Thursday, August 2, 2012

What is the "Second" Faith?

It was always my understanding when I embraced conditional time salvation that there were two kinds of faith.  There was what we call seed faith, sometimes referred to as embryonic, subconscious, or vital faith.  And then there was what we call evangelical faith.  The first one came in regeneration and was necessary for eternal salvation.  This was the kind of faith under consideration when addressing those biblical passages which joined faith with salvation, but could not possibly be squeezed into the time salvation framework.  The second one was wrought through the gospel, and deemed not necessary for eternal salvation based on established anti-means premises.  The “regenerate” child of God who just happens to hear the gospel, conditionalism saying there is no guarantee that he shall, would now believe evangelically what he had already “believed” subconsciously.

Describing the two faiths of Hardshellism this way, though, actually must be questioned.  I think some have seen how this idea of subconscious faith presents the problem of hollow-log regeneration.  They have correctly concluded that SOMETHING certainly happens when a sinner is regenerated.  Yet in order to avoid the hated alternative of evangelical faith, a compromise position is held which contends for a cognitive yet non-evangelical faith, in which the regenerated sinner does in fact know and believe Christ, but not through gospel instrumentality.  In this scenario, God may be said to simply zap the person to be illuminated. Even this, however, may not be the most accurate way to describe it, as some say that this too may be looked at as evangelical faith, with the point made that it is Jesus himself directly preaching the gospel to the sinner in regeneration.

This is a middle ground position between extreme Hardshellism, which calls for a complete separation of the objective fact of salvation from its subjective experience, and the means pattern of salvation taught in Calvinism.  It allows for its proponents to avoid hollow-log regeneration, yet at the same time contend that all the regenerate shall be converted, with the understanding that such conversion transpires by the direct preaching and/or revelation of Christ to the individual.
I hope to write more on this idea of ALL the elect being ”non-evangelically converted” in the future, yet for now let me just look exclusively at this view of their being two kinds of faith.  With the idea of some that there is a cognitive yet non-evangelical faith given in regeneration common to the elect, the traditional teaching that there are “two kinds” of faith is in need of clarifying.  Should seed faith give place to this cognitive non-evangelical kind as faith number two?  Or should two faiths be discarded altogether, under the argument that evangelical faith is not different from seed faith, but simply an extension of it?  Regardless of the answer, here are the possibilities and a short description of the kinds of faith that now lay on the table.  Within this system it may be said that the regenerated sinner has:
1) Subconscious faith:  This is the most extreme position, yet remains true to the premise (a faulty one) of conditional time salvation which calls for a complete separation of the objective fact of salvation from it subjective experience.  Under this idea, the "regenerated" sinner does not know or believe in Christ on a conscious level.
2) Cognitive non-evangelical/Christ-evangelical faith:  This is a moderate position, doubtless held by those who see the error of the extreme view above.  It maintains that the "regenerated" sinner does consciously know and believe in Christ.  This he receives by direct revelation, or what might be described as Christ himself preaching the gospel to the sinner.
One of these two possibilities is given in order to avoid the position that the average Christian reader sees when he reads the Bible:
Evangelical cognitive faith.  People come to know and believe in Christ by exposure to the gospel.
The average reader may be puzzled by what we have written, being not aware of the hewing and hacking which this system does to the Bible.  Perhaps, therefore, it will be best to look at an example from scripture which demonstrates the possibilities which now exist when “faith” passages are interpreted in the light of this heresy.
Galatian 3:26 reads:
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
Here the Apostle Paul plainly yokes the subject of faith with that of salvation.  With the multiple kinds of faith available, as invented by time salvation though, one of two things could be maintained.  It could be argued that men become children of God by having subconscious faith, being thus read as:
“For ye are all the children of God by faith below consciousness (i.e. seed) in Christ Jesus.”
Or, it could by claimed that men are children of God by having cognitive yet non-evangelical faith, being read as:
For ye are all the children of God by cognitive non-evangelical faith in Christ Jesus.”

Unless it was argued that Christ himself preaches the gospel to the sinner in regeneration, at which point it would be understood as:

For ye are all the children of God by cognitive evangelical faith, in which Jesus is the preacher.”
This wiggle room exists because of the latitude which comes with espousing the time salvation system, wherein its buzzwords have been given multiple definitions.  In order to be upheld, the heresy has no choice but to say there’s two kinds of this, and two kinds of that.  Nor should this example from scripture be thought of as an isolated occurrence.  In every single text in the Bible where faith is connected to eternal salvation, this room for interpretation is rendered available.  The advocate of time salvation has at his disposal two interpretations to which he may align himself, either one granting an escape from that position which says that saving faith comes through the gospel. Where things really get confusing, though, is when “faith” passages are mentioned in connection with other doctrines, such as justification and condemnation.  These too have been given multiple definitions!!  How many available interpretations are there then? This we hope to look at in our next posting.
So, in summary then, I have to ask.  According to conditional time salvation, what constitutes the second kind of faith, apart from evangelical faith?

Is it subconscious faith, or cognitive non-evangelical faith?  Despite their being lack of agreement on the answer, there is definite concurrence against what is rightly understood by most of Christendom, both Calvinists and Arminians alike: faith in Christ comes by exposure to the gospel. 

But that's all that really matters to be considered "in good standings".

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