What Kind of “Faith” Do You Have? (part two)

Read this to see part one.

2. Faith as Fiducia:  There is no close word for faith as fiducia in English except for perhaps “fiduciary,” which doesn’t get us very close.  Fiducia is faith as  radical “trust” in God.  IT DOES NOT MEAN TRUSTING IN THE TRUTH OF A SET OF STATEMENTS ABOUT GOD.  That would simply be assensus under a different name.

Faith as trust is like floating in a deep ocean.  That metaphor comes from 19th century Christian existentialist Soren Kierkegaard.  Faith is like floating in 70,000 fathoms of water.  If you struggle, if you tense up and thrash about, you will eventually sink.  But if you relax and trust, you will float.  It’s like the story of Peter walking on the water with Jesus–when he began to be afraid and take his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink.  Faith as trust is trusting in the buoyancy of God.  A biblical metaphor that fits fiducia would be trusting God as our Rock or Fortress.  We trust in God as the one we rely on.  He is our foundation and safe place.

The opposite of faith as fiducia is not doubt or disbelief, but mistrust.  More provocatively, its opposite is “anxiety” or “worry.”  Little faith and anxiety go together.  If you are anxious, you have little faith.  Thus we can measure our degree of faith as trust by the amount of anxiety in our lives.  Can you see why faith as radical trust has great transforming power?

3. Faith as Fidelitas: The closest English equivalent is faith as “fidelity.”  This is faith as “faithfulness” to our relationship with God.  It means what faithfulness is supposed to be in a marriage: we are faithful to our spouse.  Faith as fidelity means loyalty, allegiance, the commitment of self at the deepest level, the commitment of the “heart.”

Faith as fidelitas  does not mean faithfulness to STATEMENTS ABOUT GOD.  Its opposite is not doubt or disbelief.  Rather, as in a human relationship, its opposite is infidelity.  The Bible uses the metaphor of adultery.  Another vivid biblical term for infidelity to God is idolatry.  Faith as fidelity is the meaning of the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.”  It is the meaning of the Great Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”  Of course that is also closely followed by the command to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Therefore, to be faithful to God means not only to love God, but to love that which God loves–namely, your neighbor, and indeed the whole of creation.  Faith as fidelitas thus includes an ethical imperative.

Hope to finish this series of posts tomorrow…but start answering, “What does my ‘faith’ look like most of the time?  Assensus (you’ve just agreed with principles and truths about God), fiducia, or fidelitas?

One thought on “What Kind of “Faith” Do You Have? (part two)

  1. Pingback: What Kind of “Faith” Do You Have? (part 3) « Small Town Pastor

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