Sunday, October 29, 2006

Triune Faith

Considering the classical definition of faith (notitia, assensus, and fiducia) in the light of both Gordon Clark's formulation (n, a, f as a subset of a), and John Ball's answer to Why does the Covenant of Works not require faith but obedience?, several points come to mind:

a) Adam had both knowledge and agreement concerning the facts of His creation.
b) Adam was expected (via a pointed lesson) to show his trust by obeying.
c) Prior to his fall, Adam was trusting (dependent on) God.
d) The cause of his (our) Fall was his turning away (rebelling) from God, and trusting in himself.

So, despite Clark's seeming semantics, I believe that (along with orthodoxy) notitia and assensus must be conjoined with fiducia in order for saving faith to exist. Adam didn't lose (a); he apostatized by redirecting his trust. Thus, we too must have all three components of faith. God tried his creation, whether they would freely trust Him (live and move, and have their being - mental, physical, and spiritual). Man, though created righteous, was not infallible, was not perfect; in short, was not God! Thank God for the Covenant of Redemption, wherein a people where chosen. Unless the Holy Spirit regenerate the elect, we would not be able to enjoy the triune faith (in our triune God). Let the Bride of Christ thankfully rejoice in the quikening and sustaining power of the Holy Spirit working in them to do His pleasure. Let us cry out Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief!

See: John Ball - A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace [1645], p. 12.
Gordon H. Clark - Today's Evangelism: Counterfeit or Genuine?, Chapter 6: Faith

Monday, October 23, 2006

Experential Faith

In discussing Calvin's concept of assurance of faith, Joel Beeke highlights an issue which I both gleaned from Jonathan Edwards and understand the FRC seeks to promote: Experential faith, based on the Word, is both a necessary and valid aspect of the Christian life.

Thus, bare experience (nuda experentia) is not Calvin's goal, but experience grounded in the Word, flowing out of the fulfillment of the Word. Experimental knowledge of the Word is essential. For Calvin, two kinds of knowledge are needed: knowledge by faith (scientia fidei) that is received from the Word, "though it is not yet fully revealed," and the knowledge of experience (scientia experentiae) "springing from the fulfilling of the Word." The Word of God is primary to both, for experience teaches us to know God as He declares Himself to be in His Word. Experience not consonant with Scripture is never experience of true faith. In short, though the believer's experience of true faith is far weaker than he desires [for assurance purposes], there is an essential unity in the Word between faith's perception (the ought-to dimension of faith) and experience (the is dimension of faith).
- Puritan Reformed Spirituality, p.40.