth to a world prone to skepticism. During the infamous Age of Reason, Renee Descartes uttered his renowned statement, “Cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”). From his submission has risen an entire school of thought called “Cartesian Doubt”. In this school of thought, pupils are taught to question and doubt everything.
The reality is that this can be a healthy exercise, so long as reason does not become blind like faith is for some. By this, I mean that sometimes those who cling to reason and logic become blind when the supernatural occurs. This is the same response as those who have blind faith when reason and logic are introduced. Faith and reason are not contrary to one another, instead, they complement one another. Each helps the other to see clearly so that there is neither blind faith nor blind reason.
Accepting the truth, we come to the realization that the Holy Spirit helps us with knowing truth. Argument and evidence help us with showing the truth. The Holy Spirit aids our “knowing”; argument and evidence aid our “showing”. The atheists and evolutionists wring their hands striving to find the “missing link” that holds their universe together, while the Christian can clap his hands in praise of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
Finally, we come to one final thought concerning the subject of faith. How is it possible for there to be such a cataclysmic difference in understanding between those who exercise faith and those who embrace reason? The answer to this question, in my estimation, is an argument of evidence versus circumstance.
The truth is that both the creationist and the evolutionist have the same evidence to work with, yet they have a different outcome. How is this possible? It is because of perspective and prejudice based on circumstance. I have discovered that most people who reject faith have done so because of a perspective or prejudice they have developed due to an issue in life. It could have been the circumstance of the death of a loved one, a disease or a traumatic experience. For others, it is a circumstance of pride that puffs up intellect beyond reason.
On the other hand, some claim faith but their faith is blind. In essence, they have faith in faith. They reject reason at the sake of their faith being blind. To those this applies to, I challenge you to remember that Jesus shared in the Great Commandment that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, MIND and strength. (emphasis mine)
To love God with all our mind means to love God with all our intellectual capacity. We must not have blind faith; instead, we must have biblical faith. We must have confidence that the God of creation is able to marry faith and reason without contradiction.
Is faith blind? It doesn’t have to be. Biblical faith sees so clearly, it can even see the invisible!

Dr. Travis W. Farris

How To Start A Fire With Wet Wood

“Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God.” ( 1 Kings 18:37-39 NASB)

Along the Mediterranean coastline of Israel to the north, there is a parcel of land that jettisons out into the sea. From an aerial view, it makes a thumb-like figure in the silhouette of Israel’s border. This unique geographical idiosyncrasy makes up the biblical location of Mt. Carmel.

When you observe the coastline, Mt. Carmel breaks up the monotony of Israel’s coastline. It also brought about a major change in the spiritual monotony Israel experienced during the days of Elijah.

It was upon this mountain that Elijah revealed a phenomenon of starting a fire with wet wood that would spark a revival in the lives of God’s people. For several years the children of Israel succumb to chasing after the world’s god, Baal. He appealed to them and was attractive to worship because he was thought to bring fertility to the land and to their families.

Strangely, he (Baal) was the opposite of what the Israelites had understood about Yahweh because He had been associated with the desert. You can see why a god like Baal was appealing if you had been associated with the Desert God, Yahweh. It also made sense because where Baal was being served was located in the lush green area of Galilee.

The temptation to follow such a god like Baal overtook Israel as they began to give in to the seduction of this Canaanite god. Little did they know, that God would prove to them who really provided the rain. So, God sent Elijah to rebuke King Ahab and to reveal that it would not rain for what would ultimately become the space of 3 1/2 years.

It would ultimately be upon Mt. Carmel that Elijah, God’s man would contend with the prophets of Baal. The contest would prove who is truly the God that can provide life. Elijah was a gentleman and allowed the prophets of Baal to cry out first according to 1st Kings 18, but he would then exploit their ignorance and powerlessness by proving the power of God.

Elijah upon Mt. Carmel taught the Canaanites and the Israelites how to start a fire with wet wood. We, perhaps, could learn this lesson as well in a day of spiritual drought and desperate need for revival.

3 Ingredients Needed to Start a Fire with Wet Wood.

  1. Ingredient #1 – Fiery Faith
    1. According to 1st Kings 18:21-24 Elijah had a fiery faith to challenge the prophets of Baal. He had faith to believe first that Baal would fail. He then had bold faith to believe God would succeed.
  2. Ingredient #2 – Fervent Prayer
    1. We then see that Elijah prayed a fervent prayer to God in faith. We read in 1st Kings 18:36-37
      1. At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. 37 “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.”
  3. Ingredient #3 – Flaming Obedience
    1. Finally, in 1st Kings 18:36b we observe Elijah’s obedience, ” …today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word.” (Emphasis mine)

I am persuaded that if we are going to experience a revival like Elijah and see the presence of God fall in our lives we must indeed have these three ingredients. So, let us press on and let the fire fall!

The Seven Deadly Sins

There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers. (Emphasis mine) ( Proverbs 6:16-19 NASB)

In the region of Samaria, there are two mountains that tower upward toward heaven. If you are looking to the east Mt. Ebal would rises 3,083 feet above sea level to your left, while to your right stands Mt. Gerizim stretching 2,889 feet above sea level (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016.)

