Much confusion has been spawned by use of the term “person of faith.” The phrase has now entered our cultural parlance, and the term has become a neutral shorthand for the secular media. No doubt, the term serves a purpose–referring to persons whose worldview commitments are based in some form of a theological truth claim. Nevertheless, the term probably confuses more than it clarifies. From a biblical perspective, faith is measured by its object. The Bible is concerned with faith in Christ, not some vague faith without an object. In today’s theological confusion, this is often lost on the public–and on an alarming number of Christians. Several years ago, Britain’s perfectly postmodern Prince Charles told interviewer Jonathan Dimbleby that he would reject the traditional throne language used in the British coronation ceremony, rejecting “Defender of the Faith” in favor of “Defender of Faith.” No specific faith, you understand. Every individual is a person of some faith, even if that faith is secular, agnostic, or atheistic. All persons operate out of some basic framework of beliefs and understanding of reality. In essence, that is their faith. Saving faith is faith in Christ. God reveals Himself to be very unimpressed with “faith” without the proper object. After all, Elijah did not greet the pagan prophets at Mount Carmel as fellow “prophets of faith.” [See 1 Kings 18:20-40]. Can we come up with a more helpful terminology? Something more consistent with the Gospel?
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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