A nebulous, changing, and relative expression of spirituality

JP: I had coffee with a friend at work this week. I dearly love this man and we have been friends for almost a decade. He said to me that from his view “all Christians and Muslims go to heaven”. Using my hands to mark points on the table, I said if Christianity says this, this and this about Jesus; and Islam (in the Koran) denies this, this and this about Jesus; both cannot be right. (The this this and this would be: His deity; the Trinity; His death, burial and resurrection). Below is a good read by Lee Duncan.

Cultural Faith: Is It Real?


Not that long ago “faith” was a word that described a particular set of doctrinal beliefs that identified a person’s convictions that affected their lives and decisions. People would claim a certain denomination or doctrinal view as “their faith,” determined by allegiance to some written authority or church teaching. Even though not everyone agreed what source was the ultimate authority, at least most people agreed that an outside source was needed as a basis of truth.

That is no longer the case in America. Today the term faith is used to say that a person believes in something of their own choosing; it does not rely on an external source but each creates his own truth.


Our modern American culture has changed faith into a personal, nebulous, changing, and relative expression of spirituality. Political candidates stand up and say, “I have faith and it is personal.” From the position of an outsider, one might conclude that almost every candidate is a Christian who is committed to God. However, after further review, their faith is often nothing more than an admission that they believe in something that they don’t want to talk about.

Unfortunately, that seems enough for the average citizen because to most Americans religion is personal and we certainly don’t want to pry! Modern Americans are willing to accept that one who has faith is religious, regardless of what that faith entails. In reality, to state that you have faith today simply means that you consider yourself a spiritual person and that you have the right to believe whatever you choose. Faith is without accountability.

Biblical faith is something altogether different; it is based on an outside authoritative source that identifies that truth comes from God and is totally consistent with His Word, the Bible. The essence of the word “faith” is that it is a belief or trust in a higher power. Faith is a moral and spiritual quality of fidelity to God and confidence in His Word. “Faith is not simply the assent of the intellect to revealed truth; it is the practical submission of the entire man to the guidance and control of such truth” (Unger, 1957, p. 341). “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Faith is based on evidence that we can’t see (Heb. 11:1) and is a gift from God. God grants faith and then sustains faith through His eternal power. True faith submits to the Word of God; it is God’s view that we follow, His Word that we obey, and His will that we seek.

Cultural faith is taking over America, but it is not genuine saving faith. Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6), God is the only source of truth (John 17:17), and God’s Word is His inspired message to mankind (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Unless faith is connected to these truths, then it is not faith at all.

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