The significance of these two towering mountains is both historical and spiritual. They are separated at their peeks by more than a mile and a half, while their bases are but five hundred yards apart. The natural lay of the land, as a result, produces the effects of an amphitheater. This proves important because upon these mountains is where Joshua shared with the Israelites the “blessing” and “curse” according to Moses.

The blessing would be proclaimed from Mt. Gerizim, while the curse would be proclaimed from Mt. Ebal. The message God gave Moses to share in Deuteronomy 30 revealed that God had set before His people blessing and curse, life and death. The encouragement was to CHOOSE LIFE!

While the context of this event may be different than the present topic of discussion in our nation, the exhortation is the same. Life is precious in the eyes of God, who is, after all, the Creator of life. The One who is the Lifegiver has declared that He has created us imago dei, in His own image.

Yet, there are many who advocate today for abortion, which results in the slaughter of millions of innocent lives. This choice that is presumed is a freedom that was never theirs in the first place. God is the author of life, not man. Many instances to support abortion have been offered. Evaluate for yourself these examples someone before me has shared:

Finances

A preacher and his wife are poor. They already have 14 kids. Now she finds out she’s pregnant with her 15th. They’re living in tremendous poverty. Considering their poverty and the excessive world population, would you consider recommending she get an abortion?

  • Now, this is a reasonable consideration since statistics show that 66% of people who have an abortion say it is because they cannot afford a child.

Health Risk

The father is sick with sniffles, the mother has TB. They have 4 children. The 1st is blind, the 2nd is dead, the 3rd is deaf and the 4th has TB. She finds out she’s pregnant again. Given the extreme situation, would you consider recommending abortion?

  • This is considerable because 4% have had doctors say that the mother’s health may be adversely affected
  • C. Everett Koop, M.D., formerly the Surgeon General, stated that during his 35-plus years of practicing medicine, “Never once did a case come across my practice where abortion was necessary to save a mother’s life.” 

Tragedy

A white man raped a 13-year-old black girl and she becomes pregnant. If you were her parents, would you consider recommending abortion?

  • This comprises about 1% of all abortions

Accident

A teenage girl is pregnant. She’s not married but engaged, however, her fiancée is not the father of the baby, and he’s very upset. Would you consider recommending abortion?

  • Now, this is one that is particularly disturbing. On the home page of planned parenthood, there is the message that state, “Accidents Happen.” If you are under 18, your state may require one or both of your parents to give permission for your abortion or be told of your decision prior to the abortion. However, in most states, you can ask a judge to excuse you from these requirements.

It is important for you to know that each of these examples is real-life situations that have occurred. If you chose yes to any of these examples it is important for you to know how you have changed history.

  1. In the first case, you have just killed John Wesley. One of the great evangelists of the 19th century.
  2. In the second case, you have killed Beethoven.
  3. In the third case, you have killed Ethel Waters, the great black gospel singer.
  4. If you said “yes” to the fourth case, you have just murdered Jesus.

Mark A. Hassler, “Ebal, Mount,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

Pressing on…our mission!

The Gates of Hell (Pagan Belief) at Caesarea Philippi

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (Matthew 16:13 NASB)

It is no coincidence that Jesus asked the question, “Who do people say that the Son of man is?” at the specific location of Caesarea Philippi. This strategic location was a worship center in the land of Israel during the days of Jesus.

It was here that there was pagan worship of the Greek god of the wild, Pan. This was also the location of worship of Baal, as well as, the place where Herod built a temple to worship Caesar August (emperor worship).

It was in this location of diverse worship that Jesus asked His disciples who “people” or society said He was among the many gods of that day. Their reply was noble but not accurate. Some said He was John the Baptist, which was a man revered as a prophet. Others said He was Jeremiah, Elijah or one of the other prophets, again a noble gesture, yet inaccurate. In other words, He was just another prophet, man or rabbi.

In turn, Jesus responds with a probing question to His disciples, “But who do YOU say that I am?” (Emphasis Mine). In this text, the “YOU” is plural, indicating He is asking the entire group, who they testify that He is. Peter, as the spokesperson, then replies that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

This admission of Jesus’ identity becomes a monumental event in the Christian faith because Jesus then reveals the reality of the ecclesia, the Church! This is the first time the concept of the church had even been mentioned. The disciples knew and understood the idea of the Congregation of Israel, but this concept of the “called out” church was unheard of.

This new word, ecclesia, (church) would be used 112 more times throughout the pages of the New Testament. Yet, here is where it was initiated and in turn, Jesus proclaimed that He would build His church and the gates of Hades would not prevail against.

It is yet again not a coincidence that Jesus made this statement in this location. It was in this same location that pagans had built temples at the entrance of a cave that was said to be “The Gates of Hell”.

There is a lesson to be learned from this event in biblical history. Jesus had made a proclamation that He would build His church and that nothing would prevent it from accomplishing His perfect purpose. Now, nearly two millenniums later, the church is still moving forward. We have a mission and we must not lose hope, so, LET US PRESS ON!