Biblical Versus Magical Faith

Greg Boyd is talking about doubt as he prepares to write "Benefit of the Doubt", a new book on faith and doubt.
Here are a few excerpts from his posts titled "Biblical Versus Magical Faith" and "Rethinking Our View of Faith" ...
The certainty-seeking, doubt-shunning model of faith reduces faith to mental gimmickry.

The certainty-seeking model of faith is irrational.

The doubt-shunning model of faith is not concerned with truth.

Many Christian’s model of faith is closer to magic than the biblical understanding of faith.

The model of faith that encourages people to shun doubt and strive for certainty
makes a virtue out of a non-virtuous behavior.
I agree with Greg when he says "magic is about engaging in behaviors that ultimately benefit the practitioner while biblical faith is about cultivating a relationship with God that is built on mutual trust." Not that I am not interested in a magical miracle. I shared about wanting a Powerball type event three years ago in a post titled "The Miracle Lottery".


  1. I have a friend who believes in that magical faith to the extreme. She's bought into the word of faith teaching and believes that all she has to do is speak what she expects God to do for her and it will be done. The interesting thing is that a lot of things haven't happened that way, and she still doesn't see the fallacy in that kind of thinking. I'm praying for God to bring her out of that.

    1. I once embraced a form of that Fred. Not seeing results gets old after a while.

    2. It does...get old. But what do we make of the things Jesus said about it? You mentioned that He spoke in hyperbole, which I agree with too, but it does make it hard to make sense of scripture in some ways. I went into dispensational type theology pretty heavily for quite some time thinking that to be one way to reconcile it- Jesus was speaking to the nation of Israel, not to us, so these things are not "for" today.

      Faith truly is a gift, because it just doesn't make sense most of the time- and I'm grateful to be given faith.

    3. Mostly I like to navigate the scriptures a bit grayer than the black and white ways that I used to Ma. It is a bit more difficult (I love the black and white!) but so much more interesting. :)


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