Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

General discussions about Christianity including salvation, heaven and hell, Christian history and so on.
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Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#1

Post by Frogsterking » Sun May 13, 2012 7:31 am

This is a question from another topic I found.
RickD wrote:
I don't really understand the argument that because I no longer have faith in God, that I wasn't a true Christian to begin with. There are a few pastors of 30 years out there that have also "lost their faith." How do you determine if someone is a "true Christian."? If they believe, they are. If they ever lose their faith, they are not? That's absurd. Are you saying there is nothing that could possibly happen that could change your mind on the subject? I may be atheist now, but I can assure if evidence presented itself, I would be first in line to admit I was wrong and change my mind.
Pierson5, I'll try to keep this simple, and to the point. The way I see it, there are 2 possibilities.

1). You have a true, saving faith in Jesus Christ. You have the indwelling Holy Spirit of God inside you, sealing your salvation in Christ for eternity. You drifted away from God, and He is calling you back to His loving arms.

Or

2). You never had a saving faith in Christ, but maybe just a intellectual belief in Him.

You need to find out for yourself, where you are. If you ever had the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, He will never leave you. Maybe God led you here, and is waiting patiently for you to come back to Him.
Are both intellectual believers and those with faith saved, or just those with faith?

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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#2

Post by neo-x » Sun May 13, 2012 7:42 am

Anyone who believes in Christ as his saviour, is saved.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#3

Post by Jac3510 » Sun May 13, 2012 9:43 am

We've had some very long, drawn out, heated discussions on this board about this issue. I would just like to make a couple of observations:

1. In the exchange you quoted, the real idea being debated is called the Final Perseverance of the Saints. That is a particular theological position that some accept and some don't. The idea there is that if a person really believes, then God will preserve them in faith and good works until the end of their life. Proponents of a strong view make that perseverance non-interruptable, meaning that any falling away is proof that faith was not genuine. The more common view is a weaker one (weaker, not intellectually, but in the sense of severity), which allows for backsliding in faith and/or works, and perhaps even periods of disbelief, but asserts that in the end, genuine believers will "recover."

That, of course, raises the question how we know whether or not our faith is genuine. There is a lot of debate on that. Frankly, I'm of the opinion that there is no way to know, and every argument I've ever seen to try to provide assurance fails for me. But then, I don't hold to FPS, either.

2. The use of the term "intellecual belef" is also a particular theological position that some accept and some don't. The Bible does not use the term. It simply says "everyone who believes has eternal life" (John 6:47). However, it is a historical and biblical fact--not to mention one we all can attest to--that there are people who profess belief but have "nothing to show for it" (which typically relates to moral and religious habits--on the flipside, it's also a historical and biblica fact--not to mention one that we all can probably attest to--that there are people who have excellent moral and religious habits that either do not profess faith or will be found wanting on the day of judgment). There is only three logical possibilities with reference to these professors and their relationship to faith

a) They have no faith, contrary to their claims, either because they are lying or are mistaken
b) They have an intellectual faith, but such a faith is to be distinguished from genuine faith
c) They have real faith that is simply not being manifested in moral and religious habit

The second option is the one in question here. It is usually held by FPS advocates, since they believe that all true believers wil behave in a certain manner (either habitually or at least finally) and they cannot or do not challenge these professors' truthfulness in their claims to theological belief. I just want to emphasize, again, that this is a theological position. The Bible, again, does not use the term. Perhaps that is the correct understanding, but perhaps it is not. Those who think that intellectual belief cannot save bear the burden of demonstrating from Scripture both a distinction in intellectual and genuine faith as well as the validity of FPS. They think they can do both. I do not.

My own view would be (c) above. I reject FPS but do not think that people who lose their faith or do not "put their faith to work" in moral or religious action therefore lose their salvation or demonstrate that their faith is not genuine. I think, for instance, the Pharisees in John 12:42 were just as saved as anyone else (as was Simon the Sorcerer to take another example; and Lot, to take an OT example).

So -- bottom line:

The question asked--does intellectual faith save--presupposes at least two highly debatable (and debated) theological positions: a) the validity of FPS, and 2) the distinction between intellectual and genuine faith. As I reject both positions, I think neo's statement above is absolutely accurate. Anyone and everyone who believes in Christ as Savior is saved. Or, to put it still more clearly

"These things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:31)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#4

Post by domokunrox » Mon May 14, 2012 3:21 am

I view this question completely different here. Metaphysics need to be done in order to clarify the question.

