In my class on Contemporary Issues in Missions, somehow the issue of “Simple Faith” came up. I noted that I have a lot of respect for those with Simple Faith. These are the people who say something to the effect that “God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It.”
I respect that in many ways, but I can’t relate to it. For me, the above statement fills out to “Did God Say It? And If He Did, What Does He Mean? And If I Can Settle On What He Means, How Do I Contextualize It To the Present Circumstance?”
Later, however, one of my students asked me a question I hadn’t directly thought about before. Is there a difference between Simple Faith, and Shallow Faith?
To the best of my knowledge there aren’t great definitions. But the terms do suggest a few characteristics.
- Shallow Faith crumbles under pressure, while Simple Faith endures.
- Shallow Faith is not founded on something reliable, while Simple Faith is.
I guess as I think about it, I am reminded of a previous post that I had written about the Twelve Spies that looked at Canaan in Exodus. I suggested that the two spies, Joshua and Caleb, believed that God was powerful and benevolent. As such, they trusted God that He would give them victory. One might call that a Simple Faith, based on who God is. The ten spies, said that they can’t win against the enemy. However, I suggested that they may have been following the pattern of Israel up to that point— whine and complain to get God to do what they want. You can read the full post HERE.
If that is the case, then the problem was that the ten spies had a Shallow Faith. What made it shallow was that it was not based on who God is. Rather the faith was in their ability control God.
That is indeed a shallow faith… and one unlikely to stand disappointment.