Did you know that an old Christmas carol was supporting the homosexual movement? It sure was! Just look up “Deck The Halls.” You find in there the line of “Don we now our gay apparel.” There you go: the writer was supporting the homosexual movement.
“Nick,” you say, “that’s crazy! The word gay meant something totally different back then. It doesn’t make sense to put the modern meaning of a word onto its old usage.”
You’re absolutely right and that’s the case of what happens with the word “faith.” Relevant Magazine has recently featured an article saying that faith is "Christianity's New “F-word.” Absent in the article is any mention of what faith is.
This is an omission curious by its absence. It does no good to say we want to uphold faith if we have no idea what faith is. In fact, even if we have our idea of what faith is, we must make sure that this is what is meant by the original usage of the word. We don’t want to sing “Deck the Halls” and think it’s supporting homosexuality. Are we sure we are not doing the same with our view of faith?
Faith is not belief. That is what is usually said, and like much common knowledge, it is wrong. Nor is faith believing something without evidence as the new atheists say. If this is what faith is, then the best thing Christians can do is to throw out the Bible—even as evidence for God. After all, why not just have faith? Why do you need the writings of the Word of God? Wouldn’t it show more faith to believe without the Bible? (Incidentally, new atheists who are telling us that faith is “believing without evidence” never seem to present any evidence of this claim. It’s just one they hold by faith.)
So what is faith? Faith is trust in that which has been shown to be reliable. What are the sources for this? Simple. Look up the “Handbook of Biblical Social Values” edited by Malina and Pilch. Or get a copy of David DeSilva’s “Honor, Patronage, Kinship, and Purity.” Faith was the trust that was given to a benefactor in response to the generosity that they had demonstrated. If Caesar gave the gift of citizenship to a city, the city was to respond in faith by being loyal to Caesar.
So, in the Christian sense faith is trust given to God in response to His gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. It is not about how one comes to a conclusion, but about what one does in response to the evidence.
What about Hebrews 11:1? Hebrews is all about people who trusted in God based on what they had already been shown. They all trusted that God would keep His promises and, indeed, they lived by that trust. Of course there is an element to belief, but it is not about the belief alone. It is about the resulting actions of trust.
What about the argument from Relevant Magazine? The dichotomy between faith and reason is a problematic one. Of course there is the danger that one can worship apologetics more than God, but it is presumptuous to accuse Moreland, Craig, and Plantinga of doing this. They need to show actual data that this is happening.
The author of Relevant’s piece, Sungyak Kim, proposes that the answer can be found in presuppositional apologetics. How is it going to help to use a form of apologetics that more strongly suggests that faith and reason are opposed to each other?
Kim thinks this is better than “Western thought and secular methods”, but are we really going to say we should start doubting the laws of logic because they were formulated by Aristotle and used by secularists? What starting place do we have if we cannot trust reason? What good does it to do to say “Your reason is invalid, so trust God?” That’s simply asking me to reason that I should not trust my reason and to, furthermore, reason with this untrustworthy reason that I should trust God.”
We can agree that Relevant has a good goal in mind in wanting to restore worship to the Christian community, but the way to do that is simply to come to a greater knowledge of who God is. However, to say one apologetic method is necessary, might be doing what the author himself condemns; that is putting an apologetic method on a pedestal and making it an object of worship.
So, we still have faith, and that faith is not in simply demonstrating that God has spoken and made promises to us, but also intrusting that these promises are true. How much better our lives would all be if we would all believe passages like Romans 8:28. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We all need trust, and we need to realize reason should not distract us from that but should get us closer to the God of all reason.
 - A scholarly Greek Lexicon for the time period of the New Testament (Bauer, Danker, Arndt, & Gingrich) indicates that pisteuo and pistis (verb and noun forms respectively for New Testament faith and belief) means "to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one's trust," "to entrust oneself to an entity in complete confidence, believe in," and "state of believing on the basis of the reliability of the one trusted."