"Intellectual belief" needs to be defined. For example, it presupposes that the following "belief" in question is "intellectually" valid. It also, presupposes that the following "belief" in question is part of valid knowledge. Not just merely a belief. For example, I can have an "intellectual belief" in Santa clause, so should I therefore assume I examined evidence of my knowledge of Santa clause properly? Propositions were correctly understood? Contextually, I properly understood those propositions?

If it is therefore in my understanding, should my intellectual belief mean that I'll have my present under my tree on Christmas day?

Knowledge fits criteria
Knowledge is A) a belief that is B) true, and C) has warrant.

Now, I know someone probably is saying, well, of course the bible is true, and we have plenty of warrant for a belief. 3:16 isn't ambiguous in any way and that's valid knowledge, and it has to be true.

Great! I am glad you have knowledge of a valid proposition, however, are you going to say the same thing to someone who only has knowledge of Romans 10:13?

Here (NASB)Romans 10:13
for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."

The problem is that these are 2 contrary ideas. One proposition states that you are saved on the basis of belief in Jesus Christ, and the other states you are saved on the basis of calling on the name of the Lord.

So, simply as a demonstration, the proposition on which action is required on your behalf to be "saved" needs to be contextually understood. Not cherry picked to simply satisfy you or how you want to live your life. Cherry picking fallacies are intellectually dishonest for the Christian as well as the non-Christian.

So, where is this all going?

Well, no need to open a can of worms here. I am just going to state that based on my knowledge, "belief" in Jesus Christ is only step 2 out of 5. However, belief is the most difficult step, and thankfully steps 3-5 are so easy for the supposed believer in question.

On the question of "faith".

Faith as I understand in the bible is demonstrated quite a bit throughout the bible.
There is a saving faith, and then there's faith that wont save you. If you have that saving faith, that's something I cannot determine. What I do know about faith from experience and my knowledge of the bible is that saving faith has always demonstrated itself to act in obidence to our Lord.

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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#5

Post by Canuckster1127 » Mon May 14, 2012 5:31 am

Knowing in the Bible in this context has a different sense and element to it than just intellectual knowledge. There is a relational sense that ties back to the Hebrew language even when things are being discussed in the NT in Greek. Passages appear in places to clarify and appeal to the fact that demons have an intellectual knowledge of who Christ is and that He is the Son of God, but clearly that doesn't change their position of opposition and enmity against Him and the Kingdom of God.

People in the Old Testament who are listed in Hebrews 11 had less intellectual knowledge of Christ (obviously because He was not yet come) but they had faith in God and we're told that God counted that to them as righteousness. Unless you believe children and the mentally incapacitated can go to hell and are not saved, if they are in fact saved, they are saved in Jesus Christ without necessarily having a cogent and formed intellectual knowledge of Christ, at least this side of the grave. There are some as well who believe in degrees of what is called inclusivism (which is not universalism) who believe that God may save people who haven't heard the gospel message or the name of Jesus Christ but who through the revelation that they have (nature and their conscience as noted in Romans 1 and 2) have sought after God and God may count that in their individual cases as righteousness as He did in a similar manner to those in Old Testament times. Their salvation would still be in Christ and through Christ alone. That makes some uncomfortable (and I'm just offering it as an explaination, not an endorsement) but then it begs the question as to why that would be offensive if those outside of an age of accountibility can be saved too. Most of us, hold some level of belief that there will be at least some saved who had no intellectual belief.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#6

Post by Jac3510 » Mon May 14, 2012 6:31 am

domokunrox wrote:Knowledge fits criteria
Knowledge is A) a belief that is B) true, and C) has warrant.
I think Gettier proved this to be an invalid criteria. I know you tend to side with the analytical philosophers, but enough of them allow for hylomorphism that there is room in your tradition to agree that knowledge actually ought to be understood as the mind's apprehension of a form (which includes formal words, that as opposed to conventional words external to the mind or phantasms internal to it).

edit: I'd also suggest reading through Thaetetus. It's rather easy, actually entertaining since it is the form of a dialogue, and useful to the discussion since Socrates ends the account by poking holes in the JTB notion of knowledge. That's all just to say that the problem isn't original with Gettier. Gettier's specific version is original with him, but the fact that the JTB notion is inadequate is something we've known for over two thousands years.
Last edited by Jac3510 on Mon May 14, 2012 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#7

Post by Dallas » Mon May 14, 2012 7:25 am

There's a difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing who He was, is and is to come. For instance: many people know "about" Jesus, but that doesn't mean they are saved. It's a heart problem, not a mental problem.
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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#8

Post by Jac3510 » Mon May 14, 2012 8:04 am

Fine and well, Dallas, but that doesn't seem to address the question. For to know about something is a question of knowledge, of fact. Neither the Bible nor the OP suggest that we are saved by the knowledge of Christ, but in both that we are saved by the belief in Christ. So the question is if there is such a thing as intellectual belief (versus, apparently, genuine belief, and perhaps other kinds, which the OP did not specify). If all the OP means by "intellectual belief" is mere "knowledge," then the obvious answer is "knowledge of Christ is a necessary, though insufficient, condition for salvation." But that would prove to be a rather trivial question, since, again, no one sense the Gnostics have argued that knowledge is sufficient to save.

