Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

personal faith

1/13/12

A personal faith is a unique faith, one that originates within your own heart. You cannot inherit a personal faith; it is not the faith of your fathers. A personal faith in Jesus must come directly to you from Jesus, not through some intermediary. A personal faith is just that personal, unique, internally validated and empowering. What too often passes for a personal faith is the rote recitation of "items of faith" prescribed by those whose allegiance is to institutional religion. Institutional religion is the opposite of personal faith because it is inherently externally derived and therefore immensely impersonal. It is not really yours.

The idea that personal faith is unique in many ways eliminates the idea that your faith and mine must be the same for God to be pleased. God didn't create man in such diversity of backgrounds, intending that ultimately we would all have to arrive at the same place, at least not in the sense of religious doctrinal conformity. That is too preposterous an outcome to even contemplate. Only those in the church who believe that God doesn't care equally for all men could realistically believe in a personal faith which demands compliance with church doctrine. Everyday we see hard evidence that this sort of thinking promotes the harshest of self centered behaviors, individually and collectively.

A unique personal faith does not imply that it doesn't share some aspects with that of other people. It simply means that my faith results, in many ways, from my unique personal circumstances, which are not shared with any other human being in all of history.  A personal faith will have a degree of commonality with the faith of others, but the pathway which brought me to that end is mine alone.

The church in many cases claims to promote a personal faith in Jesus. What they really promote is a personal decision to embrace church dogma concerning Jesus. That is patently not the same as embracing Jesus personally. The last place anyone will develop a personal faith is within the halls of institutional religion, regardless of which one.

We needn't shun a personal faith, fearing God's displeasure. Instead what we can count on is His divine help in recognizing and embracing what is really true and transformative. If God is upset by those of us who seek the truth outside the auspices of the church, His desire that all men know what is true is highly questionable. Nothing about the church's message or tactics supports the contention that they and they alone disseminate God's own truth.

 

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