I take it then, on the principle of charity, that the OP was trying to address two kinds of beliefs itself. If so, then while your distinction between knowing about Christ and believing in Him is perfectly true and acceptable, it is a distinction between knowledge and faith, whereas the OP is interested in the distinction between two kinds of faith--if such distinctions exist at all, and if so, if the intellectual type is sufficient for salvation--and as such does not help answer the original question.

At least, so far as I understand things . . .
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#9

Post by RickD » Mon May 14, 2012 8:31 am

Here's what Charles Stanley has to say, FWIW:http://www.intouch.org/resources/sermon ... on_outline
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#10

Post by jlay » Mon May 14, 2012 9:46 am

I think one of the problems is how we use the word "belief/believe" today. As Dom points at, is a belief in Santa Claus the same? A child can be perfectly convinced that a fat man in a red suit brings them presents. And as Jac points out, is 'intellectual belief' a thing, or a different thing than genuine belief. it is not a person's level of belief that saves them, but the object of belief. I would say everyone is equally able to believe. Calvinists make a fundemental error in defining faith. In their opinion, if atomement is universal, and yet only some believe, then belief is something we can personally take credit for.

When Paul charged the jailer, "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved..." he wasn't asking if he only knew some facts about Jesus. The jailer was asking about what he needed to resolve the issue of salvation. "Sirs, what must i do to be saved?" I know people have debated just what the jailer was seeking salvation from, but I think we can safely say that because of the reasons of Paul's imprisonment and their singing through the night, that the jailer knew. Those facts became an issue of personal revelation and need. He KNEW/BELIEVED he needed saving.

Belief in this case was to certainly believe on the life and work of Christ, and to believe on it as a means to save one's self, which of course reveals that the jailer knew he needed saving. If one is believing Jesus is the savior, then are they not also equally believing that they need saving? for example, if one rejects the notion that they are a sinner, can they be saved by a knowledge of the facts, or even accepting them? No, it's a logical contradiction. For one to trust that Jesus is the Son of God, then one also trust that He is savior of the world. Knowing oneself as sinner is the natural result or even presursor to knowing Him as Savior. One can know they are a sinner prior to knowing about Christ. And one can know about Christ without knowing they are a sinner. But I don't see how one can beleive on Christ without both. John 16:8 alludes to a general and universal work of the spirit in regards to showing all their need of saving.

Jac and I have had talks before about easy believism, which isn't belief at all, but twist belief into something it isn't, a work. Pray this prayer, repeat this, walk the isle, etc.. often times we see a person brought to conviction as a sinner, and instead of being told to trust in Christ alone, they are told to pray, confess, be baptized, etc.
In many cases we have a common issue of one growing up 'churched.' It is hard to believe that someone can grow up in a church, know all kinds of bible facts, have been baptized, confirmed, etc. but never have actually trusted Christ. And so this brings up a fundemental question, "What is a Christian?" If someone tells me, "I am/was a Christian" I am tempted to always ask them, "What do you mean by that?" Just because they say, "I used to beleive all that," doesn't mean they were believers.

Sure, we can break it down philosophically with metaphysics and hylemorphism and such, but one doesn't ever need know any of that to be saved. Not one iota. We can over complicate a simple thing such as faith.
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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#11

Post by neo-x » Mon May 14, 2012 11:21 am

Sure, we can break it down philosophically with metaphysics and hylemorphism and such, but one doesn't ever need know any of that to be saved. Not one iota. We can over complicate a simple thing such as faith.
well said J, :clap:
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#12

Post by Byblos » Mon May 14, 2012 12:24 pm

jlay wrote:Calvinists make a fundemental error in defining faith. In their opinion, if atomement is universal, and yet only some believe, then belief is something we can personally take credit for.
Not sure how you can possibly come to such a conclusion when Calvinists state no such thing. In fact they go to great lengths to dispel any notion of self-credit from the equation to the point that they define faith itself as a gift from God. But perhaps a point for a different thread.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#13

Post by RickD » Mon May 14, 2012 12:47 pm

Byblos wrote:
jlay wrote:Calvinists make a fundemental error in defining faith. In their opinion, if atomement is universal, and yet only some believe, then belief is something we can personally take credit for.
Not sure how you can possibly come to such a conclusion when Calvinists state no such thing. In fact they go to great lengths to dispel any notion of self-credit from the equation to the point that they define faith itself as a gift from God. But perhaps a point for a different thread.
Byblos, I had to read what jlay wrote, a few times to get what he was saying. Jlay is correct. Since calvinists dont believe in universal atonement, I believe jlay is saying that Calvinists say those that believe in universal atonement, yet not all believe, then belief is something that we can take credit for. Danny always asked me how if I believed in universal atonement, and not all believe on Christ, why do those who believe, believe. What makes them special?
Read what jlay said, again. It makes sense.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#14

Post by RickD » Mon May 14, 2012 12:51 pm

In other words, Byblos, calvinists say that if we believe in universal atonement, yet not everyone believes, then belief is something we can personally take credit for.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

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Re: Are those with an intellectual belief saved?

#15

Post by Reactionary » Mon May 14, 2012 12:51 pm

jlay wrote:Jac and I have had talks before about easy believism, which isn't belief at all, but twist belief into something it isn't, a work. Pray this prayer, repeat this, walk the isle, etc.. often times we see a person brought to conviction as a sinner, and instead of being told to trust in Christ alone, they are told to pray, confess, be baptized, etc.
In many cases we have a common issue of one growing up 'churched.' It is hard to believe that someone can grow up in a church, know all kinds of bible facts, have been baptized, confirmed, etc. but never have actually trusted Christ. And so this brings up a fundemental question, "What is a Christian?" If someone tells me, "I am/was a Christian" I am tempted to always ask them, "What do you mean by that?" Just because they say, "I used to beleive all that," doesn't mean they were believers.
I haven't yet written regarding salvation ever since I joined this forum, so let me share a few thoughts.

I agree with Jlay about the phenomenon of being "churched". In a predominantly Catholic society in which I've been raised, I've witnessed many "churched" people - they sit in the first row during Mass and receive Communion, they confess every other week, they donate money to their local church, they know Biblical verses by heart, etc. However, many of them, unfortunately, don't act in accordance with the lifestyle they claim to follow. I won't generalize - there are some great people among them, honest, helpful, patient... It was when I debated a group of them when I became pro-life, they were patient with me although I initially didn't show much understanding for their position - being stubborn as I sometimes am. But I digress - what I've noticed is that you'll also find plenty of hypocrisy and arrogance among the "churched". Such behave as if they're saints, as if they're in a superior position that allows them to judge you and tell you about how tainted sinner you are, but at the same time they come from families that often hide certain secrets which would hurt their "top Christian" reputation if they were unveiled. This especially applies to smaller towns and communities, where everyone knows everyone.

So my point is... I think this is a consequence of misunderstanding Christianity - thinking that there is some sort of hierarchy among us, depending on how sinful we are, and that God calculates the 'points' we collect, so the highest scorers will somehow work their way into Heaven, all by themselves. I've even seen messages like, "You're a part of God's plan - He can't succeed without you." Seriously? Turns out that the omnipotent Creator of the universe needs me, not vice versa. So I believe that there's a lack of humility among certain Christian communities, that may lead to excessive feeling of self-importance, and everything that comes with it.

But back on topic - can intellectual belief save me? Well, my belief is definitely intellectual, but what does that mean? I believe that:
1. God exists and created the Universe, along with everything in it, visible or invisible.
2. God created humans as special creations, but they (we) fell short of His glory and rebelled, which is why we sin.
3. In order to restore our connections with God, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to redeem our sins.
4. Being sinners, we can't earn salvation by ourselves, but by trusting Jesus's work on the cross.

That's what I sincerely believe. Although I was convinced by factors such as reliability of the Bible (and how it applies to the mankind after all those centuries) and a sense of God's fingerprints working in my life, my faith comes primarily from reason. Philosophy. Knowledge. Evidence. So, my belief is intellectual. But being somewhat of a rationalist, I'm not much of a praying type (you don't see me in Prayer Requests section) or church attending type, in fact people who know me superficially often think that I'm nonreligious. Having self-reliance as a personal value, I sometimes want to do things by myself and I rarely resort to praying. And when I do, I often don't delve into it deeply enough - I'm aware of that. What I try to achieve is that the moves I make in my everyday life reflect the Christian morality as much as possible. So does my faith count? I think yes. What do you all think? I'd like to see some opinions.
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